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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Caffe Venezia (1)
Caffe Venezia: to close after 33 years

CAFFE VENEZIA Caffe Venezia, on University Avenue at Grant Street, will close before this summer after 33 years of operation in Berkeley. Owners Jeff Wizig and Roger Feuer are retiring and selling the business, the restaurant’s manager said. A new owner plans to open a restaurant in the space eventually, but the lid is on precisely what it will be. Caffe Venezia, with its charming Venice street scene interior décor — fountains, balconies and washing lines included — has been a much-loved fixture on the local dining scene for generations of Berkeley families. Caffe Venezia’s founder, John Solomon, was the inspiration behind the “How Berkeley Can You Be Parade” that marched along University once a year for 13 years, until it was canceled in 2009. Berkeleyside Nosh will have a fuller report looking at the history of the restaurant and its place in city life soon. [Hat-tip: James Carr]

Monterey Liquors reopening under new owners

MONTEREY LIQUORS Monterey Liquors, at 1590 Hopkins St,. is to be reborn as an artisanal liquor and drinks store under the stewardship of Arthur Kinsey, former general manager of next-door’s Gioia Pizzeria, and Ryan Murff, bar manager at Berkeley’s Café Rouge. “We want to cater to the modern cocktail movement,” Kinsey told Berkeleyside. The store will stock local wines, small-craft beers and hard-to-find liquors, Kinsey said, as well as a good selection of bitters. The store is slated to re-open in its new guise — with a new name that is, at this point, “top secret” — on Feb. 1.

Hippie Gypsy
Hippie Gypsy Café: shuttered

HIPPIE GIPSY CAFE The Hippie Gypsy Café, which opened in September 2011 in the Gourmet Ghetto, has closed down. Owner Mary Dirks explained the reason on the café’s Facebook page: “There is a lot of ‘should of, could of, would of’s,’ but what it boils down to is that we just didn’t have enough customers to pay the rent.” The vegetarian and vegan focused Hippie Gypsy Café, which took over the space that used to be occupied by Village Grounds, had customers design their own  salads and sandwiches, which were made with Berkeley Bowl produce. Hippie Gypsy was at 1797-A Shattuck Ave., between Francisco and Delaware streets. [Hat-tip: Charles Siegel]

Hot sauce shop Heat opening on MLK

Shop Talk Briefs… A new store devoted to hot sauce — Heat Hot Sauce Shop — is to open at 1922 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Berkeleyside Nosh will have the skinny shortly… A number of Berkeley businesses are on the move: Keetsa, which sells eco-friendly mattresses and sleep products, is relocating from the 800 block of University to 2117 San Pablo Ave.; Berkeley company Body Time, which has three Berkeley locations, is moving one of them from 1942 to 1950 Shattuck Ave.; Pilates to the People has opened up at 2124 Dwight after moving from Jack London Square; and women’s sportswear store Title Nine has moved from 1840 Fourth St. to 2037 Fourth St., and will reopen Feb. 1.


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.