BusinessBusiness

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Proposed site of Biondi's Cafe. Image: Google Maps
Proposed site of Biondi’s Cafe. Image: Google Maps

FROM CLOTHES TO PIZZA Landlord Ken Sarachan has applied to open a new “family and student oriented” eatery — serving salads, gourmet pizza and pasta — named Biondi’s Cafe, at 2360 Telegraph Ave. You may remember it as Wet Seal, which has closed. (Thanks to Charles Siegel for the tip.) Architect Mark Thieme said, in his application to the city, the space “will feature a bar and restaurant seating with a bistro style atmosphere.” Interior improvements will include “a new commercial kitchen, open seating areas, bar type seating, accessible restrooms and a production lift” for storage on the existing mezzanine. The cafe will seat about 80 people, with a capacity of 150. The space has applied for permission to be open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, and could offer live music. The application is set for review before the Zoning Adjustments Board on Jan. 10.

A meal from The Toaster Oven. Photo: Janet Choi
A meal from The Toaster Oven. Photo: Janet Choi via Facebook

SANDWICH SHOP ADDS SEATING After a somewhat extended Zoning Adjustments Board discussion in November, The Toaster Oven on Telegraph, which opened in January, has gotten a permit to add a small amount of seating. The owner of the sandwich shop, at 2309 Telegraph Ave., said she was having trouble competing with nearby sit-down cafes because of her lack of seats. The business won approval to change its permit from a carry-out-only spot to a “Quick Service Restaurant,” even though the area is already well over quota for quick service venues. The business plans to add up to 15 seats, but will not make any other changes to its existing configuration or operations. See the application here for more details. According to the findings made by the city: “Less than 25 percent (46) of the approximately 200 ground-floor commercial spaces in the District are devoted to this use, and the addition of one more Quick Service Restaurant would not cause this use to dominate.”

Grainger street view courtesy of Google Maps

OUT OF BUSINESS After 23 years in Berkeley, Grainger, a national business-to-business industrial supply chain with more than 700 stores, shut its branch at 2950 Seventh St. at the end of November, according to spokesman Joseph Micucci. The closure was part of a chain-wide shuttering of smaller branches, according to a current employee who asked not to be named. Micucci said that contractors and other businesses “are changing the way they do business and want a company that can manage their inventory on site, has same day availability, and can deliver a product when and where it is needed. Our goal is to provide the right local mix so we continually adjust based on how our customers want to do business.” Grainger will still service its customers in Berkeley with one of its Bay Area’s 79 sales representatives  or 41 stores in California. According to the company website, Grainger still has branches in San Leandro, Hayward and San Francisco.

Grazzy Burgers in AlbanyLOCAL BURGERS SET FOR SAN PABLO Albany has a brand-new grass-fed, locally-sourced burger restaurant set to open on Jan. 15. Grazzy Burgers is moving into a San Pablo Avenue location that eventually, owners hope, will open onto a beer pub next door. Owners say all the restaurant’s produce and meats will come from Bay Area farms. Learn more on Grazzy’s Facebook pageGrazzy Burgers, 747 San Pablo Ave., Albany; 510-526-2999. Hours: Monday to Thursday & Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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.


One of this week’s Shop Talk items was first published on Berkeleyside NOSH, our online East Bay food magazine. Follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.