SAN PABLO & UNIVERSITY The area around San Pablo and University Avenues is buzzing with new tenants moving in to vacant retail spaces. As previously noted, eco-friendly mattresses and sleep products store Keetsa is moving into the building at 2117 San Pablo, having relocated from the 811 University. Keetsa, which also has stores in New York and San Francisco, is in the process of building out the space and will open in a few months. And a furniture company has taken the lease at the beautifully restored 2001 San Pablo Ave. The identity of the furniture company has not yet been released. Expected move-in date is around April. And the intersection may soon see the arrival of a convenience store if an application by 7-Eleven to take over 2000 San Pablo is approved.
TROY GREEK CUISINE Troy Greek Cuisine is set to make its debut on Solano Ave. this summer in the space formerly occupied by Italian delicatessen A.G. Ferrari. Troy, which serves traditional Greek dishes such as mezza platters, tzatziki and gyros, already has one Berkeley restaurant — at 2985 College Avenue in the Elmwood, and has a second in Alameda. A.G. Ferrari closed its Solano Ave. store in April 2011 in a streamlining effort after the parent company went bankrupt.
OPEN FINE ART GALLERY Patrick Schmidt opened the Open Fine Art Gallery on Solano Ave. in December and says he felt compelled to do so by the “incredible space.” The space was used for storage for the Oaks Theatre and has an impressive 45 ft high ceiling, as well as a very big rocket left there by previous tenant, Tom Taylor. Now Schmidt is operating the space as a gallery and community center with a schedule of workshops. The current Community Art Show includes about a dozen local artists — paintings, pottery, sculpture, jewelry — and includes photographs by Berkeley’s Karen Juster Hecht. On week days from 4-6pm Schmidt offers clay, painting and music improv classes. A reception for Community Art Show will take place on Feb. 23, 6-9pm. Open Fine Art Gallery, 1861 Solano Ave. A (tucked into alley next to Oaks Theatre).
BOOKISH Bookish, which describes itself as specializing in “gently used and collectible books,” has opened on Euclid on the north side of the UC Berkeley campus. “This is my dream bookstore – a place devoted to totally tangible tomes!,” says owner, author Laurie Fox, on Facebook. “I’ve gone full circle as I began life in publishing as a bookseller. I will still be a full-service agent and hopefully an author (a third novel is in the works), but here is my new “office.” I plan on hosting readings and how-to-publish seminars, and hope many of you will honor me by reading your work here.” Bookish is at 1816 Euclid Ave. A grand opening is planned down the line. More info on Fox’s Facebook page.
WALRUS Berkeley artist, and occasional Berkeleyside contributor, Susan Anglin is exhibiting a small selection of framed works at the newly opened Walrus home design store in Oakland’s Temescal Alley. Walrus was opened last month by two stay-at-home moms, Camille Snyder and Wendy Renz, who live in the same duplex and discovered their shared passion for restoring old furniture. The pair used to sell at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, but decided to open up a store when they fell in love with the Temescal Alley space. Walrus sells repurposed, upcycled furniture and home items such as cushions made with vintage fabric. Walrus, 470G 49th St., Oakland.
TOSS NOODLE BAR A new noodle shop, Toss Noodle Bar, has opened at 2272 Shattuck Ave. It opened in the former space of Pin Toh, a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant, which had closed as of late December. Find Toss Noodle Bar on Facebook.
CLAYPOT SPOT ON SAN PABLO A new restaurant by the name of “Claypot” appears to be making preparations to open at 2501 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. The license application notice was just posted at the site Jan. 31, and reader Felipe Fernandez tipped Berkeleyside about it.
LA CASCADA La Cascada Taqueria on Center St. in downtown closed its doors on Jan. 18 after 18 years in business. The Mexican food purveyors are planning on expanding their retail line — which sells in grocery stores such as Berkeley Bowl — as well as their catering division. La Cascada shuttered its College Ave. restaurant in 2011.
NORTHBRAE BOTTLE SHOP As tipped on Jan. 15 in Shop Talk, the former Monterey Liquors on Hopkins St. has been taken over by Art Kinsey of next-door Gioia Pizzeria, and Ryan Murff of Café Rouge, and they are working on re-opening the shop as an artisanal liquor and drinks store, selling wines, craft beers, bitters and spirits. Kinsey says they now have a name for the new venture: Northbrae Bottle Shop. “We are finally in the store and buried in dust and debris,” he told Berkeleyside. We are in the middle of a huge cleaning but plan to re-open by the end of the upcoming weekend.” Northbrae Bottle Shop, 1590 Hopkins Street, Berkeley 94707, 510-525-5323.
IN BRIEF: As tipped last month, women’s sportswear store Title Nine has moved from the heart of the Fourth Street shopping district into the emerging nearby shopping across from Fourth and U and Sketch Ice Cream. Meanwhile SUPER by Dr. Josepth Perricone at 1833 Fourth St. on the corner of Hearst is closed for remodeling until Feb. 19 when it will re-open as the newly named and revamped Perricone MD. Perricone MD will have a grand reopening party on Feb. 22, 5pm-8pm, with food, drinks, complimentary mini facials, and goody bags. The shop is part of the mini-cosmetics ghetto there that encompasses Benefit, MAC, Kiehl’s and Aveda.
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.