Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Berkeley's Thai Temple Clears Final Hurdle, Sunday Brunch Now Legit

Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 10:28 AM

The Berkeley City Council unanimously rejected the appeal filed by some residential neighbors of the overwhelmingly popular Sunday Brunch at the Thai Temple. Last night's decision clears the way for visitors to enjoy Pad Thai and mango sticky rice in the company of at least 200 of their fellow diners every Sunday of the year, just like they did last year, only now it's all on the up and up.

The Berkeley City Council unanimously rejected the appeal filed by some residential neighbors of the overwhelmingly popular Sunday Brunch at the Thai Temple, two blocks from Ashby BART. Last night's decision clears the way for visitors to enjoy Pad Thai and mango sticky rice in the company of at least 200 of their fellow diners every Sunday of the year, just like they did last year, only now it's all on the up and up.

Only one neighbor of the Thai Temple showed up at last night's meeting to plead their case, that feeding 500 plus people every Sunday is crowded, loud and smells real strong of cooking oil. He warned that they've consulted an attorney.

But according to city staff, elected officials, Temple members and lawyers from the Asian Law Caucus, inviting the community into the Temple to feed them a tasty brunch is part of the religious practice of the congregation, and therefor has special protections under the law. Some council members did express sympathy for neighbors, especially for their weekend parking woes, but to paraphrase: 'that's life in the big city.' Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates added that it was now time for the Thai Temple to cut down on the waste of thousands of paper plates and plastic utensils. He called on the Temple to start recycling in earnest.

If you plan to visit the Sunday Brunch at the Thai Temple to celebrate their newly won legitimacy, free parking is available three blocks east at the lot across from Any Mountain on Shattuck.

Eric Klein

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