BERKELEY’s BEST ●Restaurants
Peet’s Coffee & Tea 2124 Vine St./Cedar St.; Gourmet Ghetto. It was here in 1966 that now-retired owner Alfred Peet, a Dutch émigré, became the first in the U.S. trade to import specialty varieties of coffees and to dark-roast whole coffee beans--a radical move at the time that touched off a revolution among coffee drinkers. All other Peet’s are modeled after this one. And though Starbucks did purchase and own Peet’s from 1984 to 1987, Peet’s is once again an independent company with a plethora of outlets throughout the Bay Area.
A Berkeley institution, this coffeehouse dispenses an impressive variety of coffees and teas. Back in the day, it provided no place to sit down, but large numbers of coffee freaks still gathered there each morning spilling into the street, all chatting happily. Currently, there is usually adequate sit-down space both inside and outside. My favorite order here is a vanilla latte with a royally delicious Danish Kouign Amann pastry.