Tag Archives: College Avenue

Bites: Box and Bells closes, Haven on pause, more

Meats with sauerkraut (Boudin blanc; corned beef with parsley sauce). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Openings, closings

BOX AND BELLS IS DONE After about 15 months of operation in Rockridge, James Syhabout’s Box and Bells has closed. (Nosh previewed the restaurant in 2013.) The restaurant shut down Wednesday, according to a notice on the company website. Box and Bells, at 5912 College Ave. in Oakland, featured dishes inspired by staff meals at Syhabout’s higher-end Commis — think hearty comfort food like poutine, fried chicken and burgers topped with cheese curds. In an official statement posted on Inside Scoop SF, Syhabout explained that “despite our greatest efforts, the concept simply did not resonate with the neighborhood and result in the success necessary to sustain the restaurant.” Operations at Syhabout’s other Oakland restaurants, the Michelin-starred Commis, Hawker Fare and The Dock at Linden Street, will continue. And the closure appears unlikely to slow him down: Syhabout is gearing up to open a new Hawker Fare location in San Francisco later this month. … Continue reading »

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New Safeway on College Avenue opens to crowds

A new 45,000-square foot Safeway opened on College Ave. on Jan. 15. Photo: Celia McCarthy
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Hundreds of people jammed into the spanking new Safeway store on College Avenue on Thursday. Most were there to gawk at the shiny surfaces or taste a variety of free samples, but plenty of people were there to shop, happy to have a large grocery store back in the neighborhood.

The new store is 45,000 square feet and cost about $35 million to build, according to Chris Pattillo, chair of the Oakland Planning Commission, who spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The store employs about 160 people, and 65 of those union jobs are new, she said.

“We’re excited,” Bernard Hardy, Safeway’s vice president of retail operations told the crowd that had assembled for the in-store speeches. “Tell your neighbors we’re back. We’re excited about being back in the neighborhood.” … Continue reading »

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Noah’s Bagels: 25-cent deal for 25th anniversary

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Noah’s Bagels, which was founded by Noah Alper on College Avenue in Berkeley in the summer of 1989, is celebrating its 25th anniversary Aug. 6 with a “today-only” offer of a 25-cent bagel and shmear at participating stores.

Noah’s has several stores in the East Bay, including three in Berkeley — on College, Telegraph and Solano avenues — and two in Oakland, on Lakeshore and in Montclair.

The bagel purveyor specializes in New York-style bagels (although bagel aficionados inevitably like to argue over how authentic they are). The chain is a business success story. Six years after Alper opened the first store in Berkeley, Noah’s Bagels had expanded to dozens of outlets and was sold to Einstein Bagel Bros. for $100 million dollars. Since then, Noah’s stores can be found across the nation. … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: Sukho Thai in Rockridge

Sukho Thai, Oakland. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Come along with Nosh as we explore the East Bay food scene in photographs. This week we focus on Sukho Thai in Oakland.

A relative newcomer to Rockridge, Sukho Thai is a welcome addition to the neighborhood, which already boasts many fantastic restaurants to choose from. Sukho Thai opened last fall several blocks south of the Rockridge BART station; those familiar with the neighborhood may recall the previous business, Pearl of Siam, which closed last June after 25 years.

Friendly service, cozy surroundings and outstanding flavors set this Thai restaurant a cut above many others in the area. The flavors pop, with the right amount of heat on the spicy dishes, a satisfying firmness in the cooked vegetables, and masterful seasonings that make each dish memorable. Portions are ample enough for leftovers, especially if your party is small and you want to try a few dishes. Save room for a sweet treat for dessert. … Continue reading »

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Nosh on the town: Bourbon & Beef on College Ave.

Bourbon & Beef. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Come along with Nosh as we explore the East Bay food scene in photographs. This week we focus on Bourbon & Beef on College Avenue close to the Oakland-Berkeley border.

Executive chef and co-owner Munther Massarweh serves up a Latin-inspired meat-focused menu made with seasonal ingredients that are “often” locally sourced, sustainable and organic. The location previously housed Water Lounge and Raw Bar. See the dinner menu here. Weekend brunch items, from $14-$16, include huevos rancheros; pan dulce (stuffed French toast with jalapeño sweet cream); and salmon Florentine. The beverage menu includes an international wine list with more than 71 vintages, about 18 of which are available by the glass. A range of cocktails are a specialty of the house, and at least 20 types of bourbon are poured. … Continue reading »

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Eat the Street: Elmwood Café defines community

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In a new occasional series, Berkeleyside’s Siciliana Trevino sets out to eat, and report on, every restaurant on College Avenue — from Bancroft to Broadway, taking in the gourmet goldmines that are the Elmwood and Rockridge neighborhoods in between. First on the list? The Elmwood Café.

The intersection of College and Russell was oddly absent of the congestion that normally plagues it at dusk. DJ and I were on the sidewalk, at a crossroads about where to get a drink, or maybe have dinner.

