Category Archives: Local business
Update 1/29: The general manager of the Claremont Resort sent out the following email Tuesday night confirming that a sale of the hotel is in progress:
“The Claremont’s owner has entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with FRHI (The Fairmont/Raffles Hotels International group) and their Capital Partners. It is expected that FRHI will complete the transaction on/about February 27, 2014. The Claremont will become a Fairmont managed property at that time.”
Sincerely, Bruce Carlton
Original story: A hotel chain that owns the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and many luxury resorts around the world will acquire the Claremont Hotel and Spa, according to internal Claremont Hotel communications and numerous employees.
FRHI Hotels and Resorts, a Toronto, Canada based chain owned by investors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will take complete possession of the resort by Feb. 28, according to the memo, which was obtained by Berkeleyside. FRHI (Fairmont Raffles Hotels International) also owns the Raffles chain, (the Raffles in Singapore is considered its flagship hotel) and the Swiss hotel chain, Swissôtel. … Continue reading »
Despite the fact that the Ming’s Chinese Food sign still hangs proudly above the small storefront on the corner of Alcatraz and Martin Luther King, it’s clear that the restaurant is no longer selling stir-fries. Instead of take-out menus and lucky fish tanks, there’s now an array of Mardi Gras beads and hot sauce bottles lining the windowsill. A precociously dressed mannequin stands watch at the door. And several sandwich board signs line the sidewalks up and down the block directing passers-by to the one and only Easy Creole, the über casual restaurant that has been serving informal Louisiana cuisine in the former Ming’s space since last spring. … Continue reading »
THE STATION It’s been a long time coming (we first tipped you about it in July 2012), but new burger and breakfast joint The Station (pictured above) opened on Saturday Jan. 18 in the former Viva Taqueria building at 2984 Russell St. (in the triangle where Russell, Claremont Avenue, and Claremont Boulevard meet) on southside. Sandy Boyd of Espresso Roma, Milano Café and the French Hotel, is the owner. Chef Gerald Blake is supervising the opening and has devised a simple menu which consists of a burger with optional extras, a hot dog, a grilled cheese sandwich, a veggie sandwich, and a mixed salad. Breakfast options include a scrambled-egg wrap, steel-cut oatmeal and pastries. To drink there’s Anchor Steam on tap among a beer selection, wine by the glass or carafe, house-made cold-pressed juices, smoothies and Espresso Roma coffee. Blake says the beef is sourced from Niman Ranch and the bread and buns from Starter Bakery. There was talk of collaborating with nearby Fournée for buns, but that didn’t work out. Blake said the plan is to source locally as much as possible. Boyd owns an organic farm in Carpinteria and some of the produce comes from there. So far, said Blake, the reception locally has been great. The pastor from the local church has dropped by and the staff have given out nearly 300 menus to passers-by. In its former lives, the spot has been a station on the Key Route line, a gas station, a hamburger joint, also called The Station, and a taqueria. The Station is open 7 a.m-8:30 p.m. … Continue reading »
Berkeley police are investigating the theft of four laptop computers on Monday from Tech Soft 3D at 931 Ashby Avenue near Seventh Street.
Police responded within 10 minutes to an alarm that went off around 6:47 a.m. on Jan. 20, but did not see any signs of forced entry, according to Officer Jennifer Coats, a spokesperson for the department. Around 10:17 a.m. an employee of the company called to say four computers were missing, said Coats.
Footage from Tech Soft’s security camera revealed these photos of an unidentified man in the company’s offices around the time the burglar alarm went off, according to Eric Smith, a senior network administrator. The company has shown them to the police, said Coats. (It looks like the time stamp for the camera was not readjusted to reflect the shift from Daylight Savings to Standard time.) … Continue reading »
By Granate Sosnoff
From the outside, 805 Camelia Street in Berkeley looks like a place where hobbits might duck in for a mug of ale. The front of the small building is covered with ivy and a wine barrel gives a clue to what is offered inside; but there’s hardly any indication of what century we’re in or that we aren’t in Middle-earth.
Sasha Verhage, winemaker at Eno Wines, has been making wine for more than a decade, first as an apprentice with mentor Tom Leaf of Crushpad fame, and then on his own since 2001, when he was offered extra grapes.
Among Verhage’s more noteworthy moments at the winery is when he met musical inspiration and namesake of the winery, Brian Eno, who stopped by in 2007 on his way to produce two records for indie band Coldplay. … Continue reading »
UPDATE, 01.17.14: About 50 people showed up to the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday and about half of them expressed their concerns about the proposed Walgreens on Solano Avenue. The commission discussed the issues but did not reach any conclusions. It asked Berkeley senior planner Alex Amoroso to come back to the commission having done further research. In particular, the commission wants direction of the definition of the word ‘drugstore,’ and questioned whether stores like Walgreens can be classified as department stores. It has not been decided when the issue will come back to the commission.
