Author Archives: Tracey Taylor

Bites: Iron Pan, The Branch Line, La Marcha, more

Gather Restaurant is celebrating its fifth birthday with a special menu that will benefit . Photo- Gather
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Openings, closings…

ÑORA SPANISH CUISINE TO BERKELEY A popular pop-up and catering operation featuring Spanish food looks like it’s aiming to open a new shop in Berkeley at San Pablo and University avenues. The folks behind Ñora Spanish Cuisine, which has previously popped up at La Peña Cultural Center for special events, are seeking an on-sale beer and wine license in the former Tomo’s Japanese location at 2026 San Pablo under the name of La Marcha. (Tomo’s closed earlier this year.) Sergio Monleon and Emily Sarlatte are listed as La Marcha’s officers, as per the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC. Berkeleyside will find out more and report back. La Marcha is set to open at 2026 San Pablo Ave., in Berkeley. Connect with Ñora on Facebook and on its website.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

85C Bakery Cafe opening in San Diego
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LONGBRANCH SALOON San Pablo Avenue’s Longbranch is now open, according to tipster Amanda Fox. The restaurant, which took over the old Sea Salt location, describes itself as a “New American Restaurant/Gastro Pub.” It serves a range of comfort-food-style dishes and has an extensive list of beers, whiskeys and cocktails. Some dishes have a distinctly British-sounding spin, including potted pork trotter, the goat cheese and leek tart, and bangers and mash. Also on the menu: toasted farro and roasted cauliflower salad, pan-seared black cod and bone-in ribeye with béarnaise sauce. Longbranch is located at 2512 San Pablo Ave. (at Dwight Way) in Berkeley. Connect with the business on Facebook.Continue reading »

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‘Occupy The Farm’ tells tale of local food activism

Occupy the Farm protestors on the Gill Tract. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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A newly released film, Occupy The Farm, tells the story of the occupation by activists of a piece of UC Berkeley-owned land in Albany, which began in April 2012 and continued on and off for nearly a year.

The protesters planted carrot, broccoli and corn seedlings on the 77-acre Gill Tract and questioned the stewardship of what they described as publicly owned urban farmland. UC Berkeley sent in police and issued a lawsuit before the activists eventually left. … Continue reading »

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Community

Andy Samberg, Lonely Island, return to Berkeley High

Lonely Island pose next to the utility box painted with their portrait outside Berkeley High School on xxx. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Berkeley High alumni Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer (aka, comedy group The Lonely Island) returned to Berkeley High School a week ago Sunday to shoot footage for a project that aims to chronicle their lives in Berkeley.

The three TV personalities, who met at Willard Middle School and moved on to Berkeley High in the 1990s, worked together on Saturday Night Live for eight years.

After they left SNL, Samberg made several movies and is currently starring in the award-winning show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, now in its second season. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Independent news site Berkeleyside recognized for journalism excellence for the second year running

Team at Uncharted close up Photo Pete Rosos
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At an awards ceremony last night at the San Francisco City Club, the organization announced Berkeleyside as the winner of the Community Journalism (print/text) category in its 2014 Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The judges said they chose Berkeleyside for the “range, depth and innovation reflected in its coverage of Berkeley.”

“The site provides residents with news as it is happening, plus comprehensive, timely stories about important issues in the community,” they said.

Four stories published by Berkeleyside were cited as exemplifying what the judges described as Berkeleyside’s “laser focus on one community”:

When last year’s Rim Fire near Yosemite first threatened, and finally destroyed, Berkeley’s beloved Tuolumne camp, Berkeleyside was posting updates and photos as soon as information became available… “the site provided more detailed information about the fate of the camp than was available in other media,” wrote SPJ NorCal. Read that coverage, written by Tracey Taylor and others.Continue reading »

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Berkeley elections: Kriss Worthington retains District 7; nail-biting race continues in District 8

Counting ballots at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters in November 2014. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Election day may be nearly a week behind us, but votes are still being counted and the results of some Berkeley races are still being determined, including District 8 where Lori Droste is currently very narrowly ahead for that council seat.

