Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Alchemy

The Alchemy Collective Café has moved into its new premises at 1741 Alcatraz Ave. in South Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso

ALCHEMY COLLECTIVE CAFÉ The Alchemy Collective Café (pictured above) has moved from its current, cramped location on 3140 Martin Luther King Jr. Way to a larger location on 1741 Alcatraz Ave. (as tipped by us in July). This is the first move since the collective was opened in 2012 by six baristas who wanted to run an independent café operation. Last year they ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and brought in $10,000 to open up their business. They’ve proven to be as adept at crowd-sourced fundraising as brewing coffee: two days ago the Collective met their goal of raising another $10,000 on Kickstarter to help pay for their second move. According to their website, the new café will feature more space and a covered patio in the front. The menu is still in the works, but it will continue to feature coffee from Verve Roasters. The addition of a kitchen may allow the service of breakfast items like a granola bowl and breakfast sandwich, as well as a variety of lunch sandwiches.

via Claddagh Yarns

Image: Claddagh Yarns

CLADDAGH YARNS A new yarn store is opening mid-September at 1506 Walnut St. Claddagh Yarns — which gets its name from an Irish fishing village famous for its beautifully knit wool clothes — will stock natural fiber yarns harvested from sheep in Oregon and colored by independent dyer artisans in Colorado, Canada and Northern California. Several of the yarns are produced by women-owned and operated companies. According to its website, the shop’s owner, Amanda Fernández, is a life-longer knitter who has dreamed of opening a “yarn salon” for years. Yarn lovers can look out for updates on when the shop will open on the website’s blog. [Hat tip: Heather Hernandez]

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Photo: Kee-Ka Organics

KEE-KA ORGANICS A “pop-up eco-friendly baby boutique” based out of Brooklyn, NY, opened an outlet in Berkeley earlier this month. Kee-Ka Organics, which owners say is named after the gurgling sound made by infants, is located at 1749 Solano Ave. across the street from Pharmaca. The store features soft baby fabrics certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and purchased from Fair Trade and Fair Wage suppliers. The Berkeley store will also stock wooden toys, reclaimed wool puppets and kid-friendly artwork produced by local artists.

Photo: Facebook via Jimmy Bean's

Photo: Jimmy Bean’s

JIMMY BEAN’S/LAMA BEAN Jimmy Bean’s is now Lama Bean. The breakfast and brunch spot on 1290 Sixth St. has a new owner and a new name. Jimmy Bean’s was formerly part of the K2 Restaurant Group, which has sold off virtually all of its properties in Berkeley. The new owner of the property, Lodo Raden, purchased  the restaurant two weeks ago and renamed it Lama Bean. Raden said he plans to leave the menu the same but will focus on fresher ingredients. He is also applying for a liquor license, which he hopes to receive by mid-October.

Jason Kwon, via Facebook

BLEECKER STREET BISTRO Ann’s Kitchen on 2498 Telegraph Ave. will officially relaunch as The Bleecker Street Bistro in about two weeks (as tipped by us in March). The owner, Jason Kwon, took over the breakfast and lunch restaurant in March and has been changing the restaurant’s focus at an incremental pace. “We’ll still serve breakfast and lunch,” Kwon said. “But we’re adding the dinner component, and what I’ve been doing since I purchased Ann’s is introducing items.” Kwon said the focus of the restaurant will be classic comfort food, including brined buttermilk chicken, grits and gravy, different takes on wings, and more. There will also be themed nights with comfort cuisine from different cultures. Kwon’s cookbook memoir, Kitchen Barbarians, is slated to be published late fall by Charles Pinot.

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

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  • Some Guy

    It has been sad to see the K2 restaurants disappear over the last two years. I have wondered for some time what the story is behind the drastic retrenchment in the K2 empire. We enjoyed all of the K2 restaurants and are sad to see them change (and too frequently, close).

  • Tizzielish

    Best wishes for success to Claddagh Yarns. It seems somewhat quixotic, akin to opening a book store but I very sincerely wish them great success.

  • nelciej@yahoo.com

    Yes, what is up with the disappearance of K2? The loss of Sea Salt still hurts here on San Pablo Ave.

  • nelciej@yahoo.com

    Speaking of that neighborhood, what is up with the removal of the parking meters on Adeline? I parked in front of the former Other Change of Hobbit space yesterday to go to the farmers’ market and was surprised to find no meters. Mind you, I’m not complaining, but I am curious. Did the city take them out or was it vigilante parking justice?

  • guest

    Yes, the complexion of the neighborhood is definitely changing.