Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses


Home design studio Taylorblue has opened its showroom at 2911 Claremont Ave. Photo: Tracey Taylor

TAYLORBLUE Home design studio Taylorblue is now up and running in its new store at 2911 Claremont Avenue (at Domingo) in the 1913 firehouse that was formerly home to Giorgi art gallery (and, more briefly, the Golden Gate Creativity Center). Taylorblue owner Lani Blue Taylor worked out of the San Francisco Design Center under the name The Sherrill Collection for 30 years before relocating to Berkeley. The showroom carries home furnishings and accessories from brands including Sherrill, Hickory White, and Artistica, as well as original works of art.

Next DoorNEXT DOOR RESTAURANT Next Door Restaurant, which opened in May last year at 3290 Adeline St. in the former Addie’s Pizza Pie space (corner with MLK Jr. Way), has closed indefinitely for “redecorating/creating a new concept,” according to a sign posted on the door, and its website. (Hat-tip: Marc Rumminger.) Readers may remember that the owner of Next Door is Henry Alvarez, the former head of San Francisco’s Housing Authority, and his wife Dionne Roberts. Opening chef was Sharon Lorraine Anderson, formerly of The Purple Plum.

SECREASE TAE KWON DO-KARATE The Secrease Tae kwon do-Karate studio at 3212 Adeline St. (next to Nick’s Lounge) closed last month, and a sign displays a liquor license application for an Ethiopian restaurant, according to tipster Syl. The nonprofit academy had been in that location for 27 years, according to a directory listing. The owners couldn’t be reached for comment, but we’ll keep you posted if we find out there are plans to re-open elsewhere — and on the new restaurant that’s coming in its place, of course.

ZensenZENSEN SUSHI EXPRESS The Taiwanese chain Zensen Sushi Express, which only opened in June last year, has closed its restaurant at 2516 Durant Ave. in Berkeley. It took over the old La Val’s Pizza space. It was the first U.S location for the sushi conveyer-belt eatery, part of a chain of more than 300 restaurants started by Chin-Chou “Stanley” Chen in Taiwan in 1996. A new location in San Francisco looks to be on the cards.

NEW BARBER SHOP A barber shop looks like it’s getting ready to open in the former Kid Dynamo space at 1481 Shattuck Ave. (between Saul’s and Solemates). We’ll bring you more details when we get them. (Hat-tip: Doug Ng.) Kid Dynamo, you may recall, recently moved around the corner to 2108 Vine St. into the space once occupied by the Earthly Goods outlet.

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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  • Bryan Garcia

    That building at 2516 Durant has been a revolving door of businesses over the years. I don’t know if the landlord is charging too much rent for the businesses to survive or if the strange architecture of the building hurts foot traffic. Or it’s just cursed.

  • Bill N

    To bad about the “Next Door” they had pretty good food and VERY VERY good pork chops and fried chicken as well a nice bar and friendly staff.

  • Mbfarrel

    Pity that Spud’s which did all the hard work getting a food service usa permit was jerked around by the City for so long. They might not have made it either, but they would at least have had a fair chance.

  • jim novosel

    Next door may be gone, but the Lorin District has a great little new restaurant in “Easy Creole,” just down from the corner of Adeline on Alcatraz. Wonderful comforting creole foods. It seems to have caught on with large lunch and dinner crowds. Fun decor also.

  • Agreed, Jim. In case people missed it, here’s the Nosh review of Easy Creole:

  • Peter Moore

    So I guess Next Door didn’t get it’s liquor license to be a full bar?

  • Lorin order

    It did get the license, I guess the idea all along was to secure that and then sell. It was sold immediately upon securing that license.

  • bgal4

    was the community noticed during the process?