Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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Dosadilla at Source: the San Francisco vegan restaurant is opening Source Mini in downtown Berkeley imminently. Photo: Source

SOURCE MINI Vegans rejoice! San Francisco restaurant Source is opening up a second location in the Gourmet Ghetto’s Epicurious Garden at 1511 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. Source Mini is taking over the spot formerly occupied by Flavor Mediterranean Food, which closed as it wants to open a sit-down restaurant elsewhere. Source owner Mitchell Fox, who brought the concept of vegan fast food from the Bronx, says he knew San Francisco and Berkeley would be perfect for his original restaurant (which is on Division Street at De Haro) — it just happened he got a better deal on a building in the city. The Berkeley spot will be a smaller, take-out version of the restaurant. “It’s like a Subway or McDonald’s-esque vegan fast food menu,” he said. That means: vegan burgers and sandwiches, gluten-free tacos and quesadillas, dosadillas (as pictured above), and more. Fox said Source’s was the only vegetarian burger to be included in Grub Street’s latest Top 50 San Francisco’s list. Fox hopes to open Source Mini within two weeks.

Seasons of Japan

Seasons of Japan: newly opened at 2122 Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

SEASONS OF JAPAN Japanese and sushi restaurant Seasons of Japan (pictured above) opened at 2122 Shattuck Ave. on Jan. 6 in the space formerly occupied by Mexican taqueria Casa Bernal, very close to BART (as tipped by us in June). The restaurant, part of a chain, describes its offering as “genuine Japanese and all Hibachi styles cuisines that are cooked to order,” and menu items include bowls, rolls, wraps and bento boxes. Seasons of Japan is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and serves lunch, dinner and snacks in between.

cookiesPACIFIC COOKIE COMPANY Gourmet cookie store Pacific Cookie Company, which we alerted you about back in July, is set to open its new store at 2309 Telegraph Ave. this week — within easy reach for Cal students craving a sweet treat between classes. The cookie company has been going for over 23 years and was founded by partners Larry and Shelly Pearson in 1980 on the Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz. Now, the Berkeley store is one of several retail locations. The company delivers freshly baked cookies daily on the Northern California coast, sells gourmet cookie gifts online and ships them to cookie lovers across the country. Follow Pacific Cookie Company on Facebook for updates on what it’s baking and its opening hours.

Nature's Express: staying open

NATURE’S EXPRESS Many readers will be thrilled to hear that Nature’s Express, at 1823 Solano Ave., which said it would close Dec. 31, 2013, after four years on the Berkeley street, has found a way to stay open. The healthy/vegan fast-food business, owned by Carl Myers, reported on its Facebook page that it is staying open due in part to “heartfelt support” from customers, and to “the huge public response” to the news that it would be shuttered. Visit Nature’s Express online for opening hours and menus.

7-Eleven at San Pablo and University. Photo: Emilie Raguso

7-Eleven at San Pablo and University. Photo: Emilie Raguso

7-ELEVEN The much-debated 7-Eleven at 2000 San Pablo Ave. (at University) opened at the end of 2013. The store was the subject of much neighborhood opposition. This time last year, local residents gathered to voice their protests to the chain store’s representative and the landlord of the building, which had stood vacant for some time. The main concern was that an all-night store would prompt more crime in a neighborhood described as “fragile.” In February, the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board gave its approval for the store, on condition it did not operate 24 hours. The new store is one of a new prototype of 7-Eleven stores that is said to offer more fresh produce and healthful food than the typical 7-Eleven model.

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses. 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, and check out Bites for the latest East Bay restaurant news.

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  • Chris in Berkeley

    Yeah! Double win for Berkeley vegans!

  • Jen

    Great news about Source Mini and Nature’s Express! Glad to see more vegan dining options in the area. And thanks to Berkeleyside for keeping us updated on such business comings and goings.

  • kuishinbo gyaru

    What the heck is “genuine Japanese and all Hibachi style cuisine?” I’m from Japan, and I have no idea!

  • Anna

    I’m very excited about Source Mini opening up since Epicurious Garden is very close to me. I’m also really happy that Nature’s Express is staying open, I should make it a point to patronize Nature’s Express more frequently.

  • Donald Lathbury

    Source is especially exciting considering the recent loss of Vegi Food.