Business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Alchemy Collective Café will move from MLK Jr. Way near Fairview St. to a new place at Alcatraz and Ellis streets. Photo: Alchemy Collective Café
Flavor Mediterranean Food is getting ready to move into Epicurious Garden. Photo: Flavor

FLAVOR A new Mediterranean restaurant is set to move into the former Picoso Taqueria space in Epicurious Garden at 1511 Shattuck Ave. Picoso closed in early May, and now Flavor Mediterranean Food, run by executive chef Ezra Malmuth, is claiming the Gourmet Ghetto takeout spot. According to a sign posted at the currently empty storefront, Malmuth has worked in “upscale eateries throughout the world” and interned at Chez Panisse. The sign says the new Flavor menu will highlight “California freshness enhanced with Middle Eastern spice,” and will change frequently with vegetarian and vegan options, alongside slow-braised meat and fish. (Hat-tip: Doug Ng)

ALCHEMY COLLECTIVE CAFÉ  (Pictured at top.) As we reported in Bites last week, Alchemy Collective Café is moving at the end of August to a new space at Alcatraz and Ellis. Right now, co-owner Chris Myers tells us, the shop at 3140 Martin Luther King Jr. Way is too small. (It’s located in a small storefront next to the Firehouse Art Collaborative in the Lorin District.) He said the business had to get city permits as a mobile cart because there was no running water or electricity — it was all run from a counter. In the new, larger space, the owners will be able to run a slightly more ambitious operation and add breakfast and lunch menus (sandwiches, granola and maybe soups). Alchemy was opened in 2012 by six baristas who wanted to be their own bosses and hire no employees. The collective raised $10,000 on Kickstarter to help launch the business, and they are turning to Kickstarter again to raise the money they need for the equipment at their new space. Read our August 2012 profile of Alchemy.

Antique clogs at Savers. Photo: Savers

SAVERS THRIFT STORE  We reported in September that Savers Thrift, a nationwide clothing and home thrift store, will take over the former Andronico’s space at 1414 University Ave. (the grocery store closed in 2011). The Savers headquarters now tells us the business is scheduled to move in in October, and construction is underway at the location.

Kid Dynamo is moving into part of the historic Squires Building. Photo: Kid Dynamo

KID DYNAMO The kids’ clothing and toy store Kid Dynamo, at 1481 Shattuck Ave., is moving across the street to a spot next to Earthly Goods at 2100 Vine St. Earthly Goods and the adjacent storefront are part of the historic Berkeley landmark, the Squires Building, and Kid Dynamo owner Erin Carter tells us the beauty of the building was one of the draws in deciding to move her store. The Squires Building also has a bigger space that will allow Kid Dynamo to start stocking bigger sizes for both shoes and clothing, adding tween sizes to the mix of newborn, toddler, and young kids’ apparel. In addition, they’ll add some more small furniture items, like high chairs. No word yet on what will be filling the space on Shattuck.


CHULO  Chulo Restaurant, serving Indian and Nepalese food, opened in April at 2160 University Ave. It replaced Yak and Yeti, also an Indian food spot, which closed not long before. We missed the ball when Chulo first opened, but are interested to hear what you think of the restaurant if you’ve had a chance to check it out.

The Pristine Solutions team. Photo: Skydeck.
The Pristine Solutions team. Photo: Skydeck

PRISTINE SOLUTIONS  New startup Pristine Solutions, incubated in the heart of Berkeley at downtown’s Skydeck, makes smart wine labels that tag and track the environment of bottled wine from the moment it is bottled until it is ultimately enjoyed. PS indicators send an alert when a bottle of wine has been exposed to damaging conditions. Pristine Solutions’ CEO is recent Haas Business School graduate Vik Thairani, and the company recently received 100K in funding from Founder.org (as did fellow Skydeck startup Eko Development, that makes next generation wireless stethoscopes.) Startup accelerator Skydeck is a collaboration between UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, the Haas School of Business, Berkeley Lab, and the City of Berkeley, among others.

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. Check out also our weekly Bites column which provides food news for the whole East Bay.

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