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  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    OUT: BRASA / IN: BRAZIL CAFÉ Brasa, the Peruvian restaurant at 1960 University Ave., next to Slow, is closing in late July. Brasa, which specializes in rotisserie chicken, opened in early 2012 after owners Christopher and Veronique Laramie closed their original restaurant in the same location, eVe, and re-opened as Brasa. A staffer at the restaurant said the owners have no immediate plans to open another restaurant, but that the concept is not dead, just “on hiatus.” The space has been snapped up by Brazil Café which will open a new brick-and-mortar spot there on Aug. 1. Brazil Café runs the popular food shack near the top of University. The vibe is relaxed and island-themed, decorated with hanging lanterns and a menu painted onto an old standing surfboard. It also plans to serve up the same much-loved sandwiches and salads — and of course its famous mango smoothies — as at its parent shack. (more…)

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  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    MORE TO DRINK IN THE DRINKS DISTRICT The San Francisco Chronicle named Chris Brockway A Winemaker to Watch in January and named his 2009 Broc Cellars Vine Star California Red one of the top wines of 2011. Now Brockway is opening a tasting room at Broc Cellars at 805 Camelia St. on weekends from noon to 5 p.m. Its official opening is July 22, but Brockway will do a soft launch this weekend. Wine lovers can visit the other wineries in the drinks district, too. Donkey & Goat’s tasting room is open from 2 to 6 pm weekends at 1340 Fifth St. And Urbano Cellars Winery’s tasting room at 2323B Fourth St. is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. (more…)

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  • Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

    DOWNTOWN LOCAVORE New, as of yesterday, to Center Street’s “restaurant row”: the Green Earth Café & Bakery, which offers a “Local Organic Vegan Ethical Sustainable (L.O.V.E.S.)” menu using the principles of macrobiotics. Owners Barbara Johnston-Brown and Ciren Zhuoga are serving salads, soups, sandwiches, wraps, unigiri, burritos, tacos, and desserts — including cookies, cakes, pies and puddings — with a focus on organic produce from local farmers and vendors. Johnston-Brown has run a catering company, teaches cooking classes for kids and adults, works as a private chef and has apprenticed as a pastry chef. Zhuoga, who is originally from Tibet, is cook and kitchen manager of Treasure Island Job Corps serving 1,100 meals three times per day. She has cooked at Manzanita Restaurant in Oakland where she specializes in weekend brunch menus. The café is at 2124 Center Street, next door to the Oasis Grill. (more…)

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  • Shop Talk: Design store in, one out; new Korean eatery

    TROVELESS After six years in Berkeley, interior design and home furnishings store Trove will shutter its two outlets at Gilman Village — but only once it has sold off all its inventory. Bargains are in order now with most items discounted 60-75%. Owner Diane Haydon says she plans to take up painting again.

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