Absentee ballots are still being processed and will likely continue through the week. The latest counts are posted to the Alameda County registrar of voters website around 5 p.m. daily. Under state law, Alameda County has until Dec. 2 to certify its election results.

Berkeleyside is keeping results updated daily on our main Election 2014 results post, and will continue do so so until all races have officially ended.

In District 7, incumbent Kriss Worthington has kept his seat on the council after Sean Barry, who was the only candidate running against him, conceded the race.

“I’d like to congratulate Kriss Worthington and thank my supporters. The outcome is clear even if the final tally is not,” Barry said today. … Continue reading »

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Events

Photos: Berkeley Half Marathon draws over 5,700 runners

Berkeley Half Marathon 2014-1 Photo William Newton
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More than 5,700 people participated in the second annual Berkeley Half Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 9. It was described by at least one observer as a mellow affair with a positive Berkeley vibe, as residents came out to support the participants, shouting things like, “welcome to the neighborhood!” as the runners darted past.

The woman’s half marathon was won by Berkeley resident Anna Bretan, 29, with a time of 1:16:12. Bretan, who is a nurse and mother of three, also won the 2013 Berkeley Half Marathon, and the 2013 and 2014 San Francisco Marathon.

The men’s half marathon was won by J.P. Slater, 23, of Pasadena with a time of 1:08:39. Slater, who graduated from UC Berkeley in May where he ran for both the cross-country and track-and-field teams, also won the 2013 Berkeley Half Marathon. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Stateside Bakery, The Growlers’ Arms, more

Stateside
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Openings, closings…

STATESIDE BAKERY Kate McEachern, founder of the popular Cupkates trucks (there are two of them), has just opened Stateside Bakery in the minuscule (as in 400 square feet) space next to the new Starbucks on Telegraph Avenue at Ashby, opposite Whole Foods in Berkeley. Stateside offers “all the childhood classics re-imagined with wholesome ingredients,” McEachern said — those desserts that can only be found stateside, from brands like Hostess and Little Debbie. The inspiration for her first brick-and-mortar spot, she said, came from her brother who recently had a child and was ruminating on how great it would be to be able to have his offspring experience the sweet treats he grew up with —but without all the additives and sub-par ingredients. “I thought, ‘I could make those — how hard can it be?'” said McEachern. Stateside opened very quietly this week — McEachern wanted to iron out any kinks before word got out — but at least one young customer is already a fan. Longfellow sixth grader Beatrix Shelton was on her way to Starbucks to do her homework when she was waylaid by one of Stateside’s Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Maldon Sea Salt. (We understand the homework was put on the back burner!) Also on the menu at the little shop: Madagascar vanilla Twinkies, housemade Oreos, oatmeal cream pies, and strawberry Pop-Tarts. McEachern said the space is so tiny it was destined to be an ATM vestibule. She and her team of four did all the build-out and navigated Berkeley’s permitting process themselves. McEachern reassured us that the two CupKates trucks will keep on rolling — they serve seven counties currently. Stateside Bakery is at 3001 Telegraph Ave., Suite E. Hours: Wed.-Sat. 11-6, Sund. 11-4, closed Monday and Tuesday. Connect with Stateside Bakery on Facebook.Continue reading »

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New book documents Berkeley’s New Deal legacy

WPA workers and EBRPD staff put finishing touches to the roof of the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park. This photo is one of the many published in Berkeley and the New Deal by Harvey Smith. Photo: EBRPD
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John Hinkel Park, Civic Center building, the Berkeley Rose Garden, much of Berkeley High School, Malcolm X school, the Brazilian Room Tilden Park — all these and many more projects came about because of the New Deal public works program.

A new book, Berkeley And The New Deal, by local author Harvey L. Smith, documents in words and more than 200 vintage images Berkeley’s 1930s and early 1940s New Deal structures and projects which have left us with a lasting legacy of utilitarian and beautiful infrastructure.

