On University Avenue in downtown Berkeley: Ici ice cream opening; Townie closed

Ici is opening its second ice cream store in Berkeley. It will be at 2079 University Ave. downtown. Photo: Ici
Ici is opening its second ice cream store in Berkeley. It will be downtown at 2079 University Ave. Photo: Ici

Mary Canales, whose Ici ice cream store in the Elmwood is known for its near-permanent line of eager customers stretching down College Avenue, has chosen downtown Berkeley to open her second location.

The store will be at 2079 University Ave. next door to, and in the same redeveloped property as, Southern California-based quick-service spot Tender Greens, which opened in February. A sign on the doorway indicated Ici is hiring for its new location.

Canales honed her skills in several professional kitchens including nine years as pastry chef at Chez Panisse. She opened Ici at 2948 College Ave. in September 2006. The store sources ingredients from local farms and producers that employ organic and/or sustainable practices.

A spokesperson for Canales said downtown’s Ici is slated to open later this month.


Townie in Berkeley is closed. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Meanwhile, Townie, which opened in July 2014 in the former space occupied by the venerable Caffe Venezia restaurant, at 1799 University Ave., appears to have shuttered. Berkeleyside was unable to reach anyone from the restaurant for confirmation, but readers say the place has been closed up for a while, and the restaurant is reported as being permanently closed on both Yelp and Open Table. Townie has a open-plan, inviting dining room with community tables, reclaimed wood tabletops and a zinc-topped bar and offered a varied menu, ranging from bar snacks to lunch items, as well as an appealing cocktail selection. We will bring you more news when we can.