Here the Gourmet Ghetto is a nickname worn proudly by the neighborhood of shops, restaurants and boutique hotels that have sprung up around North Shattuck between Rose and Hearst Streets. Anchored by Chez Panisse, the Cheese Board and the original Peets, which have been neighborhood icons since the late 60s and 70s, today the area is a laid back paradise for those who want to live well.
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Homes range from well-preserved Victorians and traditional large Berkeley Brown Shingle houses to lovingly preserved Craftsman and bungalows. The architecture is old enough, and varied enough to be included on neighborhood walking tours conducted by the Berkeley Architecture Heritage Association. Proximity to nearby BART Station and the central shopping district means the neighborhood is highly walkable.
Live Oak Park provides a respite from gourmet hunting and gathering, and includes basketball courts, picnic areas, and a small open-air theater where children’s plays or Shakespeare productions take the boards. On Walnut Street Berkeley Art Center offers a lively series of exhibitions, art openings, and lectures.
In this neighborhood there are as many cooking schools as there are public schools. Nearby are the Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary School, Oxford Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary and Martin Luther King Middle School, which boasts a one-acre Chez Panisse Edible Schoolyard organic garden.