Caviar

Berkeley Restaurants Struggle to Survive Amid Virus Constraints

LADAN SANJANI CAN BARELY FOCUS ON TODAY let alone tomorrow. She and her husband, Farhad Jalali, own Pasta Bene, an Italian restaurant on Telegraph Avenue, just blocks from the campus their son attended. Now they are struggling to keep the lights on in the face of a crisis that seems to have darkened every corner of the globe.

Forget the Robot Apocalypse. Order Lunch.

The robot and I met at the southwest corner of Center and Shattuck. It was 3 p.m. on a Wednesday, and the streets were bustling. The robot was small and boxy, something like a cooler on wheels. I knelt down at what I presumed was the robot’s front end. It winked a pixilated eye.

Following instructions I’d received in advance, I raised a hand and flashed an “okay” sign. The robot emitted a pleasant dinging sound and a hatch on top slowly opened. I reached in and removed a grease-stained paper bag. Inside were two slices of warm pizza.

Subscribe to Caviar