Tag Archives: Caffe Mediterraneum

Photos: Goodbye to Berkeley’s iconic Caffe Med

Last day at Caffe Med. Photo: Ted Friedman
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A crowd turned out Thursday evening for the send-off of Caffe Med, the storied Telegraph Avenue café that has seen more than its share of city history, is referred to as the “home of the latte,” and — famously — was featured in the movie The Graduate.

After six decades on Telegraph, Caffe Mediterraneum to use its full name, is now closed. Longtime owner Craig Becker has transferred the lease to a group of restaurateurs.

Read more about Caffe Med on Berkeleyside.

Becker spoke at Thursday’s event, which doubled as the Telegraph Avenue Business District’s holiday party, as did Berkeley’s newly sworn-in mayor, Jesse Arreguín.

Becker plans to hand over the keys to the café, which is at 2475 Telegraph, on Jan. 1 and, after an extensive renovation, the café is expected to reopen some time next year. It is not known whether the name, or any other aspect of the place, will be retained.

Contributing photographer Ted Friedman, a regular at Caffe Med, took the photographs published here. … Continue reading »

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Big changes for Telegraph Avenue dining scene

New Sequoia building Photo: Max Cherney
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By Arielle Gordon-Rowe and Kate Williams

Around 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2011, a devastating fire broke out at 2441 Haste St., the site of the Sequoia apartment building. The historic building, constructed in 1916, had been a home to not only dozens of Berkeley residents housed in the 39 apartment units, but also beloved restaurants Raleigh’s and Cafe Intermezzo. The fire left the building gutted and it was eventually torn down. A charred facade was left for years, a reminder of the building’s past, until this year, when a new Sequoia Building rose again.

Students now live in the new, 42-unit building, which is still owned by Kenneth and Greg Ent, and next year, those long-lost restaurants will reopen. When they do, the new Mezzo — formerly Café Intermezzo — and Raleigh’s will join a decidedly different crop of Southside restaurants, coffee shops and bars than those on the avenue in 2011, a crop that includes an ever-growing group of local and national chains in addition to smaller, homegrown eateries. … Continue reading »

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Caffe Med changing hands; last day will be Nov. 30

Caffe Mediterraneum in 2014. Photo: Ted Friedman
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After six decades on Telegraph Avenue, Caffe Mediterraneum will close — at least temporarily.

Longtime owner Craig Becker has transferred the lease of the iconic café, which is known, among many other things, as the home of the latte, to a group of restaurateurs. Its last day in its current incarnation will be Nov. 30. Becker will clean out the restaurant through the month of December and hand over the keys Jan. 1. After an extensive renovation, the café will reopen in 2017.

So far, it is unknown if the the new owners will keep the Caffe Mediterraneum name.

Read more about Caffe Med on Berkeleyside.

The lease transfer was a long time coming; Becker first listed the café in 2014, but it has taken this long to find the right people to take over, he said. “People had come by and wanted to lease it but they weren’t willing to do what we needed,” he said. “They wanted to do it halfway; we didn’t want that.”

What’s needed is a full kitchen remodel and the addition of wheelchair-accessible bathrooms. Other changes, Becker said, are still “undetermined,” and up to the new owners. Regardless, said Becker, “we’re really excited about the group.” … Continue reading »

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Man smashes windows during Telegraph Ave. arrest

Broken window in a police cruiser. Photo: Berkeley Police Department
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A man facing arrest on Telegraph Avenue smashed out the rear window of a police cruiser with his head after first breaking the glass door of a nearby business, authorities said.

According to police, 40-year-old Richard Warner of Oakland was reportedly inside a business in the 2400 block of Telegraph Avenue on Aug. 6 when he was asked to leave shortly before 10:40 a.m.

“He was loud and creating a disturbance,” said Berkeley Police Officer Jennifer Coats, department spokeswoman, via email. “As he left the business he stopped and punched the glass to the front door, breaking it.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s iconic Caffe Mediterraneum up for grabs

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Berkeley’s Caffe Mediterraneum — the coffee shop that claims to have served the world’s first latte, was at the heart of the city’s free-speech and beat movements, and at whose window table Dustin Hoffman famously sat for a scene in The Graduate —  is up for lease (with a sales component).

