Friday, February 16, 2007

900 Grayson Is Missing a Muse

By John Birdsall
Fri, Feb 16, 2007 at 3:28 PM

Sophina Uong, a chef we once hyped as the "muse for the new West Berkeley," has left 900 Grayson, the brilliant little breakfast-and-lunch restaurant she helped launch less than a year ago. Uong's departure apparently marks a personal rupture with her partners, co-owners Joshua Pearl and brothers Anthony and Christopher Saulnier. Pearl was Uong's life partner, too, as well as her comanager in the kitchen. Graced with solid chef skills and a penchant for quirky menu copy, Uong is currently looking for a job, a bummer both for Uong and the restaurant's fans.

It hasn't been an easy first year for 900 Grayson: For months now, the owners have been trying to persuade Berkeley's notoriously skeptical Zoning Adjustment Board to grant a license allowing the restaurant to open for dinner -- the city has concerns about noise and congestion in the residential block 900 Grayson anchors, even though part of it faces bustling Seventh Street. No word yet from the restaurant's remaining partners -- we'll update when we hear something.

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