Berkeley’s historic Elmwood Cafe, which closed in April amid a backlash over an employee’s racist behavior in 2015, reopened Thursday with a new name and new owners.
It’s now Baker & Commons, the Berkeleyside news site reported, and the new owners are Kara Hammond, a former Elmwood manager, and East Bay restaurant industry veteran Eric Wright. Elmwood pastry chef Dale McCoy has been hired for the new enterprise.
In late April, Michael Pearce abruptly relinquished ownership of the cafe. He would not comment on whether a 2015 incident involving Bay Area comedian W. Kamau Bell had prompted the decision, but debate had begun anew over that episode.
Bell, who is black and a national figure on race and progressive politics, had posted an April 18 blog on CNN titled “I know what it’s like to get kicked out for being black” about the 2015 incident, in which an Elmwood Cafe staffer asked him to “scram” when he was trying to speak to his wife, who is white.
Pearce fired the employee, apologized to Bell and his wife, and held a forum on racism at a local school.
This week, Hammond told Berkeleyside that employees at Baker & Commons had undergone training on issues of bias and “implicit bias.”
Details: Baker & Commons is open daily from 7 a.m. on at 2900 College Ave.
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