DJ and I often wondered what it would be like to eat at every restaurant on College Avenue from Bancroft to Broadway. It was a what if…? that became a real possibility when I left New York City in April to live with him in Berkeley, where we both originate. But that night in June we vowed that if we ate out on College, we would go forward with our long-held plan. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside Police Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, June 6-12

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, June 6-12, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of home burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) The red icons show physical violence. The blue icons with a white mask are robberies. Yellow icons are reports of a disturbance and green ones are vandalism. Click the map for the full list.
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This is a partial list of recent crimes in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. See past crime blotters here. (Note to readers: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com.)

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From June 6 to June 12, there were 19 burglary reports29 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and 14 stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comSeven robberies and eight assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries were reported. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information. … Continue reading »

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‘Got Sweaty Balls?’ sign at Lululemon provokes questions

Sweaty balls
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The Lululemon Athletica store on the corner of Ashby and College avenues has installed a window display that is prompting a lot of discussion.

A sign reading “Got sweaty balls?” covers a large section of the main window. It sits in front of five mannequins wearing colorful male underwear. A smaller sign reads “Best. Boxer Briefs. Ever.”

“It’s certainly unusual,” said Joshua, a store manager who didn’t give his last name. “It’s not going to be up for very long.” … Continue reading »

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A16 brings touch of San Francisco to Rockridge

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A16 Rockridge threw open its new roll-up door on Saturday night, bringing a soupçon of San Francisco’s dining flair to College Avenue.

The countdown to launch day was not without its moments, said co-owner Victoria Libin, speaking on opening day. But even an exploding water heater that had to be replaced in haste last week did not delay the much anticipated debut.

As previously reported, this is the third venture for Libin and Shelley Lindgren (who is also the restaurant’s wine director), who already run A16 and SPQR in the city.

Executive chef Rocky Maselli has devised a menu focused on dishes you might find in the coastal regions surrounding Italy’s A16 highway — which could mean crispy fried lamb sweetbreads, oysters and sea urchin, or roasted calamari. … Continue reading »

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Nosh Talk: Scott Miller, Market Hall Foods

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What is always in your refrigerator?
Parmigiano Reggiano and roasted tomato sauce — because in my house a quick dinner for the kids often includes one or both of these.

What do you cook up for a late night snack?
I don’t make a lot of late night snacks, but when I do it’s usually popcorn. Sometimes kettlecorn.

Where/what do you eat on your day off?
I usually go for Asian food. A current favorite is B-Dama on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland or Ippuku in Berkeley.

Do you have a secret ‘junk food’ vice?
I snack on things but nothing I would really think of as too junkie. OK, an occasional doughnut might make the list. I do have a bit of a lifelong pretzel problem. … Continue reading »

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New Safeway on College green-lighted, designs revealed

A bird's-eye view of plans for a new Safeway on College Avenue. Source: Lowney Architecture
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A new Safeway grocery store and retail development planned for College and Claremont avenues has gotten the nod from Oakland officials after seven long years in the making, and a hard-won community consensus on the heels of steep resistance from many residents.

The Oakland City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to deny a neighborhood appeal against the project, after representatives from several community groups reached an agreement with the grocery store company earlier this week. (The appeal could not simply be withdrawn, despite the signed agreement, due to procedural rules, city staff said.)

The settlement agreement over the particulars of the College Avenue Safeway project resulted from several intensive mediation sessions, run by Oakland Councilwoman Jane Brunner, between Safeway and neighborhood reps over the past five weeks. The sessions came about in the face of a possible lawsuit from community members who opposed aspects of the development that had been approved by the Oakland Planning Commission. … Continue reading »

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Residents air concerns about College Ave. Safeway plans

Dozens of local residents attended a community meeting Dec. 13 to hear the latest about the College Avenue Safeway plans. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, 5:23 p.m.: Via Stuart Flashman, “After another five hours of negotiating today (following up on two hours over the weekend) the agreement has been finalized. The RCPC Board (which has been primed for a vote since Friday) promptly approved the agreement by electronic vote. The other two groups (FANS and BPOD) will be voting tonight, but the community negotiators are unanimously recommending approval.”

Original story, 2:15 p.m.

With what may be the final major approvals for a new Safeway store on College Avenue set to take place Tuesday night before the Oakland City Council, residents came together for an update late last week.

About 60 community members attended a session Thursday night run by several mediators who have, along with Oakland Councilwoman Jane Brunner, helped broker a deal to get Safeway to respond to neighborhood concerns and bring negotiations to a close so the project can move forward after seven years in development. … Continue reading »

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Outrage on College: Where did the fried chicken go?

Summer Kitchen fried chicken
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An email landed in Berkeleyside’s inbox the other day, subject line: “Outrage on College Avenue!” Reader Heidi, who lives in the Elmwood neighborhood, wrote:

Summer Kitchen Bake Shop has taken its fried chicken off the menu!

Everybody loved their fried chicken! It has been the gateway meat for many a small and so-well-raised Berkeley child. It has linked generations of foodies.

And why, I asked, has such a reckless decision been made? “Our menu is constantly evolving.” This is the understatement of this young year! Are they stonewalling us? Have they lost their source for the assertive black pepper in their breading? Can they no longer find sustainable oil for their deep fryer? Do they actually hate my daughters?

Please get to the bottom of this for us! We are helpless and in your hands.


Heidi … Continue reading »

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