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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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Rasa Sun Mott (right), owner of the newly opened Rasa Caffe in the Lorin District. Photo: Emilie Raguso

rasa2RASA CAFFE Rasa Caffe, at 3140 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at Adeline), had its soft opening on Valentine’s Day and will be open intermittently between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. until its official opening on Saturday March 1. Owner Rasa Sun Mott said the soft opening was principally to thank the new business’s crowdsourced backers and the local community. Mott, an Oakland native and the son of two high-profile Black Panther activists, raised $16,252 on Kickstarter to help him open the new coffee shop. As we reported in October 2013, Bicycle Coffee is being served (sweet spiced coffee with nutmeg is a speciality), as well as chai from his own recipe, and a selection of locally sourced pastries. Rasa Caffe is in the former Alchemy Café space, and part of the Firehouse Art Collective complex; Mott intends to collaborate with the group for events. The café will be featuring prints by artist Emory Douglas for its opening.

 HUE KITCHEN STUDIO Hue Kitchen Studio opened its doors on Feb. 7 in the Berkeley Design Center at 3195 Adeline St., just north of Alcatraz. The showroom offers more than 100 cabinet doors, countertops, and accessories. Owners Maritza and Hugh say the samples on show are easily interchangeable which allows customers to see many different design combinations. They call it their “kitchen manikin.” Hue offers a complete design service, customized product selection, construction, and project management from start to finish. Tel: 510-225 2888

Gold & GiftedGold & Gifted It’s all happening in the Lorin District this week, with the news also that new barber shop/clothing boutique Gold & Gifted has opened at 3268 Adeline St., next door to Hue Kitchen Studio (see above), in the space formerly occupied by Ear Peace Records. Early reviews on Yelp seem good, with customers praising the friendly service and the “dope” clothes.

T-MobileT-MOBILE Reader Christine Soto snapped this photo (right) of a new T-Mobile sign on a storefront on San Pablo at University, next to the recently opened 7-Eleven. It’s so new the store is not yet listed on the Store Locator section of the mobile phone company’s website. Let us know if you find out something more before we do. (Update, 8:15 p.m.: We see that the whole building at 2000 San Pablo Ave., which includes both the T-Mobile and the 7-Eleven stores, is up for sale. Asking price: $4.86m.)

LEVANT CAFÉ Downtown Berkeley coffee shop Levant at 2177 Kittredge St. has closed after opening just last fall. It’s understood that Shihadeh Kitami, who also runs Razan’s Organic Kitchen and Arabica Mediterranean Cuisine, is selling the business.

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.