When the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) opens the doors to its new building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro on January 31, it will be joined by its popular cafe partner, Babette. Owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Joan Ellis and Patrick Hooker, Babette has served BAMPFA patrons and the UC Berkeley community in the museum’s previous Durant Avenue location since 2012.
Babette’s menu items emphasize fresh, locally sourced produce and meats, and are infused with flavors inspired from around the world.
Diners will be able to access Babette at any time during BAMPFA’s operating hours (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) without having to pay admission to the galleries or theater. The cafe is situated on the second floor, cantilevering above BAMPFA’s entrance on Center Street—a signature element of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design. Large windows facing east and west allow cafe patrons to enjoy dramatic views of bustling Center Street and downtown Berkeley as well as the natural beauty of the UC Berkeley campus and the hills beyond. The cafe space also offers diners views into the forum and galleries.
While in its previous location Babette served only breakfast and lunch, in the new building it will offer lunch and dinner menus as well as morning pastries and coffee starting at 9 a.m. The expanded operating hours synchronize with BAMPFA’s new gallery hours of 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. A special menu served in Swig’s Lounge—which occupies the overhang section of the cafe during afternoon and evening hours—will include beer, wine, and small plate items from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., giving BAMPFA patrons quick and delicious options before and after film screenings and visits to the galleries. Babette will continue to offer their signature pastries, cakes, and other seasonal sweets in the new location along with carefully selected coffee and espresso drinks from local third-wave roasters such as Ritual, Verve, Heart, and Catahoula.
“Babette is a great fit for us,” says Lawrence Rinder, BAMPFA director. “I love their freshness, creativity, and friendliness. I’m really looking forward to their new evening hours and menu.”