Close Mobile Menu

What Cal Alumni Are Saying about the Berkeley Food Bracket

April 2, 2019

For the past two weeks, our Berkeley Food Bracket has encouraged Cal alumni to vote to advance their favorite UC Berkeley-area local food establishments. Now, it’s down to the final two, and things are getting pretty contentious. Here’s what you should know happened in our Final Fork:

#3 seed Durant Food Court vs. # 7 seed Jupiter 
With an arsenal that includes dozens of doughnut holes, loaves of garlic bread, steaming mounds of rice, and sizzling grilled meats, Telegraph regional champion Durant Food Court easily powered past Downtown champion Jupiter to claim its spot in the finals.

#1 seed The Cheese Board Collective vs. #3 seed Zachary’s Chicago Pizza
In the closest race of our entire bracket, Northside champion The Cheese Board Collective eked out a victory over Further Afield champion Zachary’s Chicago Pizza by a mere seven votes. This match-up of two very unique takes on pizza surely has left a trail of broken hearts and rumbling bellies.

With more than 1,500 voters weighing in for the Final Fork round, we expected a race this close to prompt some passionate responses. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Team Cheese Board

“Zachary’s vs Cheeseboard was predestined…and Cheeseboard will win.” —Casey, Class of 2007

“The Cheese Board cannot be defeated.” —David, Class of 1972

“CHEEEESEBOARD!!!!! I wrote them a thank-you letter for feeding my degree-pursuing, broke, pizza-loving self!” —Lorna, Class of 2013

“I travel 300 miles to revisit Cheeseboard sometimes…” —Frances, Class of 2008

“Cheeseboard forever!” —Pearl, Class of 1999

Team Durant Food Court

“Thai Basil and Gypsy’s is a must for any Berkeleyan.” —Norma, Class of 2009

“Just give DFC the title!” —Adam, Class of 2009

“If DFC loses I’m returning my diploma” —Danielle, Class of 2013

“Durant Food Court all the way!” —Vanessa, Class of 1998

“Steve’s Korean is the bomb! Why don’t we have more breakfast burritos?” —Paul, Class of 2000

“House of Habibi 4 Lyf” —Vinnie, Class of 2000

Team Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

“Let’s face it, we all just want Zachary’s to win…” —Vinnie, Class of 2000

“Despite Cheeseboard’s status as a cultural icon I had to listen to my stomach and vote for Zachary’s Pizza.” —Jack, Class of 2012

“Zachary’s pizza is so good that even though my family has moved 200 miles away we require our Bay Area friends bring us a Good Health pie when they visit. Long live, Zachary’s.” —Becky, Class of 1993

“All Hail Zachary’s” — Christina, Class of 1998

“Zachary’s and La Burrita should fight for the Iron Throne.” —Harrison, Class of 2005

The Salty

“ ‘My parents are in town and they’re taking us to Chez Panisse!’
‘Too bad, I prefer a Cheeseboard Pizza,’ said no one ever.” —Steven, Class of 1993

“Top Dog not being in the top Ate is a travesty!!!” —Ginger, 1989

“Technical foul: too many players on the (Durant Food) Court.” —Steve, Class of 2008

“You people chose Chez Panisse over La Note?? I don’t even recognize my own school any more…” —Ed, Class of 2008

“Technical foul: too many players on the (Durant Food) Court.” —Steve, Class of 2008

“Top Dog is out? How can this be? So sad…I can’t vote any longer.” —Cynthia, Class of 1980

“This poll is dead to me. My fellow alumni are lousy with wrong opinions and incorrect tastes. Could have gone either way with Zachary’s over Fenton’s, but Durant Food Court over Strada? Cheese Board over Chez Panisse and earlier, Triple Rock? Pfft. Whatever.” —Rob, Class of 1992

“I hear Plearn herself is picketing in front of the Alumni House.” —Anonymous

“Strada got screwed with a bad bracket… there’s no way Jupiter still belongs in the dance over Strada!” —Anonymous, Class of 1999

“I guess what we really learned through this whole process is pizza conquers all…” —Robert, Class of 2008

“Were any of these final four around when I graduated 39 years ago?” —Anonymous

The Sweet

“My time in Berkeley, navigating between student budget friendly options, an amazing diversity of cuisines, and proximity to the food scenes of San Francisco and Oakland, really helped form my palate and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful.” —Ben, Class of 1994

“I was thrilled to see in the initial round that so many of my favorites were still around. More importantly, institutions like Chez Panisse, Peet’s Coffee and the original Durant Food Court Cookies & Milk (that led to David’s Cookies and Mrs. Field’s) have literally changed the world in the same way that the University has for 150 years. It’s all Bear country!” —Glenn, Class of 1984

“That was torture, having to choose between Fenton’s and Zachary’s! I settled on Fenton’s, since it was a part of my Cal experience since early in Freshman year, and we had our wedding reception there. But I love Zachary’s just as much! —Evelyn, Class of 1993

“There is no other place like Berkeley that has amazing food, people and culture!” —Jecy, Class of 2006

“This survey has me feeling all sorts of nostalgia!” —Anh, Class of 2013

“Sufficient Grounds had the most amazing home baked sandwich honey wheat bread. Sad to see this gem didn’t make the list. Also, Oscars was a staple for great old fashioned burgers, fries, and shakes. Oh Cal, my heart is with thou!” —Emily, Class of 2010

“Mouth watering fun! Bringing back so many memories of my days at Cal. Go Bears!” —Melanie, Class of 1987

“There is no other place like Berkeley that has amazing food, people and culture!” —Jecy, Class of 2006


Voting for the Berkeley Food Bracket Chompionship is currently open.



images (clockwise from top right): Durant Food Court by Rachel Ermatinger. Thai new year pizza by Quinn Dombrowski CC BY-SA 2.0. Nine-inch Aries pizza at Jupiter by George Kelly, CC BY-ND 2.0. IMG_0564 by Shiroma CC BY 2.0.