Tag Archives: Berkeley business news
RASA CAFFE Rasa Caffe, at 3140 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at Adeline), had its soft opening on Valentine’s Day and will be open intermittently between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. until its official opening on Saturday March 1. Owner Rasa Sun Mott said the soft opening was principally to thank the new business’s crowdsourced backers and the local community. Mott, an Oakland native and the son of two high-profile Black Panther activists, raised $16,252 on Kickstarter to help him open the new coffee shop. As we reported in October 2013, Bicycle Coffee is being served (sweet spiced coffee with nutmeg is a speciality), as well as chai from his own recipe, and a selection of locally sourced pastries. Rasa Caffe is in the former Alchemy Café space, next door to Firehouse Arts Collective with whom Mott intends to collaborate for events. The café will be featuring prints by artist Emory Douglas for its opening. … Continue reading »
YOLO BERRY YOGURT Yolo Berry Yogurt is moving into the old AT&T spot at 2114 Shattuck Ave. — because there is clearly no such thing as too many fro-yo places in a college town, particularly if you’re going to be situated close to a giant open-campus high school, right? Yolo Berry Yogurt, which follows the formula of offering self-serve yogurt with your choice of toppings — was founded by Lee Pflugrath in Davis and this will be the second site for the company.
BERKELEY BIOLABS Berkeley BioLabs, a “hackubator” focused on the development of new biotechnologies, therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices, has opened up at 600 Bancroft Way, almost on the bay in West Berkeley. The small bio-hacker/incubator space has around 10 benches for proto companies and individual scientists who want to get to their proof of concept quickly. Berkeley BioLabs also offers scientific and business mentoring. The company is currently accepting applications from scientists interested in “accelerating the pace of innovation in medicine through collaborative co-working in a shared biotech lab space.” For details, visit the Berkeley BioLabs website. … 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 »
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 »
NATURE’S EXPRESS CLOSING Nature’s Express at 1823 Solano is closing Dec 31 after four years on the Berkeley street. The healthy/vegan fast-food business failed, according to owner Carl Myers, who wrote a long note on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “When ventures fail, it comes down to leadership, so I am painfully aware that the failure has been mine,” he wrote. “I apologize to the employees who have put heart and soul into this venture and the customers who have supported us for our failure to serve them in the future.” Ironically, Myers also salutes McDonald’s who, he writes, “do a lot of things right,” including customer service, locations and advertising. Judging from the response from many loyal customers on Facebook, it will be missed. [Hat tip: Kenneth Goldberg] … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board will tonight consider the application by the owners of Comal in downtown Berkeley to open a second restaurant in the old Wright’s Garage space at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College) in the Elmwood.
City planners are recommending that ZAB approve the proposal, which would entail granting an exception to the Elmwood quota system and agreeing to a midnight closing time on Fridays and Saturdays (an extension from 11:00 p.m.).
Many in the community support the plan, although there are also local residents who oppose it, principally on the grounds that it would cause parking headaches in the neighborhood.
Comal owners John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman envision that the yet-to-be-named spot would serve Northern Californian cuisine and have a full bar, including a menu of craft cocktails. The restaurant would be open for lunch and dinner. The atmosphere, energy and design would likely be similar to Comal, Paluska told Berkeleyside when we broke the news of the plan in June. … Continue reading »
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 (at Oxford) 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 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 »
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 »
Local businesses are hoping residents will spend their dollars at small stores in Berkeley. Why not think about visiting Solano Avenue, the Elmwood, Telegraph Avenue, the Lorin District, downtown Berkeley or Fourth Street before heading to Walnut Creek or Emeryville.
The Downtown Berkeley Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration is on Friday, Dec. 6 5:30-6:30pm at BART Plaza and includes family-friendly festivities, fresh baked goods from Paris Baguette, Almare Gelato’s famous hot chocolate, a visit from Santa Claus, and live holiday music by Berkeley Community Chamber Singers. All of which should get you in the mood for some heart-of-the-city shopping.
Many Berkeley businesses will participate in Small Business Saturday with its motto “Shop Small and Local.” The idea is to entice shoppers to purchase unique and unusual holiday gifts offered in locally owned stores rather than buy mass-produced goods offered by big-box and department stores. … Continue reading »
PHILZ COFFEE Philz Coffee is set to open a second Berkeley shop (its first is at 1600 Shattuck Ave. at Cedar) in the Gilman District Project at 9th and Gilman in West Berkeley that will also house Whole Foods and Office Depot. Matt Holmes from Retail West, who is working with the developers of the project, said they could have chosen any major coffee chain but decided to select “a more artisan and community minded tenant like Philz Coffee.” Philz, which has 14 Bay Area locations, is expanding following a multi-million dollar investment announced earlier this year. More businesses look likely to move in to the Gilman District Project. According to Holmes, they are still looking for a “unique chef-driven fast casual concept” for a 3,100 square foot space in the building, which used to be a bread factory. The new Philz Coffee will be at 1313 9th Street, Suite 110, near Gilman. … Continue reading »