Cheese Board gets pizza lovers in Berkeley lining up outside and sitting down on the grass median between traffic. That has to be some good pizza, right? Yeah, it is pretty good. And the whole idea behind Cheese Board is cool, too. But you probably know the story by now: The spot opened as a small cheese store in 1967, and four years later, the two owners sold it to their employees, creating a 100 percent worker-owned business of which they remained a part. Cheese Board's pizza program started in 1985. During shifts, employees "started making pizzas for [them]selves by cutting off hunks of extra sourdough baguette dough, grabbing favorite cheeses from the counter and throwing on vegetables from the market next door." After regular hours on Fridays, they started serving one vegetarian pizza, using fresh ingredients, and unusual cheeses atop of a thin, sourdough crust.
On a visit in September, the special pie was one featuring Roma tomatoes, onions, Bulgarian feta, mozzarella, cilantro, garlic olive oil, lemon zest and juice. While the cornicione was a bit heavy, sitting on the median was fun, and you really have to love the liberal use of lemon. That's something to steal. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.