Tag Archives: Berkeley business news

Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Getaround
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GETAROUND LAUNCHES IN BERKELEY  Car-sharing service Getaround, described as Airbnb for cars, has just launched in Berkeley. A peer-to-peer car sharing company based in San Francisco, Getaround says it has been building up a community in Berkeley for the past few weeks and has had a great response. “We have close to 100 owners sharing their cars in Berkeley and Oakland and close to 10,000 renters,” said spokeswoman Hailley Griffis. Like Airbnb, Getaround works through its app: if you’re looking to use a car, you search for one nearby, enter your license and credit card numbers, and, once you’ve found it, book and unlock the car with your phone. (The car key will be waiting for you in the visor.) Sign-up is free, with no monthly or annual fees and all rentals include insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance. Typical charges might be $5.50 an hour for a 2008 Smart Car, $7 an hour for a 2014 Toyota Prius, or $20 an hour for a 2012 Model S Tesla. Cars are vetted before being accepted into the service, and renters can rate cars (the ability for car owners to rate renters is coming, said Griffis). Getaround says car owners make an average of $500/month sharing their car, and that the service will result in fewer cars on Berkeley streets, as studies have shown that each shared car takes 10-13 cars off the road. Visit Getaround’s website for details. Connect with them on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Inside the Addison Yoga Loft. Photo: Anna Volfes
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NEW: ADDISON YOGA LOFT Opening March 23, Addison Yoga Loft is the newest yoga studio to settle in West Berkeley. Sharing the same building with the new Highwire Coffee shop, which recently bought Local 123, Addison Yoga Loft will offer a variety of yoga classes from Ashtanga Flow to Prenatal. “I’m in love with the sense of community Berkeley has,” said owner Anna Volfe. “There is such a positive creative spirit in the city.” The Loft will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and it offers a new student intro package — three classes for $20 — as well as a free beginner yoga class at noon every first Saturday of the month. Addison Yoga Loft is at 2051 San Pablo Ave. (between University Avenue and Addison Street).
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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Sutter Health East Bay Medical Foundation opened a new clinic in 2500 Milvia St. on Jan. 26. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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NEW: SUTTER HEALTH BERKELEY CARE CENTER  Sutter Health opened a new clinic in the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center/Herrick campus on Jan. 26. The new center houses pediatric, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology departments, as well as lab services and some imaging, according to a Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation press release. The urgent-care clinic is also open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. Sutter Health Berkeley Care Center is at 2500 Milvia St. (at Dwight Way).Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Kaffa Ethiopian Restaurant. Photo: Kate Williams
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NEW: KAFFA ETHIOPIAN CUISINE Kaffa, the popular Ethiopian vendor who sells vegan food at the South Berkeley farmers market, now has a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Sacramento Street. Open Tuesday to Sunday, Kaffa has a short menu, selling nothing but a large, medium and small plate, and a side dish called sambusa. But in the very short time it has been open, Kaffa and its owner have received high marks on Yelp: “It’s as if you’re sitting down in her kitchen and she cooks you up a meal,” says Elli N. describing the experience of eating there. Kaffa Ethiopian Restaurant is at 2987 Sacramento St. (at Ashby Avenue).Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Trivia night at the newly opened Daiily Pint. Photo: Daily Pint
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DAILY PINT New gastropub Daily Pint is now up and running on Euclid Avenue in the space that used to house The Pho Bar (as tipped by us in October). The menu is heavy on gourmet sausages (co-owner Jonathan Chu also owns a sausage shop franchise in San Francisco called What’s Up Dog, according to his LinkekIn page), and burgers, as well as a selection of appetizers and salads. Monday night is trivia night at Daily Pint with $3 nachos and prizes for the winning teams. Reader Kristin Nolan is already a fan, writing: “They have a great bar and food menu that is good quality and a great value.”  Daily Pint is at 1828 Euclid Ave. (between Ridge and Hearst). Connect with them on Facebook.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Himalayan curry by Nancy Rubin
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NEW: HIMALAYAN TANDOORI AND CURRY HOUSE Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House had a grand opening buffet on Feb. 2 in the space that used to be Everest Café on Solano Avenue. Former patrons of Everest Café, and other friends in the community, were invited in for a free meal. Says manager Umesh Manandhar: “The restaurant serves authentic Nepalese and Indian cuisine. We hope that our friendly environment will be a place in the community for neighbors to come for tea or a delicious meal. All the pumpkin that we serve here is from our farm in Sebastopol and we are trying to grow most of the vegetables from the same farm. We also serve some vegan meals. Our main objective is to serve healthy food with friendly service.” Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House  is at 1645 Solano Ave., Berkeley. [By Nancy Rubin] … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Biryani House on University and Shattuck has closed its doors for good. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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CLOSED: BIRYANI HOUSE A few bereaved Berkeleyside readers have asked what happened to the popular Indian restaurant at 2011 Shattuck Ave. While some hoped Biryani House was just temporarily closed for renovations, the bad news is that it is gone for good, according to Shifra Benedictis-Kessner, the marketing manager at the Downtown Berkeley Association. The property was sold last year to a new owner, then leased to co-working company WeWork, which started opening floors of office space there in January. [Read Berkeleyside’s story on WeWork.] … Continue reading »

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WeWork opens office space to downtown Berkeley

WeWork's office building in downtown Berkeley with newly painted murals by xxx. Photo: William Newton
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WeWork, which has been called the country’s leading co-working company and is expanding globally at a rapid rate, according to the business press, has opened in downtown Berkeley.

