Category Archives: Local business
Great China, the popular downtown Berkeley restaurant that was shuttered by a fire in January 2012, will soon reopen in a smart, newly designed location with 50% more space. The core culinary offering remains the same, but there are some additions to the menu, including more desserts, and, the owners say, customers will see improved service.
“We’re really excited to get back to serving our loyal Berkeley customers again,” said Tai Yu, who, with his brother James Yu and father Ching Yu, own and run Great China.
The Yus hope they will be able to throw open the doors at 2190 Bancroft Way on Friday or Saturday this week (the restaurant used to be a 2115 Kittredge, now home to Arabica). After nearly two years of planning and construction work, all that remains are final city inspections. … Continue reading »
A San Francisco family that has owned a block of stores on Shattuck Avenue and Berkeley Way since 1950 is planning to build a 120-foot tall apartment complex that will cater to empty nesters and families.
The Nasser family, whose ancestor, Abraham Nasser, built the Castro Theater in San Francisco and was instrumental in popularizing Nickelodeon theaters, will submit an application to Berkeley on Dec. 19, according to Jim Novosel, whose firm, The Bay Architects, is designing the project. Novosel’s group will hold a public hearing on the complex Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Bistro Liaison, 1849 Shattuck Ave.
The 12-story, mixed-use development at 1951-1975 Shattuck Ave. will have 78 apartments of 1,200 to 1,600 square feet on 10 floors, and retail space on two floors, said Novosel. The complex will be set back along Shattuck Avenue to create a plaza, and will be set back 14-17 feet along Berkeley Way as well. … Continue reading »
A rumor circulating among those following the path of a proposed Walgreens on upper Solano Avenue that Berkeley architect Charles Kahn is no longer with the project is true. But extrapolations that this means efforts to build the store are in trouble are far from accurate, Khan said.
“Oh no, they’re full steam ahead,” said Kahn, who designed a building for the proposed project at the corner of Solano and Colusa avenues, the current site of a 76 gas station.
Confusion around Kahn’s role is just one of many emotive issues swirling around the controversial project, which is igniting strong opposition, including a Keep Walgreens Off Solano moveon.org petition with 1,401 signatures. … Continue reading »
For the past two months, there has been no construction at the site of the new Safeway store at College and Claremont avenues on the Oakland-Berkeley border.
The Pleasanton-based company halted work on the project after Oakland stopped processing its building permit. Oakland took that step because Safeway had violated its 2012 agreement with neighborhood groups to discuss major design changes before submitting a permit application to the city. … Continue reading »
SOUTH BERKELEY PRODUCE AND MEAT Nagi Homran has just opened this new grocery and meat store at 3120 Sacramento St. (at 67th) — in the space where Recycle Bicycle used to be before it closed last year. The shop specializes in Middle Eastern foods, including Halal meats. Homran said it’s his first store in Berkeley and he chose the location as he lives in the neighborhood. The shop has two storefronts, so there is a lot of space for the well-stocked shelves. Opening hours are 8 a.m to 8 p.m. Tel: 510-705-1733. (Read more on Berkeleyside about recent business activity on Sacramento Street.) … Continue reading »
Saturday was Small Business Saturday. To get the word out, Looking Glass Photo & Camera held their second annual ‘Local on the Hunt’ photography scavenger tour . Berkeleyside contributing photographer Pete Rosos set out to participate with his daughter Coco and son Teo in tow. Here are the results (read the captions to see what challenge led to the creation of the image.) All are visual reminders that our local merchants are wonderful places to visit year-round, not just in the gift-buying season. … Continue reading »
A new for-profit thrift store opened its doors on University Avenue on Thursday in a ceremony filled with balloons and music – but already burdened with the job of doing damage control with its neighbors.
Savers Thrift Store opened at 1414 University Ave., the former site of Andronico’s, on the heels of a lawsuit that gave the building’s owners exclusive rights to the adjacent parking lot, which had once been shared by neighboring businesses. The decision to only allow Savers customers to use the lot prompted nearby residents to threaten to boycott Savers.
“We’ve always wanted a store in Berkeley because our stores do best with a very broad demographic,” Savers president and CEO Ken Alterman said at the ribbon-cutting. … Continue reading »
Bettina Limaco created Green11: The Refill Place in 2010 to provide an alternative to single-use plastic containers. She plans to open a new store in a shipping container at 3017 Sacramento, north of Tyler Street, along with a distribution center in a second container. Customers will be able to bring their own containers into the shop to refill them with a range of environmentally and health conscious products, from shampoo and dish soap to laundry detergent. Limaco, 41, already has two outposts in San Francisco, where she lives.
Limaco and her husband, Marco Pietschmann, and their 3-year-old son, plan to move to Berkeley when they open the new branch. They intend to live in a house on the same lot, and Limaco plans to rent out space in “Green11 Village” to perhaps five small food businesses or retailers. A publicly accessible roof deck is planned on the second story. She aims to keep it local, she said, with independent businesses as tenants rather than corporate chains.
Limaco, who grew up in the Bay Area and the Philippines, came out of the corporate world to launch Green11. Previously, she said, she worked in finance for Gillette, in Boston, and later Clorox, in Oakland. Those experiences gave her an awareness of the economics of the industry. … Continue reading »
Devotees of Jodie’s Restaurant in Albany are rallying together to try to save the tiny, long-standing eating house after a recent decision by the county health department to require the business to make major infrastructure improvements, or else.
The family-owned business, in operation since 1989, operates out of a diminutive storefront at 902 Masonic Ave., just south of Solano Avenue west of the BART tracks. (One customer said he measured it at just 200 square feet.)
The improvements aren’t about food safety; Jodie’s recently received high marks from Alameda County during its health permit inspection. But the infrastructure around the business is an aging building that needs updates in everything from floor and ceiling finishes to the ventilation system. And then there’s the sink: Though Jodie’s has a mop sink, a dishwashing sink in the kitchen and a sink in the bathroom, county rules require an additional sink that’s dedicated solely to hand washing. … Continue reading »
When Peter Howard, the owner of Serendipity Books, died in March 2011, he left behind more than one million books crammed into his two-level store on University Avenue in Berkeley with the oak barrel hanging out front.
Howard’s collection of rare and antique books was considered one of the best in the country; he often sold books and manuscripts to places like the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley or the Lilly Library at Indiana University.
The collection included so many amazing items that Bonham’s held six different auctions of his holdings, selling off early editions of John Steinbeck, a broadside by James Joyce, many modern first editions, early baseball memorabilia — even poet Carl Sandburg’s guitar.
But there are still books left to sell. More than 100,000 books, in fact. … Continue reading »
UC PRESS After 30 years at 2120 Berkeley Way near Shattuck Avenue, the University of California Press is moving this spring to a new location near Lake Merritt in Oakland. One of the reasons for the move is that upcoming construction on the Acheson Commons development will be disruptive, according to Alison Mudditt, the press’s director. The completed apartment complex will surround UC Press on three sides, and the building will “lose much of our existing natural light,” she said in a letter. The current building is also not large enough to handle UC Press’ projected growth. “There is no available Class A office space in Berkeley that meets our needs,” Mudditt wrote in a recent newsletter. UC Press plans to lease, not buy, the new space. … Continue reading »
The popular food truck event Off the Grid may be headed back to North Berkeley if a deal pending between the organization and BART is successful, officials announced Monday.
According to a statement released by Councilwoman Linda Maio’s office Monday, “An agreement with BART is developing to have food trucks at the North Berkeley BART called ‘Off the Grid.’” … Continue reading »