Before opening Gather, co-owners Eric Fenster and Ari Derfel had already accumulated the kind of cred that would stand them in good stead with their target demographic. Together, they founded Back to Earth, an organic catering and outdoor-adventures nonprofit. Derfel made headlines in 2007 for saving a year's worth of his trash to reveal the magnitude of modern wastefulness. Given such a pedigree, it’s unsurprising that Gather is like the hot chick who knows she's hot. And in Berkeley, what's hot is a seasonal, sustainable, organic, half-meatless menu created by executive chef Sean Baker; a chalkboard on the wall listing "this week's farms;" tables made from recycled high-school bleachers; being lodged in Berkeley's greenest building, the David Brower Center; and having an organic cocktail bar that offers basil-acaí gimlets and cucumber spajitos. Baker turns out wildly original dishes such as Calder-esque fried cardoons, pig-leg soup with kamut, and a huge, glistening Lacinato kale salad with celery root, pine nuts, Spigariello-broccoli flowers, and Fiscalini cheese.
Hours: Daily 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Payment Type: cash, Visa, MasterCard
Most ingredients are organic; many dishes are vegetarian or vegan.