ORIGINAL STORY: Local residents who oppose a new Walgreens planned on the current site of a gas station at 1830 Solano Ave. (at Colusa) in Berkeley are hoping a potential new zoning amendment might derail the drugstore chain’s plans.
The city’s Planning Commission tonight will review a proposed 2011 zoning ordinance that would limit the number of new or expanded drugstores to within 1,000 feet of each other. The City Council had asked the commission to provide direction on the issue, and the proposal for a new Walgreens on Solano has brought the issue to the front burner. The commission could support the proposal as written, recommend revisions or changes, or decide against a recommendation, leaving the status quo. … Continue reading »
WEST BERKELEY FENCING CLUB The renovation of the former Freight & Salvage space at 1111 Addison St. (at San Pablo) is now complete and the West Berkeley Fencing Club has launched a new schedule of classes this month. The club, which was founded by Mark Headley, offers four full sized fencing strips and two coaching strips on a compressed bamboo floor, a stretching room with fitness equipment, as well as a lounge area with a big-screen TV showing, of course, fencing. [Disclosure: West Berkeley Fencing Club advertises on Berkeleyside -- and Berkeleyside readers can get 10% off their first month of classes. Click here for details.] … Continue reading »
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is planning to lay off 358 employees at its Berkeley and Oakland campuses and shutter its skilled nursing facility and infusion center.
The layoffs, which include 133 positions at the main Berkeley hospital on Ashby Avenue and 33 at its Herrick Hospital campus, will affect part- and full-time positions across the board, said Alta Bates Summit spokesperson Carolyn Kemp.
The cuts were initially intended to go into effect on Friday, after Alta Bates Summit gave the requisite 60-day notice in November, but the hospitals applied for an extension. “This is a slow process and it’s done very thoughtfully,” Kemp said. … Continue reading »
Longtime merchants in the city-owned Telegraph Channing parking garage mall have been locked in a dispute with the city for several months over what the merchants say are unfair rents and poor conditions exacerbated by years of neglect.
The merchants have been asking for rent reductions, and have told the city they do not believe a private management company should be hired to oversee mall operations. (The city began the process to investigate whether to hire a private manager last summer.)
In a report written by city staff in December, the city shifts the burden back onto merchants, noting the “declining market” for several businesses in the mall. While the report indicates a willingness to work with merchants who want to help themselves, there is also resistance to the need for broad changes for all: “There would be little value for the Telegraph area market or the City to renegotiate rents with businesses that are likely to fail because the market for their product is declining and they have no plan to reverse their situation.” … Continue reading »
For over 30 years, a slightly eccentric Berkeley tradition has been building: flocking to Pegasus Books on Shattuck or Solano to buy a calendar on New Year’s Day. Calendars are $3.99 or three for $10 (the sale continues until the stock runs out, but “the best ones” go on day one). Pegasus dubs it “the earth’s biggest calendar sale,” but whether that’s true or not, there’s ample evidence that Berkeleyans like physical calendars even in an era when most have calendars on their smartphone and computer. … Continue reading »
Ten years ago, Lodo “Lama” Rabten had vague dreams of owning his own restaurant, but the recent Nepalese immigrant knew only a few words of English and next to nothing about cooking. New to the Bay Area in 2002, he scored a job bussing tables at Fonda, foodie couple Haig and Cindy Krikorian’s upscale Mexican restaurant on Berkeley’s Solano Avenue. A hard worker with an intuitive eye for fresh produce, Lama quickly caught the attention of his bosses and began working his way up the restaurant ranks, first as produce shopper for the restaurateurs and, a few years later, as the manager at their 6th Street café, Jimmy Bean’s.
When the Krikorians began selling pieces of their small Berkeley empire – including T-Rex Barbecue and the now defunct Sea Salt – Lama was a natural successor. He bought Jimmy Bean’s at the beginning of September, changing the name to, what else, Lama Bean’s, but little else. … Continue reading »
Come along with Nosh as we explore the East Bay food scene in photographs. This week we focus on The Bleecker Street Bistro on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. Owner Jason Kwon, who bought the restaurant (formerly Ann’s Kitchen) at 2498 Telegraph, offers simple food done right at affordable prices he says he hopes will bring regulars in to dine on a frequent basis.
The airy, sunny space is a pleasant place to watch the street life on Telegraph, and the menu includes many items that will be a hit for diners on a budget. Many of the breakfast items, which include egg dishes, pancakes and breakfast bagels, cost less than $8. Lunch offerings include burgers, sandwiches, burritos and quesadillas, and are in the same price range. … Continue reading »