Southside Station, a new counter-service restaurant located on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, brings fresh ingredients and homemade comfort food to its customers.
Owner and chef Louie Chaivisut has more than 10 years of experience at various local restaurants. He has worked in Thailand, as well as at San Francisco’s Scala’s Bistro and Berkeley’s Fellini and Taste, among others. For nearly 10 years, Chaivisut also worked at the Cheese Board Collective.
Through food, Chaivisut wishes to express his love and care for friends and family, according to the Southside Station website.
Chaivisut said he has always wanted to open his own restaurant.
“My wife and I, we were looking (for locations),” he said. “I grew up in Berkeley myself and never left. I’ve been here for a long time.”
Southside Station opened amid the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of April, according to Chaivisut. He added that the ongoing shelter-in-place order has taken a toll on operations, and business was slow when the restaurant first opened. Recently, however, there has been an increased number of new and returning customers.
Despite the difficulties and setbacks from the pandemic, Chaivisut said he is grateful for the opportunity to open his own restaurant and feels lucky to have his family with him.
“All the bumps, I had my wife and two little girls with me. There was a big learning curve for us,” Chaivisut said. “We try to have time for them too and also run the business. It’s just me and my wife running the store.”
Chaivisut said he does much of the work at the restaurant himself, such as making in-house dough and buns.
Although the restaurant has a variety of selections, Southside Station’s focuses are the Thai crispy chicken sandwich and gourmet pizzas, according to Chaivisut. He added that he previously served the chicken sandwiches at a Cheese Board pop-up called Lou Lou.
In addition to vegetarian pizzas, like the ones served at Cheese Board, Southside Station also has pizzas with meat toppings, Chaivisut noted. He added that the restaurant will be trying a yellow curry potato topping next month.
Ruchi Aggarwal, a Southside Station customer, was impressed with the quality of food and service at the restaurant.
“The sandwich was substantial, flavorful and reasonably priced,” Aggarwal said in a direct message on Yelp. “The host was friendly and the food was ready in the time she said. They met my criteria for a good takeout restaurant.”
According to its Facebook page, Southside Station is providing a variety of ways for customers to receive their orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, including contactless curbside pickup, Grubhub and DoorDash.