Mezzo, formerly known as Cafe Intermezzo, and Raleigh’s restaurants at the intersection of Haste Street and Telegraph Avenue reopened June 27 after a fire destroyed both restaurants in November 2011.
Sequoia Apartments, the apartment complex above the restaurants, burned for almost 17 hours because of the fire.
The entire building was then torn down after it was considered structurally unsound and could potentially collapse. A report confirmed the fire was an accident and began in the apartment’s elevator. The fire left little remaining, destroying the two restaurants located on the bottom floor.
“We are so, so excited (about the re-opening). We totally missed serving food to Berkeley and it’s exciting to have our regular customers back as well as new customers,” said Michelle Ent, daughter of Mezzo’s owner.
Mezzo and Raleigh’s are separated from each other, with an opening in the front connecting the two. The restaurants also share a large, split-level outdoor courtyard with plants and plentiful seating.
“We have stayed true to the past menu at Mezzo, offering huge portions of fresh salads, sandwiches, and soups,” Ent said in an email. “We bake all our own breads, including the fan-favorite honey wheat. And you can’t forget the poppyseed dressing!”
Paul Hoffmann, an Oakland resident, said he used to eat at Cafe Intermezzo when he was a campus student. Hoffman added that he missed the restaurant and heard from a coworker that it re-opened.
“It had bomb salads,” said West Oakland resident Maggie Brown, — “a salad that could actually be a meal.”
Brown said she ate at Cafe Intermezzo when she was a graduate student and was sad when it was destroyed from the fire.
“I think it’s a good thing, good for Telegraph,” said Kevin Brownell, an employee from neighboring business Amoeba Music. “It’s nice to have a place that provides healthy choices.”
Businesses nearby were also affected by the fire, as it decreased the amount of foot traffic on the normally bustling Telegraph Avenue.
Brownell agreed that the fire’s aftermath has made it less desirable for people to be on Telegraph Avenue.
“It’s going to be competitive, but it’s going to be good for business,” said Yukiko Ramirez, owner of Muracci’s Japanese Curry & Grill next door to New Sequoia Apartments. “It will bring new customers.”
According to Ent, Raleigh’s will have a soft opening throughout this week, with limited services, and is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Regular hours will soon return to an 8 a.m. opening and 10 p.m. closing.
“Mezzo is definitely a great place for everyone to come together and share a great meal, and we could not be happier to be open in Berkeley again,” Ent said in an email.