Cafe Ohlone by mak-'amham is located on the terraced back patio and kitchen area of the University Press Books and Musical Offering Cafe at 2430 Bancroft Avenue, xučyun (Berkeley).
Imagine walking through the bustling urban landscape of modern Berkeley and entering the University Press Books, a charming, iconic bookshop. Enjoy the book-filled corridors as you reach the back garden where Cafe Ohlone is located. They've built an intentional space, one that reflects where they come from.
The natural ingredients that they gather from salt, Indian teas, acorns and walnuts are shown in a respectful manner as a reminder that their food is always sourced from their land. Strings of lights move up the banisters for night-time dining and contemporary Indigenous music, combined with the lively conversations that take place at Cafe Ohlone.
Cafe Ohlone has a wood smoker who slowly roasts their traditional meat, native meats that they treat and obtain with respect and gratitude. Some of the traditional meats they prepare are venison, quail, salmon, elk, duck, rabbit, clams and mussels. Traditionally, their meats would be cooked for hours at a low temperature in a subterranean earth oven; while earth ovens are still used in the Ohlone community, they use a modern wood smoker. They sometimes offer meat smoked in oak, manzanita or bay laurel wood, which cooks slowly and fills the room with the aromatic aromas and flavors of Ohlone cooking.
They offer a variety of local Native teas that they gather at the beginning of each week — rose hip, yerba buena, hummingbird sage, artemisia, elderberry, black sage, and manzanita berry when these plants are available. As you enjoy the space, they describe the language and cultural uses of the teas and their living connections to the old places where they are gathered, as well as the benefits they offer. And although coffee is not native to the Bay Area, it is something that many of their people adopted soon after it was introduced — sometimes they serve Ohlone-style coffee, locally roasted coffee that has been infused with roasted bay nuts and pine nuts, and hand-pressed walnut and hazelnut milk that has been infused with sweet and spicy East Bay bay laurel.
Cafe Ohlone is a place where the culture and cuisine of Ohlone are respected and celebrated regularly, a place where these powerful ways can thrive. Here, Ohlone people can see their culture and cuisine reflected in the public, and people outside the Ohlone community can experience the richness of their traditional food while seeing the vibrancy of Ohlone 's contemporary identity.
Cafe Ohlone is also a place for meaningful, boundary-breaking dialogue, a meeting place for the protection of their sacred sites, a starting point for gathering trips with their families and tribes, a place for dialog on decolonization, a place where they host an open mic for poetry and song in the Indian languages of California, and a place where leaders in the Ohlone community talk about their life story. Although this is a lot, for those who want to pop in and have a cup of hummingbird sage tea and acorn flour brownie while sitting alone and just enjoying their cooking — Cafe Ohlone is that place, too.
This hidden gem in Berkeley, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Games of Berkeley
- Morrison Library
- Fairy Post Office
- Founders Rock
- Fish House
- The Vine Street UFO
- East Bay Vivarium
- Indian Rock
All of these wonderful - but not so well known - attractions are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!