Monday, Feb. 2, the company opened a new raft of offices on the seventh floor of the building at 2120 University Ave. (at Shattuck Avenue). This followed the launch of two other floors, on the fifth and sixth stories, in early January. And passers-by won’t have failed to notice the vibrant murals that have appeared on two façades of the structure. They were created by New York-based artist Jason Woodside.

WeWork plans to roll out three more floors of space by June 1, at which point there will be 45,000 square feet of office space potentially housing about 600 people in the six-story building, said Aja Anderson, WeWork Berkeley‘s community manager. As a result, it has fast become the city’s largest co-working facility. … Continue reading »

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Comedian W. Kamau Bell reports being victim of racism at Berkeley’s Elmwood Café

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By Tracey Taylor and Frances Dinkelspiel

UPDATE: 1.30.15: The Elmwood Café posted on its Facebook page around noon that it has fired the employee who made the unacceptable remark.

UPDATE, 1.29.15, 6:40 p.m.: Bell posted on his Facebook page at 4:48 p.m that he spoke to Pearce after this article was published. He wrote: “My wife & I just talked to Michael Pearce, the owner of Elmwood Cafe, & we’ve decided to have a public conversation about this. Details soon.” On its Facebook page, the Elmwood Café appears to have deleted its first post in which it expressed how horrified it was (see a screen-grab captured by Berkeleyside). At 5:31 p.m., it posted the following: “We have reached out [sic] Mr. Kamau Bell and expressed to him how truly sorry we are. He and his wife have graciously accepted our invitation to have an open dialogue about the incident, and what steps can be taken. This conversation will be forthcoming and transparent and public as to what went wrong, and what actions we take to rectify what happened.”

ORIGINAL STORY: A popular African American comedian took to the Internet on Thursday to complain that an employee of the Elmwood Café on College Avenue told him to “scram,” or words to that effect, Monday while he was talking to his white wife and her friends at one of its outdoor tables.

W. Kamau Bell, who performs regularly in Bay Area comedy clubs, said he was shocked when the employee tapped on the window from inside the café and indicated that he should leave the area. The employee apparently thought Bell might be trying to sell something. Bell said he was dressed in a dark Oaklandish-brand hoodie at the time.

“It is the definition of prejudice,” Bell, a Berkeley resident, said. “They looked at me, they judged me against other people, an idea they had in their head about what a person like me is going to do, and then they acted in stupidity and ignorance.” … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

OKC North provides an intimate setting for Berkeley's kettleball enthusiasts. Photo: OKC North
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NEW: OKC NORTH Replacing the old Juno Fitness at 3007 Sacramento St., OKC North has been the go-to place for all kettlebell-related fitness since it opened last August. Popular in Russia and Eastern Europe, kettlebell exercises revolve around lifting cannonball-like weights — they can weigh up to 70 pounds — as fast as possible. In addition to hosting kettlebell tournaments for national and international weightlifters, OKC North provides boot camps and private training for as little as $135/month. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Berkeley Public. Photo: Ted Friedman
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NEW: BERKELEY PUBLIC FOOD AND BILLIARDS It has only been a couple months since Thalassa closed, Nov. 9, but now the owners of the beloved bar and billiards spot have opened Berkeley Public Food and Billiards on Durant Avenue, next to Smoke’s Poutinerie. For the time being, Berkeley Public does not sell alcohol —  there’s root beer and soda, along with bar food like burgers, pulled-pork sandwiches and mac n’ cheese. But the plan is that Berkeley Public will expand into a 2-story business next month, to include a German-inspired beer hall called Taphaus. The plan is to sell craft beer and liquor downstairs. When Taphaus opens, the upstairs Berkeley Public will close temporarily for further renovations, including the construction of an indoor stairwell to connect the two floors, according to Berkeley Public employee Kevin Shea. Berkeley Public is at 2518 Durant Ave.Continue reading »

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Solano Avenue: The pressure is on for North Berkeley shopping district to up its game

The Oaks on Solano, as of September 2014. Photo: Mary Flaherty
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When French-style bakery La Farine abruptly closed up shop on Berkeley’s Solano Avenue this summer, there was an outcry from local residents. Its departure also created another empty storefront on a street that has its fair share of them, particularly in its easternmost stretch, near The Alameda.

But La Farine owner Jeff Dodge said he misses the North Berkeley commercial district and is actively looking for a way to return there. And Gina Gould, the landlord of the building Dodge vacated, at 1820 Solano, said she’s confident she will sign up a new, likely food-related, business for the space before Christmas.

The new store will join a cluster of new businesses that have opened, or are about to, on the wide shopping street that stretches 2 miles east to west through Albany and Berkeley.

Will they bring new energy to a street that is known for its gigantic annual Solano Stroll event, but which, unlike Berkeley’s Elmwood or Gourmet Ghetto neighborhoods, retains a slightly folksy feel? … 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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