Another niche has been filled on oh-so-hot Tennyson Street, this time with the Royal, a burger bar opening Saturday, December 20. Brought to the Berkeley neighborhood by Jelly Cafe owners Josh Epps and Christina Smith, as well as David Payne—who serves as Jelly's executive chef—the Royal is aiming for a neighborhood vibe that's still family-friendly.
"Named after a theater and popular high school hangout in my hometown of Detroit, the Royal is designed to also encourage the neighborhood, and entire families, to socialize and hang out, while enjoying great food and drink," says Epps. "With young kids ourselves, we found the lack of a family-friendly neighborhood eatery to be a big miss, and are very excited to bring this offering to our neighbors."
The trio was originally approached by the building owner at 4000 Tennyson Street, Gravitas Development, to open a third Jelly, but after noting options like DJ's Berkeley Cafe and Cozy Cottage were already on the block, the burger concept was suggested.
Look for a menu of upscale burgers—eight choices in all—like the Dauphine, which brings French onion soup to a burger. Three salads provide some greenery, and sides include edamame, sweet potato and regular fries, plus ginger curry chips and poutine. A selection of stuffed spuds call on toppings like green chile and cheddar cheese, or figs, roasted pecans, and maple syrup on a sweet potato, while the kids' menu is also robust.
Floats are a focal point of the beverage program, available in adult and kid versions. The namesake Royal blends Bulleit bourbon, root beer, bacon, and vanilla ice cream, while the Cherry Bomb is a mix of vodka, vanilla ice cream, and cherry soda. Root beer is served on tap, in addition to five drafts for beer, mostly a local selection. The full bar also boasts cocktails and wine.
The plush booths and tables seat about 50 people total, with the design executed by Rick Griffith of Matter. With the same menu for lunch and dinner, the Royal will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and happy hour will likely be added in the future.