Owner Craig Becker said he will maintain ownership of the building, but is divesting himself of the business to pursue other interests.

“I’ve been doing this for almost eight years, and there are other things that I’d like to do,” he said at the coffee shop on Tuesday. “We grew the business fast and we’ve reached sort of a plateau.” … Continue reading »

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City parking garage fees up downtown, down on Telegraph

The Telegraph Channing garage will be free for the first hour beginning Dec. 2. Image: Google Maps
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Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council voted to change parking rates in three city-owned garages, downtown and near the Cal campus, as part of its goBerkeley effort to change driver behavior and make it easier for visitors to find street parking.

The multi-pronged campaign has been underway since earlier this year, and has included the promotion of alternative modes of transportation — via the distribution of car-sharing memberships and free transit passes — as well as adjustments to parking meter rates and time limits downtown, south of the UC Berkeley campus and in the Elmwood.

The pilot program aims to reduce pollution, congestion and drivers circling for a spot by using what’s known as demand-responsive pricing, which sets parking rates based on a supply-and-demand philosophy. The most convenient spots tend to be the most expensive and are available for shorter amounts of time, while spots further away, which are in less demand, are cheaper and can be used for longer periods. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley café owner recounts tip jar robbery with gun

Cafe Mediterraneum on Telegraph Avenue. Image: Google Maps
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A local coffee shop owner on Telegraph Avenue fought back after three teens with a gun tried to rob him in late September. The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged the young men with robbery this week.

According to court documents, Jeremiah Lee, Willie Smith and Markeise Prince — all three of Oakland — were loitering inside Caffé Mediterraneum, at 2475 Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, when Prince grabbed cash from the tip jar and tried to run away just before 11:40 p.m. on Sept. 28.

The café owner, 61-year-old Craig Becker, confronted Prince and tackled him, wrote police. A struggle ensued, and Lee began to punch Becker to try to free Prince, authorities said. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new on the East Bay food scene, XIII

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Bites is Berkeleyside Nosh’s round-up of restaurant and bar news in the East Bay. Bites is produced by Nosh in collaboration with Christina Mitchell, founder of East Bay Dish. To stay up-to-date, read our daily Nosh Wire, and check out previous editions of Bites.

Freshly served…

ASSEMBLE Assemble Restaurant has quietly opened for lunch service in the old Boilerhouse space at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond. Terumi Shibata-Mazzera (Downtown Restaurant, Trattoria Corso) and her husband Richard Mazzera (Cesar, Downtown Restaurant, Chez Panisse) are at the helm. They’re serving American cuisine with regional classics like a cheesesteak sandwich (roast beef, peppers, onions, melted house-made cheese whiz on an Acme torpedo roll served with house-made chips, $13), muffaletta (salami, ham, mortadella, provolone, mozzarella, olives, tomato and celery, served with potato salad, $11) and fish & chips (club soda batter, tartar sauce, served with cole slaw and house-made chips, $15). Dessert also looks promising with “Serena’s Solution” chocolate cake, served with salted caramel ice cream ($6) on the menu. There are beer, wine and cocktails. Dinner will be added in the next few weeks. 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond. 510-215-6025. Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s second Coffee & Tea Festival leaves a buzz

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The second annual Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival took place on Saturday morning at the Hotel Shattuck and, if you attended, you’re probably only now coming down from the caffeine- and sugar-induced buzz it induced.

Hundreds of people wandered the hotel’s elegant ballroom and exterior patio, sampling espresso drinks and fine teas, miniature bundt cakes, chocolate bites and gelato… not a bad way to spend a lazy weekend morning, many participants agreed.

