Business

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Guitars at Blue Note. Photo- Anne H.
Guitars at Blue Note Music which is closing after 21 years on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue. Photo: Anne H.

BLUE NOTE MUSIC After 21 years of service, Blue Note Music, at 2556 Telegraph Ave., is closing down. The store specialized in high-quality new, used and vintage guitars and amplifiers. Workers at Blue Note were trained musicians dedicated to selling — and repairing — quality guitars at discounted prices. The store’s hours were reduced a while back and business has been slow, according to the owner. Employees will still work on an appointment-only basis from an unspecified location on Seventh Street. Tel. 510-644 2583 (Hat tip: Steve Taylor)

Berkeley Resole
Berkeley Resole: newly located

BERKELEY RESOLE Berkeley Resole, the shoe repair shop, has moved from the former Marmot Mountain Works building on Adeline to North Berkeley. The store, which offers repairs and custom work for climbing shoes, approach shoes, technical mountaineering boots, Birkenstocks and more, is now next to REI on San Pablo Avenue, said owner Tom Wandall. In addition to repairing various types of shoes, Berkeley Resole also fixes leather items like handbags, jackets and belts. The new store is at 1404 San Pablo Ave. (at Camelia St.).

The following items first appeared Friday in our latest Nosh “Bites” column and have been reprinted below for those who may have missed it.

Longbranch logoLONGBRANCH Longbranch, the New American restaurant and gastropub working to open in the old Sea Salt location at 2512 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley is making headway. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, kitchen outfitting is well underway, as are decorations, with custom-made wrought-iron chandeliers already hung. The business, which also calls itself the Longbranch Saloon, is aiming for a summer 2014 opening, and has already secured its liquor license. The business, from West Berkeley Center Partners LLC, has plans for 25 local brews on tap and 85 international bottled selections. Berkeleyside first wrote about the business, and the historic origin of its name, in April. Connect with the business on Facebook.

Sushi Secrets. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Sushi Secrets. Photo: Emilie Raguso

SUSHI SECRETS: SOFT OPENING Berkeley has a new casual sushi restaurant at 2110 Shattuck Ave. It opened Aug. 4 in what used to be Tea Leaf, a bubble tea and snack shop downtown. Sushi Secrets offers a range of rolls in the $8-$9 range, and also has refreshing drinks (the cantaloupe smoothie is a winner). The business is doing some creative things you may not find elsewhere: You can create your own “sushi burrito” for $8.99. And there’s also the “potted” tea and smoothie, which comes with a dollop of cream and ground Oreos on top. There’s a cute lounge area in the back, with a sofa and armchairs, for those looking for a comfy place to relax. The business is open from Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m. Connect with the business on Facebook.


Billiard balls. Photo: André R. Santos
Photo: André R. Santos

THALASSA SHAKE-UP Downtown Berkeley’s popular bar and billiard hall Thalassa, at 2367 Shattuck Ave., may be undergoing an ownership change. Readers have reported that the business plans to close in late September, and a staff member said she could not comment on the plans but did not deny them. We’ve had multiple reports that Thalassa lost its lease, but have been unable to confirm them. Stay tuned to Berkeleyside for details.

DOUGHNUT DOLLY IN BERKELEY We’ve told you before but we’re happy to tell you again: Oakland’s Doughnut Dolly has officially opened its second location, this time in West Berkeley’s Gilman District. The new doughnut shop is located at 1313 Ninth St., near Philz Coffee’s new location in the neighborhood. It opened Wednesday, Aug. 6. Connect with the business on Facebook.

Down to Earth. Photo: Ira Serkes
Photo: Ira Serkes

DOWN TO EARTH IN BERKELEY Berkeleyside has learned the name of the business — reportedly a family-run vegetarian affair, that plans to open in the former location of Chester’s Bayview and La Fable, at 1508 Walnut St. It’s called Down to Earth, and appears to be owned by Thrive LLC, which includes Cecilia and Michael Fikaris, along with Christina and Peter Stobing, according to the ABC. The business has a liquor license pending. (Hat tip: Ira Serkes)

MURACCI’S JAPANESE The third location of local food chain Muracci’s Japanese Curry & Grill is headed for Berkeley, according to SF Weekly. The business is owned by a husband and wife, who plan to open their new outpost on Telegraph Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus, according to the Weekly, which describes Muracci’s curry as “some of the thickest, creamiest and tastiest around.” The business hopes to open in August, and is planning to add lunch specials that appeal to students. Existing locations are in San Francisco’s Financial District, and in Los Altos on the peninsula. [Update: According to a Nosh reader, there’s a sign up at 2428 Telegraph Ave., between Channing Way and Haste Street, that Muracci’s will open there, at the former location of So Oishi, which was closed as of July.]

Image: The Pho Bar
Image: The Pho Bar

THE PHO BAR: CLOSED We can say for sure that Berkeley’s The Pho Bar, north of the UC Berkeley campus at 1828 Euclid Ave., has closed. The business reports it on its website, and thanks customers for their patronage. No further information was provided. The Vietnamese restaurant had been open since 2011, and had beentrying out a breakfast menu as of April. The restaurant hasn’t posted any social media updates since then, however, on Twitter or Facebook. We heard from a reader July 25 that the business was closed and the space appeared to be for lease. (Hat tip: Doug Ng)


RAMEN OUT, THAI IN Longtime Berkeley ramen shop Ryowa, at 2068 University Ave., appears to have closed as of at least July 25. Yelpers loved the gyoza and the atmosphere, but it seems it wasn’t enough to keep the business — which had been around since at least 2005 — going. It met with some rave reviews in its early days, but according to some reports, dropped off after an ownership change in 2006. In recent years, it didn’t quite measure up to what at least one local food blogger (over at Focus:Snap:Eat) was hoping to find. We’ve had a report that the business has closed (Hat tip: the bza), and Yelpers report the same thing. The phone number has been disconnected. Now for the good news. Via the state ABC licensing database, a Thai restaurant looks to be on track to fill the void. Imm Thai has applied for a beer and wine license to the state, which posted last week and is pending. Stay tuned for details.

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.