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Center Street restaurant brings back memories

By Susan Cerny
Saturday August 18, 2001

A Berkeley Observed article published a few weeks ago sparked the interest of a reader. Richard Dinkelspiel, who celebrated his 88th birthday this year, looked at the photograph of Center Street and exclaimed, “Ennors Restaurant was right there! Mom and Dad always had dinner there when they visited Berkeley from Suisun where the Ennors had their first restaurant.” 

Harvey W. and Marie Edith Ennor came to Berkeley in 1918 from Suisun City in Solano County, and established a sandwich and soda shop in the building next door.  

The restaurant was so popular, that five years later they built a grand, two-story, plus full basement, brick-sided, steel-framed building at 2128 Center St. in 1923 designed by James Plachek.  

When the new Ennors opened on Nov. 17, 1923, the Courier reported, “... many requests that the Ennors enlarge their scope and meet the growing demands of the growing city (have) received response....the puddings and sauces concocted by Mrs. Ennor; the ices, bakery and candies manufactured by Mr. Ennor gained and kept the best customers in Berkeley.” 

The Courier article continued, “Sanitation, cleanliness and comfort for the help will bring out real service; even dish-washing is done by sterilizing steam...behind it all will be Mr. Ennor, to give personal attention to many things...” 

Ennors was not only a restaurant, candy store and bakery, but also had a grocery and butcher shop.  

On the second floor there was a banquet hall for 300 guests, with a dance floor of seven-inch thick maple.  

Perhaps because of the stock market crash in 1929, the Ennors sold the building in 1930 and took jobs running the catering department in the Durant Hotel. However, by 1934 they were proprietors of the True Blue Cafe at 2081 Allston Way.  

The Ennor Building now houses Act I & II movie theaters.  

For over 30 years the second story brick facade of the building was hiding behind a huge metal sign with a bold 1970s super-graphic design proclaiming: “Act I & II.” A few years ago the sign was removed and the original second story brick facade was restored.  



Susan Cerny writes Berkeley Observed in conjunction with the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. Richard Dinkelspiel is her father.