Beloved Babette Cafe to Join BAMPFA in its New Downtown Berkeley Location

(Berkeley, CA) January 7, 2016—When the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) opens the doors to its new building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro on January 31, 2016, it will be joined by its popular cafe partner, Babette. Owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Joan Ellis and Patrick Hooker, Babette has been faithfully serving BAMPFA patrons and the UC Berkeley community in the museum’s previous Durant Avenue location since 2012. During this time Babette has earned a reputation as the foodie’s choice for dining near the UC Berkeley campus with a rustic menu that changes weekly and a stylish but homey atmosphere.

Babette’s menu items emphasize fresh, locally sourced produce and meats, and are infused with big flavors inspired from around the world. Through their passion, hard work, and creativity, Ellis and Hooker have succeeded in creating a dining environment that is as unique as the food itself. Visitors to the cafe in the new BAMPFA will sense this in the artistry of the food, the atmosphere, and the warmth of the staff. 

“We have come to know so many of our customers over the past four years and it has been an honor to cook for and serve this community. We are excited to be part of this new artistic journey with BAMPFA and are grateful for the opportunity,” say Ellis and Hooker.

Babette’s new location will make it one of the most highly visible restaurants in Berkeley. Diners will be able to access Babette at any time during BAMPFA’s operating hours (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) without having to pay admission to the galleries or theater. The cafe is situated on the second floor, cantilevering above BAMPFA’s entrance on Center Street—a signature element of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design. Large windows facing east and west allow cafe patrons to enjoy dramatic views of bustling Center Street and downtown Berkeley as well as the natural beauty of the UC Berkeley campus and the hills beyond. The cafe space also offers diners views into the forum and galleries.  

While in its previous location Babette served only breakfast and lunch, in the new building it will offer lunch and dinner menus as well as morning pastries and coffee starting at 9 a.m. The expanded operating hours synchronize with BAMPFA’s new gallery hours of 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. A special menu served in Swig’s Lounge—which occupies the overhang section of the cafe during afternoon and evening hours--will include beer, wine, and small plate items from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., giving BAMPFA patrons quick and delicious options before and after film screenings and visits to the galleries. Babette will continue to offer their signature pastries, cakes, and other seasonal sweets in the new location along with carefully selected coffee and espresso drinks from local third-wave roasters such as Ritual, Verve, Heart, and Catahoula. 

Babette is a great fit for us,” says BAMPFA Director Lawrence Rinder. “I love their freshness, creativity, and friendliness. I’m really looking forward to their new evening hours and menu.”

Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art and film. Founded in 1963, BAMPFA is UC Berkeley’s primary visual arts venue with its screenings of some 450 films and presentations of up to twenty exhibitions annually. BAMPFA’s mission is to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.

The institution’s collection of over 19,000 works of art dates from 3000 BCE to the present day and includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and Conceptual art. BAMPFA’s collection also includes over 17,500 films and videos, including the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, impressive holdings of Soviet cinema, West Coast avant-garde film, seminal video art, as well as hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film—many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.

Street address: 2155 Center Street
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., beginning January 31, 2016

To download a .pdf version of this release click here.

Posted by pcavagnaro on January 06, 2016