The Coffee & Tea Festival was orchestrated by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and included a program of talks, and both coffee and tea ceremonies. Exhibitors included Berkeley Coffee & Tea, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Café V, Twenty Twenty Studios, Madecasse Chocolate, Genuto Gelato, Jade Chocolates, Five Mountains, Café Clem, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Tisano Tea. … Continue reading »

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Perk up at the Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival

Latte Art by Wikimedia Commons
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Sina Carroll is a committed tea enthusiast. She travels to China twice a year to source high-end tea from local farmers and sells a wide selection through her online store Red Circle Tea. Carroll has no employees and acts as the company’s owner, accountant, and buyer; her favorite part of the job, however, is teaching others about the craft of tea making.

“I love the process of steeping tea for others,” said Carroll. “I like to show people how easy, elegant, and fun it can be to make tea in this beautiful and traditional way. The look of wonder on their faces when they see this ritual is amazing.”

Carroll’s favorite place to share her enthusiasm and meet other tea connoisseurs is the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce’s Coffee and Tea Festival. The second annual festival, which will be held on Saturday, August 18th at Hotel Shattuck Plaza, will feature dozens of local coffee, tea, and dessert vendors. Along with Carroll’s Red Circle Tea, other offerings will include traditional lattes from Berkeley favorite Caffe Mediterraneum, and unique Vietnamese coffee from V Café. (See below on how to win free tickets to the Festival!) … Continue reading »

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Locally Grown Produce: The Graduate

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Time for a confession: until two weeks ago—shortly after creating the Berkeleyside Berkeley film quiz—I’d never seen The Graduate in its entirety. Though I’d somehow made time in my life for thousands of other films, including all three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle epics, assorted entries in the Police Academy series, and Plan 9 From Outer Space, I hadn’t bothered to watch director Mike Nichol’s Oscar-winning film, which currently resides at #162 on the Internet Movie Database’s Top 250 … Continue reading »

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A mother’s day, the Berkeley way

Jane Stillwater with her daughter Ruby in the 1970s.
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Jane Stillwater is the quintessential Berkeley mom. After reading our recent coverage of the “Your Mom is So Berkeley” website, she wrote this delightful account of her quintessential Berkeley Mothers’ Day. Stillwater, a grandmother as well as a mom, has four children and lives in Berkeley.

Did you know that there’s a website out now that is completely devoted to jokes about Berkeley moms? Blond jokes and Polish jokes are out now. Berkeley Mom jokes are in. “My mom is so Berkeley that….”

Hey, I’m a Berkeley mom. So when my daughter Ashley and son Joe asked me what I wanted to do for Mothers’ Day this year, I got to thinking about Berkeley. “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s drive around Berkeley to all the places we used to hang out at when you guys were kids.” Tot lots? Soccer fields? Elementary schools? No way! My kids had different kinds of memories about their pasts.

First we went to the Caffe Mediterraneum up on Telegraph Avenue, where I used to sit and gossip in the 1970s and drink caffe lattes while my kids played under the table. Other kids may have gone to Blue Fairyland for daycare but not mine!

“My mom was so Berkeley that she raised me at the Med.”

Then we drove by People’s Park. “I was there when we first started to plant its gardens back in 1969,” I told the kids. “I was there for the riots and the tear gas. And I got my picture on the front page of the Berkeley Barb during our victory parade.”

That’s just great. “My mom is so Berkeley that she was a cover girl for the Berkeley Barb….”

Then we drove by the University of California. I always measure my life by this benchmark: “Am I having as much fun now as I did while going to Cal back in the 1960s?” And the answer is still always no.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she used to take us to hunger strikes up on Sproul Plaza.” And I still do.

Next we drove down past the old Mandrake’s nightclub, where I first met one of the backup guitarists for a band called Joy of Cooking. Two months later I was pregnant. “That’s not my child and goodbye,” said the lead singer for a band named Commander Cody and The Lost Planet Airmen.

“My mom is so Berkeley that she spends our entire Mothers Day making us listen to stories about when she was a Flower Child.” Damn straight. And before that I was a Beatnik. And don’t you forget it. … Continue reading »

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