Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Tsunami Dogs, an Asian-themed hot dog eatery, on Milvia. Photo: Camille Baptista

Tsunami Dogs, an Asian-themed hot dog eatery, on Milvia. Photo: Camille Baptista

TSUNAMI DOGS The food stand that sits at the entrance to a parking lot at 2109 Milvia St. is now occupied by Tsunami Dogs, an Asian-themed hot dog eatery with a very unique menu. On top of a beef, Polish, turkey, chicken apple, or vegetarian frank, lunch-goers can choose from a long list of toppings — many of which they won’t likely find anywhere else. Standard condiment options are included in the price of a hot dog, but for an extra charge, customers can add rainbow kale salad, roasted seaweed, Asian dried pork sung, cucumber kimchee, or one of their countless other add-ons. Gluten-free options are also available, along with tacos and quesadillas. 

Jeremie Rivera, who staffs the hot dog stand, said the store’s “biggest attraction is that we are such a fun place. We’re not, like, a big chain.” Rivera said that owner Vicky Dam is a “hot dog enthusiast.” She opened Tsunami Dogs in April. The store opens at 7:30 a.m. to serve bagels and coffee, before opening up its hot dog menu at 11:30 a.m. It is closed on weekends.

LULU’S CYCLERY A new bicycle shop featuring antique decorations and a talking parrot will open July 1 at 3089 Telegraph Ave., near Dowling Place. Lulu’s Cyclery will feature cruisers and three-speed bicycles, particularly the Brooklyn Cruiser (left). Owners Emily Thurston and Dennis Jenkins, who runs Lulu’s Hauling, decided to open the bike shop in order to keep up with a passion they’ve always shared. “We wanted to get back into the thing we first had in common when we first met,” Thurston said. She describes herself as a racer, and Jenkins is into urban cycling.

Thurston said that besides having connections to the neighborhood and realtor through Jenkins’ hauling business, the Telegraph area is “a really great commuter corridor.” “It seems like it’s really coming out,” she said. “There’s Whole Foods up the street, we have this coffee shop on the corner.” She added that the nearby hospital might attract people who are interested in biking. “Cycling is one of the things people like to get into when they get injured doing something else, because it’s low-impact,” she said. The store, along with the moving business, is named after Thurston and Jenkins’ pet African Gray parrot, who will be in the shop most days to greet customers.

BITTERSWEET Bittersweet Café is opening its newest outpost at 2015 University Avenue by the middle of next week, according to co-owner Penelope Finnie. In addition to its signature hot chocolate and chocolate desserts, the café will serve sandwiches and salads. A little known secret about Bittersweet is that it makes all its own bread, yogurt, granola and pastries at its kitchen on Broadway in Oakland. The company also roasts its own coffee and has a bean to bar chocolate manufacturing facility. “We have always wanted to be in Berkeley,” said Finnie. Both she and her co-owner Diana MeckFessel live here. “It seemed like a perfect location with the rose garden in the back. So much is changing downtown so it will be fun to be a part of it.” The manager of the café managed the Magnolia Bakery in Los Angeles. Bittersweet is moving into the space once occupied by the New Amsterdam Café and right near Brasa, Chocolatier Blu and Slow.

PATHOS After more than a year under construction, chef Nicholas Eftimiou has unveiled digitalized plans for the interior of his new organic Greek restaurant, Pathos Organic Greek Kitchen (right). At 2430 Shattuck Ave., Pathos’ cuisine will be classic and casual, with delicious and affordable Greek staple dishes. Eftimiou wrote on his Pathos blog that as a young adult, he was struggling to find a career when his passion for food gave him the direction he needed. He went to culinary school and worked at a number of restaurants around the East Bay, including Kokkari Estiatorio in San Francisco, before deciding to open his own place. “It so happens that the location that I have chosen is a perfect match for this ideology of food,” Eftimiou wrote in the early days of construction for Pathos. “I have truly opened my soul and poured every ounce of creativity that I have within myself to make my dream come true.”

TOGO’S The sandwich chain Togo’s is opening a new branch at 2172 Shattuck Ave. between Center Street and Allston Way, in the space where All Star Café was previously located. A sign on the door of the storefront says the business is looking to hire and will open in August.

Framer's OutletFRAMER’S OUTLET The Framer’s Workshop, a long-time family-owned business at the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Channing Way, is expanding. The new Framer’s Outlet at 2435 Channing Way, adjacent to the original building, will allow the framers to keep a much larger inventory of affordable, ready-made frames, as they continue to run their do-it-yourself frame workshop next door.

Shop Talk is our 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.

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  • Chris

    I hope Pathos stays true to Greek cooking, focusing on gentle flavors and fresh product. Too many awful Greek restaurant in the Bay…

  • Chris

    Avgolemono and Horta on the menu? Looks promising!

  • Ginny

    Yay! A Bittersweet location in Berkeley!! Love their chocolate and fun staff!

  • Chris J

    Sigh…now that I have a new FT job, my extra hours each week of hanging out drawing, reading, and checking out new coffee spots is limited–just when I have more $$ to play with, ironically.

  • Completely_Serious

    Stopped by Lulu’s the other day when I saw bikes and what turned out to be Dennis inside. Hurrah! It will be nice to have a bike shop on Telegraph that isn’t run by a hoarder. :(