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TheDiner story

Bette and Manfred Kroening opened the Diner on April 5, 1982 with their great friend, Sue Conley. Bette, a social worker by training, and Sue, who studied political science, met as cooks at the Fourth Street Grill, where they chopped, tossed, grilled, and sautéed under chef Paul Bertolli. Caught up in the food movement that swept the Bay Area in the 1970s and passionate about eating, they had changed profession. Manfred, born in Hamburg and trained as a tool and die maker, molded the long narrow, train car-shaped space, once a nail factory, into the art deco jewel it is today.

The diner caught on from day one, filling a much needed gap in breakfast and lunch service for the artisans and factory workers in the industrial district of Berkeley. In 1986, the trio opened Bette’s To-Go, where you can grab a quick pastry, slice of pizza, salad, even some tacos to eat on the run or at one of the tables out front.

In 1995, Sue left the Diner to follow her passion for cheese and founded Cowgirl Creamery. In 2017, our dearly beloved Bette passed away. Today, Manfred continues to carry the torch and can often be seen in the Diner, waitlist in hand. A few items have been added to the menu, but the corned beef hash, scrapple and buttermilk short stack haven’t budged. On the other hand, Fourth Street has grown up around it, becoming a booming shopping street.

chiefs in 1982

room in 1982

ABit of Berkeley History

Ultimate Dining Experience like no other. Our modern fusion cuisine
In the early 1850’s there was a small settlement between a stagecoach stop on what is now San Pablo Avenue and Jacob’s Landing, a wharf at the end of Delaware Street. It was called Ocean View. The settlement developed into a commercial and industrial center with a grist mill, a soap factory, a blacksmith, an inn and store and a school. Its inhabitants were workers and farmers. It grew slowly around its core at Sixth and Hearst Streets, and was the only center of social life in what was to become Berkeley. It grew from 45 families in 1874 to 130 families 3 years later. Most of Berkeley at that time was farmland. East Berkeley, which was to become the University and Downtown, wasn’t populated until the late 1860’s. Ocean View and Berkeley came together and incorporated in 1878 to avoid becoming part of Oakland. Ocean View then became known as West Berkeley. Spenger’s Fish Grotto, opened in 1890, and was the main public attraction in what had become an industrial area (Spenger’s closed in 2018). The Fourth Street Shops and the modern commercial era began in the late 1970’s, with Bette’s opening in 1982.