OPENING: WE ROCK THE SPECTRUM An innovative new spot for kids on the autism spectrum is opening in West Berkeley this month. We Rock the Spectrum is described as a “full inclusion, full integration educational fitness camp and community resource center” that addresses children’s, parents’, caregivers’ and advocates’ wellness and health. Co-founder of the Berkeley branch Barbara Brodrick tells us the inspiration for the new venture was her 4-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum and has benefited enormously from intensive early intervention treatment. “We built this facility to have all the resources available to all families with different-abilities children, and a safe fun place for all children and families where we can all feel a sense of belonging, away from the isolated feeling most of us feel,” Brodrick said. We Rock the Spectrum is having its grand opening Saturday, Sept. 27, when kids can try out the facility’s trampoline, zip line and swings. There will also be face-painting, music and a raffle. Tickets are $12 per child, with 20% of the proceeds going to My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation. We Rock the Spectrum is at 2920 Seventh St. in Berkeley. Learn more at We Rock the Spectrum’s Berkeley website. Connect on Facebook.
COMING SOON: PURE BARRE A Pure Barre fitness studio (subhead “Lift, Tone, Burn”) is moving into 2055 Center St. in downtown Berkeley. Pure Barre classes promise to help participants sculpt arms, tone thighs, lift the seat and flatten abs. “We believe that everyone is capable of rocking our classes — no dance experience required,” the company writes on its website. “As long as you can hold a ballet barre, you can do Pure Barre. That’s not to say that it’s easy, your first class will likely feel challenging at times, but we encourage you to stick with it.” The studio will be at street level in the Berkeley Central apartment building, and is expected to open early in 2015, according to Gordon Commercial Real Estate Services, which closed the deal. Visit the Pure Barre website for more details.
CLOSED: SLOW RESTAURANT Slow restaurant at 1966 University Ave. in downtown Berkeley has closed. A sign on its door reads, “After four long years, Slow is taking a much-needed break.” It’s not clear whether this will be a permanent closure, or whether the popular spot will be back. Efforts to reach the owners to find out more had proved unsuccessful by press time. Slow was opened by Chef Kyle Anderson in the summer of 2010 and was an anchor tenant for the micro gourmet ghetto that has evolved on this stretch of University Avenue, which now includes Brazil Café and Bittersweet Café, all open to the rose garden and outdoor eating area to the rear created by commercial realtor John Gordon. Slow’s selection of rustic comfort fare using high-quality ingredients — think free-range chicken salad with golden raisins, toasted almonds and sorrel, or potato salad with radish, apple, caraway seed and whole grain mustard vinaigrette — proved a hit and the place was always jumping, at lunchtimes in particular. We will bring you more news when we have it. Connect with Slow on its Facebook page.
SOFT OPENED: CATAHOULA COFFEE The old Sketch soft-serve ice cream spot at 2080 Fourth St. in the Fourth & U complex on Berkeley’s Fourth Street is now coffee shop Catahoula’s Kaffeegarten. It’s the second location for the Richmond-based artisanal roaster, who is building out the space now — though it’s already open for business, “if you don’t mind a little construction dust,” as owner Timber Manhart puts it. Read more in Berkeleyside’s interview with Manhart.
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.