Best Worker-Run Business: A slice of the greater good

The Cheese Board Pizza Collective

Since its first slice rolled out of the oven in 1985, the Cheese Board has grown into one of Berkeley’s most popular pizza destinations. With a line often leading out the door and pizza lovers picnicking on the grassy median, the shop maintains a high profile in its mellow North Berkeley neighborhood. Many customers and passersby may not realize that what sets this pizza joint apart from all the others goes far beyond its unique recipes, gourmet toppings, and daily varieties. The Cheese Board Pizza Collective, like its parent bakery, is now an independent worker-owned co-op; that means its dozen employees have no boss, share decision-making, and all take home the same hourly wage. The Cheese Board Collective, which runs the bread and cheese shop next door, budded off sister collective Arizmendi, which operates bakery-pizzerias in Emeryville, Oakland, and San Francisco. The Emeryville shop, its newest, bakes with the very same sourdough starter that’s been used at Cheese Board for decades. How’s that for spreading the love?

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