After nearly five months sitting vacant at 3838 Tennyson Street, the former home of DJ’s Berkeley Cafe will transform into another daytime spot. Wendell’s will open by mid-May serving daily breakfast and lunch menus. DJ’s in Berkeley was one of three locations of the same brand to close back in December.
Chef Eric Lee is leading the new Wendell’s kitchen with a mix of classic diner fare (see chicken-fried steak) and modern options (like pickled beet and herbed ricotta avocado toast). Lunch plates will include salads and deli sandwiches. Lee most recently served as executive chef of Linger, and he previously worked at The Kitchen and Jax Fish House. The Wendell’s owners also come with a bit of industry experience. Patrick O’Neill is a co-owner of Avanti Food & Beverage in the Lower Highlands. And Kade Gianinetti is a co-owner of The Way Back, American Grind, and Method Roasters.
“I’ve lived and worked in the (Berkeley) neighborhood for years, and I’m excited to bring my neighbors a new local breakfast and lunch option,” Gianinetti said in a press release. “Our goal with the menu and design was to give guests a go-to diner experience with a hip, modern vibe.” The restaurant’s interior is now being redone by Scout Interiors and Raw Creative (see also The Way Back, Señor Bear, and Hop Alley). Once finished, Wendell’s will open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and until 3 p.m. on weekends.