Category Archives: Local business

Bites: Red Bay Coffee Box, Agrodolce, Firebrand

Red Bay Coffee Box. Photo: Red Bay Coffee Roasters/Facebook
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Openings, closings

RED BAY COFFEE BOX NOW OPEN AT THE HIVE Close to a year after announcing it would be opening a café built out of a converted shipping container in Oakland’s Hive complex, Red Bay Coffee Roaster‘s “Coffee Box” is now open. In addition to coffee, we hear from East Bay Dish that the Coffee Box is offering baked goods from Oakland-based Tart Bakery. Funds for the café were raised through a successful $80,000 Kickstarter campaign last spring — the most successful coffee campaign ever on the crowdfunding site, according to Red Bay founder Keba Konte. But permitting issues delayed the opening of the café, despite the fact that Konte had finished construction on the container months ago. In the meantime, Red Bay launched several farmers market stands, including one at the downtown Berkeley market, added Uber as a client, and built out a new headquarters in a converted factory in Fruitvale. The Red Bay Coffee Box is at 2327 Broadway (between 23rd and 24th streets), Oakland. Connect with the coffee roasters on FacebookTwitter and InstagramContinue reading »

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Fire at former Sliderbar in downtown Berkeley

BFD responded to a fire at the former Sliderbar location 2124 Center St. Photo: Paul Kealoha-Blake
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The Berkeley Fire Department has responded to a fire on Center Street in downtown Berkeley that caused the evacuation of several buildings and is backing up traffic in the area.

The fire, reported at about 3:30 p.m., took place at 2124 Center St. between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street.

Donna McCracken, deputy fire chief, said the fire broke out in a wall at ground level in the commercial building.

Firefighters had been able to knock down the fire by putting water on it, but were having difficulty accessing its source due to the tight quarters.

Traffic was jammed up on Center between Shattuck and Oxford, McCracken said.

Firefighters remained on scene as of about 4:15 p.m. to make sure the fire had been extinguished. … Continue reading »

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Premier Cru lawsuit: Some customers to get refunds

Premier Cru on University Avenue.
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Six months after the wine store Premier Cru abruptly shut it doors, leaving thousands of customers without access to the wine they had purchased, relief may be on the way.

The bankruptcy trustee appointed to liquidate the wine company’s assets recently reached a settlement with a disgruntled patron that will allow many customers to recoup a portion of their investment — but only for pennies on the dollar.

The settlement affects about 4,800 customers but excludes another 2,300 or so who may not see any refunds. … Continue reading »

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Oxford Street parklet, Berkeley’s third, opens today

The Oxford Street parklet. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Berkeley’s third parklet, and downtown’s first, will officially open at 5 p.m. today. The outdoor seating area covers 2130 to 2136 Oxford Street in front of Sunny Side Café, East Bay Spice Company, Cinnaholic and Suya African-Caribbean Grill.

The Oxford Street parklet’s design was inspired by the west entrance to UC Berkeley, which is almost directly across the street. It has a concrete wall inspired by the classical buildings on campus adorned with metal cutouts of a Cal Bear, the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. “Our communal vision was to create a similar aesthetic, that of ornate cement and metalwork with an old world field,” Joel DiGiorgio, co-founder of Farm League Design and Management Group, told Nosh in an email. Farm League is the management company behind East Bay Spice Company.
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Triple Rock to open expanded brewpub in August

Triple Rock Brewery. Photo: Frank Farm/Flickr
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It’s been four years in the making, but Berkeley’s Triple Rock has finally set an opening timeline for its expanded dining, kitchen and beer production space on the 1900 block of Shattuck Avenue.

In 2012, we announced that the brewery had made plans to build a two-story building next door to the brewpub, which is currently located at 1920 Shattuck, and to expand the brewpubs operations across both buildings. Triple Rock is sharing the new building with a neighboring engineering firm.

