Berkeley's North Shattuck Association drops 'Gourmet Ghetto' name

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- The banners are still flying all along Shattuck Avenue, but the name "Gourmet Ghetto" has been officially suspended by the North Shattuck Association, a coalition of local business owners in Berkeley.

Heather Hensley, Executive Director of the North Shattuck Association, released the following statement:

"We want all members of the larger community to feel invited and wanted in our neighborhood. In keeping with this reflection, and with respect to those who feel a strong connection to the spirit of the "gourmet ghetto" name, we support dropping the moniker from our marketing and district identity banners."

RELATED: Berkeley cafe owners get mixture of support, push-back for speaking out against 'Gourmet Ghetto' nickname

"I think the real issue is words change over time," said Sophie Hahn, a Berkeley City Council member who represents the district.

The word "ghetto" seems to be most hurtful to those who object to the name, but Alice Waters, the owner of the famed "Chez Panisse" restaurant on Shattuck Avenue told ABC7 News earlier this month that she also objected to the word "gourmet," calling it elitist.

"It's not a gourmet ghetto anyway. I can think of better names. We deserve a better name than Gourmet Ghetto," said Ed Kujawski, a longtime resident of the neighborhood.

Not everyone agrees abandoning the moniker "Gourmet Ghetto" is the right way to go.

"It's so Berkeley to get upset about that. I can't even tell you," said Valerie Matzger as she and her husband strolled on Shattuck Avenue.

"Do I really care with all the problems in the world? I mean we're dealing with climate change."

The North Shattuck Association plans to take its time to study new names and the possible re-branding of the area. A decision is not expected soon.
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