Tag Archives: Berkeley dining

West Berkeley Philz Coffee: Now officially open

West Berkeley Philz on Gilman Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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West Berkeley’s Gilman Street commercial corridor is getting busy, with Whole Foods Market set to open in November, and a new Philz Coffee outlet officially opening today, July 29.

Philz, at 1313 Ninth St., held a soft opening celebration Monday, and gave away free cookies and coffee to attendees from noon to 4 p.m. It’s the second Philz location in Berkeley, joining the Shattuck Avenue Philz in the Gourmet Ghetto, which opened in 2010.

Philz founder Phil Jaber was in attendance Monday, along with his son, Philz CEO Jacob Jaber, and many other members of the Philz team. Dozens of friends, supporters and other community members stopped by for a sip and a bite, and to check out the new shop throughout the afternoon. … Continue reading »

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Nature’s Express closed; may re-open next week

Nature's Express on Solano Avenue is set to re-open Saturday. Photo: Nature's Express
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Popular North Berkeley restaurant Nature’s Express closed this week unexpectedly, with promises to re-open soon, leaving many nearby residents wondering what had taken place.

According to management, the vegan and vegetarian eatery at 1823 Solano Ave. has faced “abysmal” financial struggles and had to make changes, including staff reductions, to survive.

But former employees — many of whom quit in solidarity after several other staffers were let go — have launched a campaign to raise money as they look for new jobs, and to raise alarm bells about what they say are the negative business practices of new management. … Continue reading »

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‘Paleo diet’ restaurant to open in North Berkeley

Bobby Chang, Yrmis Barroeta, Karl Nielsen
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About five years ago, Yrmis Barroeta learned she had two auto-immune disorders. Her husband, Bobby Chang, was having some digestive issues. Meanwhile, his daughter’s energy would often crash before lunch.

“It’s not that we were sick, but we were not functioning right,” said Barroeta. “A friend of ours told us we have to read Robb Wolfe’s ‘The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet,’ and that opened up a whole world of exploration for us.”

It was no small thing, given that Chang is of Taiwanese descent and, to him, giving up rice was unthinkable. Growing up in Venezuela, Barroeta had long ago learned she was allergic to legumes.  Yet, within two weeks of eating the Paleo way, in which grains, gluten and soy are avoided, they were feeling better.

That world of exploration led the two former design-world refugees — they both realized they wanted to do something more meaningful with their lives — to launch Mission: Heirloom Garden Café, a business they hope will become a new fixture in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto when it opens in September. The name implies that it’s something worth passing down to future generations. And, while you are welcome to consider it a Paleo eatery, Barroeta says it’s much more than that. … Continue reading »

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Breaking: West Berkeley Whole Foods to open Nov. 4

An architectural rendering for the West Berkeley Whole Foods. Image: Field Paoli
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Whole Foods Market has announced the opening date for its new West Berkeley location on Gilman Street.

The 47,800-square-foot complex is scheduled to open on Gilman at 10th Street on Nov. 4, the company said Tuesday.

It’s the second Whole Foods location in Berkeley, and the 41st in the region. The company’s other Berkeley store is at Telegraph and Ashby avenues.

In addition to the 31,000-square-foot grocery store, the complex is slated to include a 1,666-square foot coffee roastery and 2,000 square feet of retail offices on site, according to project documents submitted earlier this year.

The grocery store, at 1025 Gilman, is expected to bring 180 to 200 new jobs to the area, said Jen Monaco, store team leader. … Continue reading »

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Popular biergarten poses challenges for neighbors

Before the World Cup final, about 40 people lined up to get into the Westbrae Biergarten. The beer and food spot has been more popular than expected and neighbors are worried about noise and parking. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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As the final match of the World Cup began Sunday, July 13, some 40 people stood patiently in an orderly line outside the new Westbrae Biergarten on the corner of Gilman and Curtis streets. A bouncer guarded the entrance to the beer garden, where patrons sat calmly watching the game on non-amplified screens.

The tranquil scene was a far cry from the whistles and whoops and massive crowds that were mainstays at the beer garden during the earlier World Cup games. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Townie opens, Sanctuary vegan spot coming

Townie has its soft opening in Berkeley tonight, July 18. Photo: Townie
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TOWNIE OPENS THIS EVENING IN BERKELEY This just in: Beginning at 5 p.m. today, July 18, University Avenue’s newest neighborhood bar and restaurant, Townie, will have its soft opening. Owner and manager Nima Shokat said there will be a limited menu available, along with alcohol, which will be served until midnight or until the business runs out. Heading up the kitchen at Townie is chef Dana Ryan, who formerly worked at Gather, State Bird Provisions and RN74. Said Shokat, who has run Berkeley’s Missouri Lounge for years: “We’re hoping to be a neighborhood bar where people can just come by for a drink and hang out, but also get some exciting food.” Townie is located at 1799 University Ave. in Berkeley, where Venezia used to be located until it closed last year. Connect with Townie on Facebook. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Berkeley restaurant has been approved: Let it open

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I am a homeowner on Russell Street just below College, and thus an Elmwood resident. A year ago, I heard that the owners of Comal on Shattuck Avenue were proposing a restaurant for the old Wright’s Garage space on Ashby and I was thrilled. It sounded like just the ticket to round out the dining options in our little neighborhood. Finally, we would have an upscale spot with a nice atmosphere and a small bar space — just what … Continue reading »

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Best burgers in the East Bay: Nosh readers call it

Burgers from TrueBurger on Grand Avenue in Oakland, which got the most votes among Noshers
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A while ago (OK, three months ago — what can we say? We got busy reporting other news), we asked readers who makes the best burger in the East Bay? The answers came in thick and fast: juicy grass-fed beef burgers oozing with cheese and bacon, nutritious veggie sliders accompanied by garlicky french fries, gourmet gluten-free or straight-up regular — there was no shortage of favorites.