We now hear from Triple Rock that the build out is nearly complete, and that the brewery expects to open the new addition mid-August in conjunction with the brewery’s 30th anniversary. … Continue reading »

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UberEATS launches in East Bay, joins crowded field

UberEATS
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UberEATS launched its food delivery service in the East Bay this week, having started in San Francisco three months ago.

The app-based service, which offers free food delivery from restaurants in Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Piedmont and Emeryville, joins a relatively crowded field. Competitors operating in the East Bay include Caviar, DoorDash, Munchery, PostMates and Eat24.

Restaurants listed on UberEATS include Duende, Calavera, Zachary’s Pizza, Doughnut Dolly’s, Rosamunde Sausage Grill and Trattoria La Siciliana. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Council approves alternative minimum wage measure for ballot

Many Berkeley business owners say they are still concerned about whether they would be able to survive a new minimum wage plan under consideration by the city. Photo: Postcard PR
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After a heated debate, the Berkeley City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday night to place a measure on the November ballot that would raise the minimum wage to $15 in 2019. A citizens’ ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage to $15 next year will also be on the ballot.

“What we’re proposing is a progressive and aggressive approach to getting to $15,” said Councilman Laurie Capitelli. “It gets us to $15 four years ahead of the SEIU state proposal.”

Councilman Jesse Arreguín scoffed at Capitelli’s description of the measure as “progressive,” saying that Berkeley had lagged behind neighboring cities on the minimum wage. That’s what had driven citizen groups to launch their initiative, he said.

“They didn’t have faith in this council majority to do the right thing,” Arreguín said. “The fact that we’ve got to the point of two competing measures on the ballot is a real failure of leadership by this council.”

The citizen initiative raises the minimum wage to $15 next year, and then increases it annually by CPI plus 3% until it reaches $16.37 in 2016 dollars (after that, increases are by CPI). It also mandates a minimum 72 hours of paid sick leave each year. It was organized by a coalition of unions, politicians and community activists, under the banner Berkeley for Working Families. The council measure is more gradual in its increases and mandates 48 hours of paid sick leave.  … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: Bodyrok, Hana Holistic, Tea 1 Berkeley

Hana Holistic
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BODYROK Fitness studios Bodyrok had their grand opening May 21 at 1601 University Ave. (at California). The studios, which offer stationary bikes and Pilates reformer machines, offer full body sculpt classes (using a blend of Pilates, cardio and weight training), and a variety of cycle classes. Bodyrok says its approach is to “take a traditional reformer workout and turns it up a notch by adding strength training exercises and high-energy music to keep the heart rate up the entire 40-minute class. Our method includes a greater variety of exercises, longer segments and quicker transitions, resulting in a more intense, sweat fueled, fast-paced Pilates workout.” Berkeley is Bodyrok’s fourth location as it has two in San Francisco and one in Carlsbad. Bodyrok is at 1601 University Ave. (at California). Connect with Bodyrok Fitness on Facebook. … Continue reading »

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How Quirky is Berkeley? Ace Hardware’s relocation

Quirky Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. on March 26th, 2016.
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When Berkeley Ace Hardware leaves 2145 University Ave., an era will end. The store closes for the last time in its current location today, Monday. Generation upon generation of Berkeleyans have known and loved Ace Hardware. As it prepares to move to the northwest corner of Milvia and Addison streets (the Tioga Building), I have composed a list of what I love about Berkeley Ace, aside of course from the merchandise. … Continue reading »

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Maker’s Common to ‘geek out’ on local producers

Cheese plates like this one will be served at Maker's Common. Photo courtesy: Maker's Common
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Sarah Dvorak, Oliver Dameron and Eric Miller weren’t thinking of Berkeley when they first began planning the expansion of Mission Cheese, their popular Valencia Street cheese and charcuterie bar. They expected to open their new spot — called Maker’s Common — somewhere in San Francisco.

But, as has been the case with other restaurants like Millennium, which relocated to Rockridge, and Pal’s Takeaway, which opened in Uptown Oakland, finding affordable space in San Francisco proved impossible. The three founders started looking further afield in the East Bay. And when they had a look at the large, light-filled space at 1954 University Ave., just east of MLK Jr. Way, in downtown Berkeley, they were sold.

