Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Closed: Ironwood BBQ

BYE BYE BBQ Despite rave reviews on Yelp, Ironwood BBQ at 2130 Oxford Street has closed its doors. If your cravings for one of its pulled-pork Memphis-style sandwiches with coleslaw gets the better of you, rush to Golden Gate Park Golf Course where, according to Ironwood’s website, the restaurant is still serving up its southern treats. [Hat tip: Ryan Christensen-Schwarz.]

New: Sol y Luna Taqueria

FOOD FLIP Another restaurant casualty, and another example of glowing reviews on Yelp not necessarily being enough to sustain a business, Chick o-Peas at 1926 Shattuck is no more. In its place is the newly opened Sol y Luna Taqueria. According to an early reviewer, the Luna Burrito with embedded French fries was “super interesting”. [Hat tip: Elizabeth Hensley.]

Reel likely to become a medical office

UNREELING Tipster Arturo Snuze sends in a photo of the old Reel Video space at 2655 Shattuck Avenue (left), which, according to a planning proposal notice, looks like it’s on the way to being made over into a medical facility. As Snuze points out, Berkeley’s stock of video stores is rapidly being depleted with the Blockbuster at 2390 Shattuck soon to morph into a Chase bank.

Coming to downtown: Asha Tea House

TEA TIME Coming soon: Asha Tea House which will open in about two months at 2086 University (at Shattuck). Owner David Lau, who has been blogging about tea and the run-up to the launch, hopes the store will create a community centered on quality teas. “We source all our own teas, mainly from Taiwan, and we hope to introduce that culture to Berkeley,” he says. There will be something for everybody, from straightforward brews to tea lattes and flavored, iced teas. You can follow Asha Tea House on its Facebook page. Look for a soft opening around March.

Viva Taqueria: closed

ADIOS TACOS Viva Taqueria, at 2984 Russell Street at the intersection of Ashby and Domingo, has gone out of business. The restaurant, with its outdoor seating and distinctive red-tiled roof, has been at that location for what feels like decades. No word on what caused it to close.

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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  • Anonymous

    what happened to ironwood, I wonder?  Seemed like a good location, though there was no synergy to be had from a BBQ joint sharing a wall with a vegan place.  

  • Anonymous

    Chic -O-Peas  started out as a really good place to get a falal and frites like the ones you can get in Paris (in the Marais at L’As du Falafel  or street vendors in the Latin Quarter).  That was the model of the original owner.  And the food was delicious and the frites with safron aioli were to die for.  ButI don’t think their prices fit a student’s budget and the location too far to get the downtown lunch business.

    Subsequent owners kept the prices but not the quality.  I miss those frites.

  • Eval

    could any one tell me what happened to Solano Kids on Upper Solano? Just got back from being out of town for 6 months and it’s gone-thanks

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t really call 3.5/5 stars on yelp “rave reviews,” that’s pretty much average.

  • Greg

    After the ‘planning proposal’ signs are posted you can find more information here (though it lagged by over a week for the former Reel Video site): 

    The former Reel Video building will become the new home for Davita Dialysis, which is currently at 2920 Telegraph. 

  • EBGuy

    Hope against hope…  I keep waiting for Reza Valiyee’s Shattuck property to show up on the zoning site (see link above).

  • Greg

    I check it religiously for the very same reason.

    Did someone test paint colors on the building a few weeks ago, or have those mismatched patches been there for a while?  Hopefully renovations will be more extensive than removing barbed wire and slapping on some paint.

    Also, I believe what Mark Rhoades said at the neighborhood meeting was that Berkeley Honda was in talks with Reza Valiyee to take over only the larger building, not both.  

    My understanding was that the McNevin Cadillac building was not a viable site due to it being (slightly) closer to a competing Honda dealership, hence the move to rezone south Shattuck to allow new auto dealers.

    In the end it may come down to whether the owner is amenable to Berkeley Honda as a temporary tenant, or if he’d rather wait until such time a perpetual-motion powered BART station can move in.

  • They closed suddenly.  There was a note on the door that was very hard to read through the closed outer double doors, but it said they had closed and plan to reopen in September 2012.  I was so sad — loved that place and the woman who owned it.  I had just been in the previous week and has asked her if they were closing, since she was having a big sale and she said “Oh no!  I’m not going anywhere!  We’re just trying to move back to Albany into a smaller space.”  Then, poof!  Gone!

  • Eval

    Thanks so much-I’ll look forward to seeing them reopen back in Albany, perhaps!

  • mtarses

    I used to manage The Station, the restaurant that was at this location before it became Viva Taqueria. The Station was a great burger joint. We made really good hamburgers with mushrooms, guacamole, and other toppings. Plus, people drove long distances for our french fried artichoke hearts. They should have left well enough alone! It was a great format.