Same Food, Greener Grounds

Vik's Chaat Corner moves up the sustainability scale

When Vik's Chaat Corner moved from the old garage on West Berkeley that it occupied for 23 years, it got an eco-friendly upgrade.

As the neighborhood due north started gentrifying, Vik's became an island of inexpensive Mumbai-style street food. Word of the impending move had patrons worrying that the Bay Area favorite would lose its soul. False alarm.

"We could've moved into a shiny, more upscale building," owner Amod Chopra says, "but it wouldn't have felt as authentic. And we would've had to charge more."

Vik's new home is in a rehabbed World War II-era factory only two blocks away from the old location. Architect Sudhish Mohindroo was charged with the task of creating a space with a marketplace vibe (the company's retail store is adjacent to the dining area) entirely from recycled materials.

Diamond-shaped glass tiles salvaged from the building spruce up one wall, while reclaimed high school bleachers serve as dining benches. Simple concrete floors are accented with bold yellows and oranges, and two big preexisting skylights light up the whole room.

The food is as delicious as ever: You still have to line up for your cholle baturas (spiced chickpeas with enormous fried bread), dosas and tandoori specials–and they're still worth the wait.

Vik's Chaat Corner, 2390 4th St. (at Channing Way), Berkeley; 510-644-4432 or vikschaatcorner.com