Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

THERAPY The Therapy store at 2951 College Ave. has been such a success since it opened 18 months ago that owners Wayne Whelan and Jing Chen are starting a new Berkeley outlet. The new store, at 1575 Solano Ave. near Peralta, will be the the 10th location for the Campbell-based company. The new store should be open by the end of November and will carry the usual collection of scarves, clothes, handmade goods, brightly colored furniture and other home goods.

earpeaceEAR PEACE RECORDS Ear Peace Records, the record label that morphed into a hip-hop store on 3268 Adeline St., and then became a concert and event venue, has shut its doors. Ear Peace was founded in 2011 by Jesse Bordiuk and Stu Lucreo, two of the three members of the rap group Candlestick Collective, and Alison Ferrell. At first the trio sold classic vinyl, CDs, men’s and women’s clothing, spray paints and street art. The space hosted a new art exhibit every month (the graffiti artists behind Endless Canvas often exhibited). In the last two years, Ear Peace has hosted live events, calling itself “the ultimate party destination in Berkeley.” But the finances didn’t pencil out, said Bordiuk, who moved to Brooklyn five months ago to pursue a solo music career. The Ear Peace Partners finally pulled the plug about three weeks ago.

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 11.35.52 AM THE MISSING LINK The Missing Link Bicycle Co-op will celebrate its 40th birthday Thursday, Nov. 14, from 7-10 p.m. with food, drinks, cake and live music at its store at 1988 Shattuck Ave. The Missing Link was founded in 1971 by three Berkeley High School students who went on to UC Berkeley and started a record, bike and supply store. It is one of Berkeley’s oldest cooperative businesses and is still collectively run, with decisions made at monthly group meetings. The store offers free hands-on classes about bike repair, sells road and mountain bikes, and repairs bikes — all in the greenest way possible.

koja kitchenKOJA KITCHEN Two years after it started serving its signature “Koja” burger from a roving food truck, the four partners behind Koja Kitchen are opening their first brick-and-mortar store. Koja Kitchen plans to open its doors in early December at 2395 Telegraph Ave., near Channing Way. It’s a huge and exciting step for the partners, who include two UC Berkeley graduates. The store will be “gourmet fast casual to-go” aimed at the student crowd, said Alan Tsai, one of the partners. There will be 10 tables in the space. Koja’s tag line is “Korean-Japanese (cuisine) reinvented.” The Koja burger, one of its signature dishes, is a “bun” made of toasted rice surrounding a filling of sliced beef or miso pork belly or Korean short ribs and costs from $5 to $6. Koja will continue to send its trucks to Off The Grid and other locations and will be at a food truck gathering at Telegraph and Haste on Monday, Nov. 18, said Tsai. Watch a piece about Koja Kitchen on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” here.

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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  • Bryan Garcia

    Looking forward to Koja Kitchen moving into that space.

    Two tenants ago in that spot was Maoz. Still miss their Belgian fries and topping bar. I think the unlimited toppings is probably what did them in, sadly.

    The Turkish Kitchen that came after was a big letdown after Maoz. They didn’t even open on Sundays, which I felt like was kinda shooting themselves in the foot.

    Koja will be a big improvement.

  • David D.

    The Maoz franchise owner shut it down and reopened the business as the Turkish Kitchen. Unfortunately this particular Maoz simply wasn’t as good as ones found in other countries, which is saying a lot since international franchise restaurants typically aren’t great.

    I biked around the south side of campus last night and saw at least 2 new restaurants and 1 new cafe, and I wasn’t even looking closely. Did I miss the Berkeleyside mentions for them? There was a pizza place and cafe on Bancroft between Telegraph and Bowditch, and a sushi place across the street from the Asian Ghetto.