Smith will give a talk on his new book on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2-4 pm at the Berkeley Historical Society, 1931 Center St. Admission is free and wheelchair accessible. … Continue reading »

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Photos: Sports Basement preparing to open Nov. 11

Those are not stained glass windows, simply the sunset as seen from the interior of the new Sports Basement opening on Tuesday next week. Photo: courtesy Sports Basement
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Sports Basement will open in the former Berkeley Iceland location on Tuesday next week, 10 days later than originally forecast. It will follow with a “Grandish Snowpening” on Saturday, Nov.15, when Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will officially cut the ribbon on the new retail store in the 71,862-square-foot building at 2727 Milvia St.

The historic ice­ skating rink has been renovated with the intent of preserving the look and feel of the original Berkeley Iceland. Structural updates include a new roof and floor, new walls on the north and south sides of the building, and the addition of 44 off­-street parking spaces and 64 off-­street bike parking spaces.

Read more about the work done to transform Berkeley Iceland into Sports Basement and the store’s plans for the community. … Continue reading »

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BUSD superintendent: ‘We have much more work to do’

berkeley high
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In response to unruly behavior on the Berkeley High campus Oct. 24, and the current absence of top leadership at the school, Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Donald Evans has asked the school’s former principal to take a more active role in the day-to-day running of the school, and has committed to having a new principal in place by July 1, 2015.

In an email sent to the Berkeley High community Tuesday, Evans said the problems that occurred on Rally Day at Berkeley High demonstrated that the district had “much more work to do.”

A Berkeley High staffer was sent to the hospital with a head injury sustained during what the school described as a mob scene involving an estimated 500 mostly junior and senior students “participating in hazing and bullying behavior,” chanting and throwing objects, including glass bottles after school let out on Friday Oct. 24. While trying to break up the mob, two additional staff members were hit. Fifteen students were found to be intoxicated and were suspended. … Continue reading »

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Exclusive: Local developer Hudson McDonald in contract to buy downtown Berkeley Post Office

Post Office by Darius Wekwerth
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After weeks of silence, Berkeley developer Hudson McDonald has acknowledged that it is the company that is negotiating with the USPS to buy the main Berkeley Post Office at 2000 Allston Way.

If successful, Hudson McDonald, which is best known for the construction of the Trader Joe’s building on University and MKL Jr. Way, said it plans to restore the 1914 building and develop the back for retail operations while offering the Post Office the opportunity of continuing to use the front lobby for postal services.

“There is a lot to be determined,” Chris Hudson, co-principal with Evan McDonald of the developer, said Tuesday. “But we want to preserve and restore the building, including retrofitting it, and we are having a conversation with the post office about them being tenant in the front part.” Currently about 80% of the building is empty.

Hudson said the Post Office had received several offers for the building but that Hudson McDonald was the only bidder in negotiation with USPS. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Cat Town Café, Boss Burgers, Zella’s soul food

Cat Town Cafe
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Openings, closings…

CAT TOWN CAFE A new café where cats reign has opened in Oakland in in the heart of the city’s historic Auto Row. Co-founded by Ann Dunn and Adam Myatt, Cat Town Café gives cat lovers the chance to grab a coffee and a bite in the company of feline friends, and also acts as a cat adoption center. “The café part is going to be completely self-contained within the larger property. You’ll walk in, get your goodies, then go in to the Cat Zone,” said Dunn, also the founder of Cat Town, a non-profit that has been rescuing at-risk shelter cats in partnership with Oakland Animal Services since 2011. The menu includes bagels from the Authentic Bagel Co., sandwiches from S+M Vegan, and coffee from Bicycle Coffee Company, as well as catnip tea, for people and cats. There’s also Cat Macaroons from Shades of Sugar and other treats from Oakland’s Kitchener Collective. Once in the Cat Zone, patrons can purchase dehydrated treats from RAWR, an Oakland-based raw cat food purveyor. Guests are welcome to walk-in to the Cat Zone for a free visit limited to 60 minutes, or, for a small donation, be able to guarantee entry via an online reservation system. It’s believed Cat Town Café is America’s first permanent cat café. The Cat Town Café is at 2869 Broadway, at 29th St. Opening hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday; the Cat Zone is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. More information can be found at Cat Town Café’s website. … Continue reading »

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