With plenty of space to build out both a market and a restaurant, plus outdoor dining space and zoning permits already in place for beer and wine service to boot, the Rose Garden building was too good to pass up.

“When we first saw the space its layout just said ‘THIS IS IT!,'” wrote the founders on the company’s blog. “We all walked and and knew where the retail market would be and where the kitchen would go for the eatery. When we brought an architect in they said the exact same thing — we knew we were onto something.”

Plus, as Dameron says, “It’s a great time to come to Berkeley. There’s lots of change going on here.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High student saves the day after bee swarm lands on campus

Cole Huster shakes the bee swarm in order to have them drop in a bee box. Photo: Karen Kiyo
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Many Berkeley High students had their heads down concentrating on end-of-term exams when an intercom announcement from Principal Sam Pasarow broke the silence Friday afternoon. A swarm of bees had come onto the campus, he said. He asked that teachers close windows and students stay calm.

For BIHS freshman Cole Huster, the news held particular interest. Huster has been a beekeeper since he was in the 7th grade. Not only do he and his mother, Karen Lowhurst, maintain several hives in Lowhurst’s backyard, they also run an informal business, Locole North Berkeley Honey, selling the honey they harvest to friends and neighbors.

When he heard about the swarm, which had many students nervous, Huster said he thought, “Uh, I’m a beekeeper, I wonder if I can help out with this situation.”

After classes had ended, Huster made contact with BUSD maintenance engineer Akbar Shakoui who told him the district has a beekeeper on contract, and they were expecting him to deal with the situation once he could get to the campus. It turned out it wasn’t the first time a bee swarm had chosen to make Berkeley High its temporary home. Caution tape was placed around the swarm, which had settled in the branches of a tree about seven feet off the ground, according to Huster. … Continue reading »

Romeo’s Coffee headed to former Shakespeare & Co.

Romeo's Coffee will open in the former Shakespeare & Co. location at Telegraph Avenue and Dwight Way.  Photo: Ted Friedman
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After sitting vacant for close to a year, the former location of Telegraph Avenue bookstore Shakespeare & Co. will see new light. Highly caffeinated light, that is.

Starting in June, a new coffee shop — Romeo’s Coffee — will begin to take shape. Its name was serendipitous, said owner Dino Micheletti. He had already ironed out the concept, which revolves around “lovers of coffee,” before visiting the location with Ito Ripsteen, who is managing the remodel of the building at 2499 Telegraph. “I went to meet with him and looked up and saw the Shakespeare sign,” he said. “I said to him, ‘Do you know what our name is? It’s Romeo’s Coffee.'”  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley names iCANN as next cannabis dispensary

There was a full house at the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night for the selection of the city's fourth medical cannabis dispensary. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council unanimously named the iCANN Health Center on Sacramento Street as the city’s fourth medical cannabis dispensary.

In what was to many a surprise move, council also voted to have city staff and the Berkeley Planning Commission look at changing the law to increase the number of dispensaries in Berkeley from four to six. Officials said there were so many qualified applicants, which evidenced such a strong need, that an increase would make sense.

iCANN, which is focused on providing medical cannabis to seniors, was among six dispensaries to present applications to the city Tuesday. Their supporters also had a chance to lobby council during public comment.

Read complete Berkeleyside coverage of medical cannabis.

Several council members expressed strong support — if the law is changed to allow for more dispensaries — for an application from Amoeba Music’s owners to open the Berkeley Compassionate Care Collective on Telegraph Avenue next to the iconic record store.

The voters of Berkeley approved the idea of a fourth dispensary with Measure T in 2010.

(In the video below, iCANN supporters, including proprietor Sue Taylor on the right, react to the unanimous vote. Taylor, a Berkeley resident, sits on the board of the Alameda County Advisory Commission on Aging.)  … Continue reading »

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