The votes were scattered over nearly 50 burger purveyors, and there was little wiggle-room between the total tallies for each restaurant, which just goes to show how spoilt we are in the East Bay when it comes to that all-important decision: where to grab a superior burger right now.

So, with the understanding that this was a totally unscientific poll, and that everyone was a winner, we give you the most popular burgers as voted by Noshers — and we’ve also created a nifty interactive map with details about each spot, so you know where to head to try local favorites. … Continue reading »

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Domino’s wins approval to open in South Berkeley

A simulation of the façade planned for a Domino's Pizza shop that's coming to Adeline Street in South Berkeley. Image: Acute Consulting
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A new Domino’s Pizza shop promising artisan options and a place for customers to watch pizzas being crafted won approval Tuesday night from the Berkeley City Council to open in South Berkeley after a lengthy battle with some of its neighbors.

Owners of the family-run pizza franchise have been trying to open at 3264 Adeline St. since late 2013, but have faced multiple appeals by opponents. City staff initially approved the application in January, but it was appealed by Houshmand Ghaderi, who owns The Vault Cafe, nearby at 3250 Adeline.

Ghaderi took issue with a parking waiver granted by the city to Domino’s and said he didn’t think the corporate chain would be a good fit with the neighborhood, which has been on the upswing in recent years.

The city Zoning Adjustments Board approved the Domino’s application unanimously in April, but Ghaderi again appealed. His appeal was rejected by the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night.  … Continue reading »

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Burmese deliciousness at Rangoon Super Stars

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Most of us in the East Bay have a Burma Superstar story. Usually: a long wait, followed by a good or even memorable meal in a crowded dining room. A first taste of tea leaf salad. An exploration of flavors and textures surprising to a palate primed for sweet Thai dishes or numbing Sichuan flavor. But Burma Superstar is no longer the only game in town. Back in September, U Win Aye, the former executive chef of Rangoon Ruby and Burma Superstar, opened his first restaurant on a stark block of Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. Called what seems to be a portmanteau of his previous gigs, Rangoon Super Stars, the friendly restaurant is a fine antidote to all of those lines further down the road. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s soft scoop spot Sketch to close for good

Sketch soft serve cacao nib ice cream with olive oil and sea salt. Photo: lelseyk
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It’s the end of the road for Sketch. The popular soft-serve ice cream shop on Berkeley’s Fourth Street will close its doors for good on Sunday, July 6.

Eric Shelton, co-owner of the store with his wife Ruthie Planar-Shelton, said the reason is purely personal. “It’s a decision we have made as a family,” he said. “We don’t want to sacrifice more time spent with our daughter and any other kids we may have down the road.”

The couple, who both have a fine dining culinary background, opened the current store, their second, at 2080 Fourth St. in the Fourth & U complex two years ago. They opened the original Sketch two blocks north of their current location, also on Fourth Street, in 2004 when Planar-Shelton was pregnant with their daughter Audrey. That store, with its vintage cart outside, was open for five years before the pair closed it in 2009, citing similar reasons to the ones they expressed this week: a desire to put family first. At the time, the store was one of the first small-batch, organic ice cream purveyors in the area. … Continue reading »

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Fivetenburger owner opens Handlebar in Berkeley

Robles poses in his new kitchen. Photo: Charles Siler
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Fans of food truck favorite Fivetenburger rejoice: mustachioed restauranteur Roland Robles’ new project Handlebar opened last night at 984 University Ave., between 9th and 10th streets, in West Berkeley.

Robles, who is the owner and head chef of Fivetenburger, opened the restaurant, which is licensed as a full bar, with his partner Jennifer Seidman. Seidman owns Acme Bar & Company at 2115 San Pablo Ave, a half mile away.

“We want it to feel like a bar,” said Robles. “We want you to have a good time here.” … Continue reading »

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Bites: Townie, Coloso Coffee, Plum, Standard Fare

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Openings, closings…

TOWNIE Mystery surrounds the new restaurant and bar that’s planning on opening in the old Caffe Venezia space at 1799 University Ave. Our attempts to reach the people behind Townie, who have owned a business in Berkeley before, have proved unsuccessful. A confident sign proclaiming its name went up recently, but details about what Townie might offer are scant. So we’re throwing it out there: what do you know? Do you know the owners behind it? Tell them to give us a call. We have had several emails over the past few weeks from readers eager to know more. Caffe Venezia, you will recall, shuttered early last year after serving a loyal customer base for more than 33 years. Then, in March 2013, Joel DiGiorgio (who’s behind East Bay Spice Companytold us of his plans to open a “Californian crafthouse” restaurant named Monarch Trading Company which was also to have included an arcade/vintage games room. That didn’t pan out. So: Townie — what’s it all about? … Continue reading »

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