Standard Fare is the very ideal of a lunch spot. Right down the block Third Culture in West Berkeley—making for an irresistible one-two punch—this place is bursting with freshness and taste. I seriously don’t know how they manage to make everything on the daily-changing lunch menu so packed with flavor.
On paper it’s simple enough, with soups, sandwiches, salads, and sweets that at first made me think I knew what I was getting in for. But wow, things here are really so much more than how they seem on paper. How many sandwiches have you had for lunch in your life and how many really stand out? I am a huge sandwich fan and I have really strong opinions about sandwiches, so I hope you believe me when I say that Standard Fare’s sandwiches are in the very top tier I’ve ever had. There are other sandwich places I love, to be sure, with distinct styles and therefore distinct places in my heart. But what distinguishes things here is the whack of pure flavor. The common thread among the ever-changing offerings is the bright, tangy, acidic, herb-y punch (seemingly delivered in a different way by different ingredients each time) that elevates all of them to another level. Every day there is one vegetarian and one meat or fish sandwich, and I have never been let down by any of them. A special place in my memory is reserved for examples built around line-caught lingcod and around garlicky kale, but I could go on.
It’s certainly not all about sandwiches though, and I’ve been more than happy with the daily lunch plate specials and the salads as well. This is a super casual spot, easy to eat at regularly, with lots of seating outside to enjoy some nice East Bay weather. There are few places I know of that work both as an everyday spot if you are lucky enough to live or work nearby and also as a really satisfying reason to make a special trip from slightly further in the area. Standard Fare is definitely one of them!
Standard Fare 2701 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA, 94710
Try: any sandwich