Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

A SLIGHT SHIFT  Razan’s Organic Kitchen is on the move, with plans to take over the neighboring space where Great China used to be on Kittredge Street. Great China is renovating the old Looney’s BBQ spot on Bancroft, with a scheduled opening date of next spring. The new restaurant will continue to be run by the Razan’s folks. It doesn’t yet have a name, but it will sell Middle Eastern food and hopes to open next spring as well.

VETERAN CLOSING  The venerable, 40-year-old breakfast spot and music venue Chester’s Bayview Café at 1508 Walnut St. in the Gourmet Ghetto is to close and will be replaced by a new restaurant called La Fable, according to Grub Street. Chester’s was originally established in 1972 as the Egg Shop and Apple Press but was subsequently named after the English town of Chester. We will report on what La Fable owners Franck and Isabel Bochaton have planned as soon as we snag the scoop.

MOVING UP  Peking Express has popped up to 2516 Durant Ave., across from the Durant Food Court, after moving from its former location of 20 years at 2068 Center St. Restaurant manager Kathy Gia told the Daily Cal that the lease ended on the previous location, prompting the need for a relocation. As reported in Shop Talk on Oct. 23, Eureka! Burger, an upscale burger and craft beer chain, is taking the old Peking Express space.

NO FUTURE  Bay Area Professional Psychic at 1749 Solano Ave. has closed up shop. “Completely unforseeable!” quips Ira Serkes who tipped us to the news and took the photo (left).

NEW ON THE BLOCK  Mason McDuffie Mortgage office is celebrating the grand opening of its new offices in Berkeley with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony today, 4-7 p.m.. The office is at 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 14.

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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  • Geech

    Great to see the news on Great China’s comeback.  The best Chinese food in town will ride again. 

  • Mrdrew3782

    NO! Not Chester’s! They have such a good breakfast menu and it’s one of the few places where you can roll in at noon and get some good pancakes. It’s a shame to see them go.

  • wensull

    Sorry to see Chester’s go, but last two years the quality has really decreased. I’ll miss that place.

  • the Deer

    hoping for something new and delicious in Walnut square, and La Fable sounds like there is some element of fun..still breakfast and daytime?

  • serkes

    Dear Deer

    Would you be able to show them how to make your favorite breakfast … the Sunrise Rose?

  • serkes
  • TizziLish

    I shared the tip about Razan’s taking over the spot formerly occupied by Great China. An owner of Razan’s told me the new place will be called Arabica. I am surprised to learn the name of the new place has not yet been decided, cause the guy was pretty clear. Having said that, I did offer my unsolicited, inexpert opinion that most people I know would not pronounced the name ‘Arabica’ the way this guy did. This owner of Razan’s is Arabic and when he said ‘Arabica’ it was melodious and would be a beautiful name for a Middle Eastern restaurant but I suggested that most USA-born middle Americans like me would pronounce it like ‘we’ pronounce the coffee beans. I loved the melodious lilt of how he said “Arabica”.

    Since the Berkeleyside editors report that the new name has not been chosen, I am wondering if my expression of my uninformed, inexpert doubt has caused them to hesitate.  I have become fond of the name since I had that conversation with the Razan’s owner.

    I wonder if he would be open to a contest on Berkeleyside to solicit ideas for names? That would be fun. What would you name a Middle Eastern food joint on Kittredge Street?!

  • TizziLish

    Not only will the best Chinese food in town ride again but their new space is going to be much larger than their former space. Major renovation is going on.  They are greatly expanding the Looney space.

  • I saw that La Rose Bistro on Shattuck had closed down. Interesting to note that now redirects to, which touts a move to Concord.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Arabica FTW

  • PragmaticProgressive

    there was a sign in the window to the effect that theyhad indeed moved to Concord.  A pity

  • Biker 94703

    I didn’t eat at Chester’s but really enjoyed their deck for cocktails.  I hope the new owners keep that!