Business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Shuttering: Video Maniacs

VIDEO NO MORE After 22 years in business, Video Maniacs at 1482 University is shuttering its doors at the end of the year. Owner Henry Bhukhan said rentals are half what they were two years ago because of Netflix and online streaming. The closure leaves only two freestanding videos store in Berkeley — Five Star at 1550 University Avenue, and Blockbuster at 2390 Shattuck (near Channing). And, as we reported last month, the latter is scheduled to shut down in 2012 when a branch of Chase Bank takes over the space.

Expanding: Angeline's

COLD OUT, SPICY IN Yogurt Harmony at 2259 Shattuck Avenue (between Allston Way and Kittredge) has shut its doors. Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, which “brings the flavor and atmosphere of a New Orleans neighborhood restaurant to downtown Berkeley,” is filing for a permit to expand into the 1,013 sq ft space, which is located next door to its current location.

New direction: Chris and Veronica Laramie

SWITCH UP Chris and Veronica Laramie will close down eVe, the restaurant they opened two years ago at 1960 University Avenue, and reopen it as Brasa, a Peruvian rotisserie joint. The couple announced in a press release that they have been approached to do an “exciting new project” and that, once Brasa is up and running, they will have time to focus on that too. eVe, which was billed as an “artisanal American” restaurant, will serve its last dinner on New Year’s eve. Veronica Laramie is Peruvian which helps explain the new choice of concept. The pair say Brasa will be “a fun place designed for the neighborhood”. Read our July 2010 interview with the culinary couple.

Kitchen on Fire: new location, new book

FLAMING HOT As tipped by us in September, innovative cooking school Kitchen on Fire at 1509 Shattuck Avenue has opened Fire West, an outpost in west Berkeley. The soft opening happened on Saturday December 3. The facility is inside culinary shopping mecca Rocket Restaurant Resource at 2940 7th Street and has twin facing kitchens. A grand opening party is planned for January 28, 7 pm -11 pm. Meanwhile the Kitchen on Fire duo, Olivier Said and Chef MikeC (read our profile of them), have a new book out. It’s called “Kitchen on Fire! Mastering the Art of Cooking in 12 Weeks (or Less)”. Watch for book signings around the Bay Area, including tonight at Moe’s Books, 7:30pm – 9:00pm.


Official opening: Premier Cru

VINO BELLO Premier Cru Fine Wines at 1011 University Avenue (at 10th Street) is throwing a Grand Opening and ribbon-cutting celebration on Friday December 9th, 6:00-9:00pm. It will feature in-store promotions of up to 50% off, presentations by in-house wine experts and wine raffles.

Closing: Magic Gardens

GREEN ADIEU Magic Gardens at 729 Heinz Avenue (west of 7th Street) is closing its nursery at the end of December. The full-service landscape arm of the company — which does design and build work, DIY gardens as well as custom stonework and masonry — will continue doing business. For the Magic Garden nursery’s closing-down sale, all plants are marked down 65%.

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses — openings, closings, new directions, relaunches, relocations. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleysider who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, shoot us an email with the details. Read previous Shop Talk columns here.

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