Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

GOODBYE, GELATO  After 10 years on Shattuck Avenue, Gelateria Naia’s lease has expired and it is closing its doors. Co-founder Trevor Morris opened the much-loved Italian ice cream store in 2002 as Mondo Gelato and changed its name to Gelateria Naia in 2004. At the time, it was one of the few Italian ice cream stores in the city. Now there are about 20. The company has expanded in that time, too, and now has outlets in Walnut Creek and San Francisco and sells at numerous Whole Foods markets. The gelateria may return: “Our plan is to continue growing our company and to reopen in a new location next year,” said Morris.

A CHANGE OF HANDS  There has been a change of ownership at the popular T-Rex Barbeque on Tenth Street, according to the Chronicle’s Inside Scoop. Long-time owners Haig and Cindy Krikorian, whose K2 restaurant group also owns Lalime and Sea Salt, sold the business to Matt Sturm, who co-owns Fly Bar and Solstice in San Francisco. The Krikorians apparently wanted to downsize, said Strum, who loves the space and menu. “Everything will stay the same,” he told the Chronicle. “We’re just going to make it better and tighten it up.”

GREEN BOUTIQUE HOTEL SEEKS GREEN  When the Hotel Durant opened its doors in 1928, the hotel named after the University of California’s first president was considered an elegant and luxurious retreat that aimed to “provide every pleasure and convenience for its guests.” Now the 84-year old, 143-room property, which underwent a $7 million renovation in 2008 by San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre Hospitality, is up for sale. HVS Capital has been hired to conduct the sale. No price has been announced publicly.

Shop Talk is Berkeleyside’s 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.

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out All the News.

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  • resident

    Naia is closing? Now there is one less reason to go downtown.

  • Anonymous

     It’s too bad, they had the best gelato I’ve ever had outside of Italy and were very nice people. That was a great place which I reluctantly was forced to stop taking the kids to after one too many sketchy incidents with the gutter punks that moved into the bench area earlier this year.  I doubt I’m the only one.

  • Tim

    Al Mare is better, and right down the street – Naia fans should check it out.

  • anony

    Sad – Naia and Lush were my two faves in Berkeley.  Liked Naia better than Al Mare.  Also agree w/ the “gutter punks” comment – downtown Berkeley is pretty sketchy these days and every time we went to Naia I’d be constantly looking around for potential trouble and steering clear of those individuals (and others).  I don’t expect suburbia, but even for an SF-born city dweller, too much of a questionable environment for those w/ families.  (Hint to City of Berkeley – any way you can improve the area, which will in turn generate more visitors and thus tax revenues?)

  • Chris

    T-rex could be a great restaurant, but the food quality was very inconsistent under K2. Let’s hope the standards are raised a bit!

  • the deer.

    Gelato Naia was such a great thing for us, one of out family members used to be very lactose intolerant. This place didn’t only offer her sorbet, but cream-like gelato, so she could “be like” everyone, relax, and enjoy. Their soy based gelato still rocks. Too bad the lease will now be too high! Hope something else good comes in, not a “mini” walgreens….how many can one small city bear?

  • the deer.

    oops. typos.

  • The Sharkey

    I’ve stopped taking the kids to most places on Shattuck. It’s just not worth the hassle.