TwistNHook: Let's take a moment to look at some rather disturbing events for Cal fans that stunningly didn't happen on a football field. Raleigh's and Cafe Intermezzo burned down:
On Telegraph Avenue between Haste Street and Channing Way, a row of traffic barricades and a sidewalk dusted with ash mark the site of two popular restaurants destroyed by a building fire that broke out this weekend.
Cafe Intermezzo and Raleigh’s Bar and Grill, the two eateries occupying the sidewalk storefronts of the fire-torn building, have been closed for the time being with no definite plans for reopening. Berkeley Fire Department officials have said that the building could collapse.
Many of us spent hours upon hours at Raleigh's watching Cal games and other sporting events. So many associations with Raleigh's and Cal sports! Sadly, watching games there might never happen again. What are your memories of Raleigh's and Cafe Intermezzo?
LeonPowe: First Cafe Intermezzo - This was a huge part of my meal rotatation all 4 years at Cal. I never realized you could make a heavy salad, but there it was. I was never able to eat a full one - in fact, I only saw one person ever finish an Intermezzo Salad, and that was Todd Stuessie (OL, ended up in the NFL). I mean there was half an avocado in there! An entire egg! Lots of chickpeas and just so much stuff! The dirty hippy service staff and the dirty hippie clientele - this place was very much Berkeley - even though there was a cafe half a block away (Coffee Central? I can't remember - it was right next to the X-Large Store) that made the same sort of salads, that place was always empty while Intermezzos was full full full.
Raleigh's - I never really hit my Raleigh's stride until I was coming back to campus as an alum - while I was there, my friends used to watch games and drink in either the Bear's Lair or (ugh) Kip's or LaVal's when I was in school - but as a graduate, my friends were pre-gaming at Raleigh's. I only really remember the decent burgers, the really good shuffleboard table and the impossibility of finding one's friends on a crowded gameday/game night. I also remember some of my friends drinking through the beers around the world t-shirt as well as being continually perplexed about being carded (even recently when I went back and I was in my mid 30s - no one cards in Asia)
TwistNHook: I was always impressed by Raleigh's ability to block and any all light. It was like the reverse black hole: no light could enter. As soon as you walked in, no matter how sunny the day might be, it was a dank dungeon that only a Cal fan could love.
I remember watching the Cal-ASU 2009 game there. After Cal won, we paid and walked to exit. That moment leaving when the sun came down back into our lives, it was as if we had never known sunlight before. I could not remember a time when sunlight existed. We staggered out like 19th century pioneers gazing upon a world never before seen!
This is just like when Moe turned his bar into the upscale "M." We'll always miss the dank. Even I watched a loss almost every time there and the food made me throw up many times, it was our dank. WHOSE DANK? OUR DANK!
Kodiak: I'd have to second LeonPowe's amazement at the size of those Intermezzo salads. Not to mention, as a life-long carnivore I was somewhat shocked to find that the salads were actually pretty darn tasty. I also remember their house-made bread rather fondly. It was one of those places where you'd go with a girl because you trying to pretend that you were cooler or more sensitive than you really were. In retrospect, that never really worked. Darnit.
TwistNHook: Well, as they say, you don't make friends with salad!
Kodiak: Whoops. Forgot to add Raleigh's. I didn't spend much time there while I was at Cal. (MCB was giving me a beat-down) Oddly enough, I visited more times during my ortho residency. I rearranged my schedule to make all the home games and sometimes met up with friends before or after. There was one notable afternoon of mischief when my buddy and I blew off a really bad seminar at Highland and snuck over to spend the rest of the day playing shuffleboard at Raleigh's. Good times.
NorCalNick: I still haven't gotten over the idea that I will never again have an Intermezzo salad. My wife and I bonded while dating by eating those salads. We'd hang out on Telegraph, wander over to Intermezzo and spend just a few bucks each to share a salad that could probably feed three.
Raleigh's was there for the highs and lows. Twist and I met up to watch the 2009 Oregon game on a TV screen on Sproul plaza, then retired to Raleigh's when things went Very Badly. The 2nd half was just as unwatchable, but at least we enjoyed it from a warm spot on the back patio, commiserating amongst friends. But just a few months later we gathered back up to watch the Bears take down Stanford in Palo Alto to clinch an outright Pac-10 title in basketball!
TwistNHook: That awkward moment where you remember seeing both of those events there, but have no memory of NorCalNick being there.
OhioBear: I have many more Intermezzo memories than Raleigh's ones. (This may surprise some of you, but I didn't spend a whole lot of time in bars when I was in college.) Intermezzo was a frequent lunch or dinner spot. My GF in college loved the big salads and I tagged along frequently. I wasn't a big salad person, but something about Intermezzo was different. Perhaps it was just the sheer size of the salad; maybe it was the delicious bread I remember them serving. Or maybe it was just because it was just a "Berkeley" kind of place. I liked it.
I was sad to hear that the place was sold (or went out of business?) and went by another name for a few years. I was happy to hear that Intermezzo came back and was alive and well. This news of the fire, though, is sad. I consider both Intermezzo and Raleigh's to be Berkeley institutions, sort of like a rite of passage for every Cal undergrad to experience. They will be missed.
LeonPowe: I remember the other place. It was coffee source.