Tag Archives: Comal

Comal owners settle suit for new Berkeley restaurant

An early rendering of a new restaurant prosed for Ashby Avenue
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lawsuit brought against the City of Berkeley and the owners of Comal restaurant, who plan to open a new restaurant at 2635 Ashby Ave. in the Elmwood neighborhood, has been settled.

A group called the Elmwood Neighborhood Assocation (ENA), concerned that a new upscale restaurant in the area would make traffic and parking unbearable filed a lawsuit in April. This followed a protracted approval process for the restaurant, including a previous appeal.

According to the terms of the settlement, the city has agreed to compile a report on parking in the neighborhood within 12 months of the August settlement — parking difficulties was one of the key issues raised in the suit — and  the restaurant owners will take steps both to advise customers on where to park, and to manage their alcohol consumption. They will close the restaurant to new customers at 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and agreed to pay $5,000 in attorney’s fees to Stuart Flashman, who represented ENA.

John Paluska, owner with Andrew Hoffman of Comal, said he hopes to start the build-out of the new restaurant, which is likely to serve Northern Californian cuisine and will have a full bar serving craft cocktails, early next year, and be open by the summer of 2015. … 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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Suit filed to stop Comal owners’ new restaurant

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A group of Elmwood residents who are worried that a new upscale restaurant on Ashby Avenue will make traffic and parking unbearable in the neighborhood has filed a lawsuit against the city and the restaurant’s owners.

The Elmwood Neighborhood Association believes that Berkeley violated environmental laws when it made a “negative declaration” that determined the new restaurant at 2635 Ashby Avenue near College would not create significant noise, parking, or odor problems. The lawsuit, which was filed April 28, asks Berkeley to redo its environmental review.

Zach Cowan, the Berkeley city attorney, said the city disagrees with the allegations in the suit.

“The issues in the petition were all addressed and analyzed,” said Cowan. … Continue reading »

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Food, culture, campus: Downtown Berkeley’s best?

2012 Sunday Streets. Photo: Alan Tobey
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Downtown Berkeley has seen a major revival in recent years, with a profusion of new restaurants and extensive development planned. Not everyone is happy with the changes, and the future of downtown continues to be a controversial topic.

On a lark, Berkeleyside asked readers to share some of their favorite downtown spots on Facebook. And, given the penchant in this town to offer criticism or complaints as a means toward progress, it was a bit of a shock to see the immediate outpouring of excitement about places locals love downtown.

Within a few hours, we had nearly 50 comments. Ideas — totaling about 80 recommendations — continued to come in for days. By no means is this intended to be scientific or exhaustive, but our question certainly hit a nerve.

We’ve included all the suggestions, along with some highlights provided by readers, in the map below. Click the markers to learn more. … Continue reading »

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New restaurants Iyasare, Nido in Chronicle’s Top 100

Iyasare
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The phone at Iyasare Restaurant on Fourth Street in Berkeley started to ring a bit more urgently on Friday. Word had leaked out that the Japanese restaurant had been named to the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of top 100 restaurants – one of 20 new places on the list.

It’s already hard to get Friday or Saturday night reservations at Iyasare, a 50-seat restaurant opened by chef Shotaro Kamio and general manager Niall Cantwell just five months ago. When the Top 100 list is published on Sunday (an online version is available now for subscribers) the demand may be even stronger. … Continue reading »

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Comal owners get OK for new Berkeley restaurant

An early rendering of a new restaurant prosed for Ashby Avenue
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Fans of Comal in downtown Berkeley can look forward to a new restaurant from its owners, John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman, after the Berkeley City Council last night denied an appeal filed by a neighborhood group that argued the new business would create increased parking headaches in the area.

Those who opposed a restaurant moving into the old Wright’s Garage space at 2635 Ashby Ave. were outnumbered by dozens of supporters. Council had received more than 100 letters from residents, many of whom live within walking distance of the Elmwood shopping district. In emails, and also in public testimony, they spelled out how much they would appreciate having an upscale restaurant and bar with late opening hours in their neighborhood.

Denise Pinkston, for example, said she moved to the Elmwood with her family recently from North Berkeley because she wanted to live in “a vibrant, walkable mixed-use neighborhood.”

“I think a place open to midnight would be wonderful,” she said. “I’m 53 and still stay up past 10 p.m., but feel like an octogenarian because there is nowhere to go in the evening with my husband and friends after the movies or theater.” … Continue reading »

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Michael Pollan, Raj Patel head up new edible course

Pollan
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Less than two hours after tickets became available for Michael Pollan’s opening lecture on Monday Jan. 27 in the Edible Schoolyard Foundation’s new Edible Education 101 class, the event was full. Such is the popularity of this course, Edible Education 101: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement, now in its third year.

This year Berkeley omnivore, professor and author Pollan, is heading up the program along with author, activist, and filmmaker Raj Patel. The course consists of 13 lectures at UC Berkeley held weekly on Monday evenings, 6:30-8:30 p.m. through May 5.

Two hundred tickets for each of the course’s lecture are made available to the public for free. Advance ticketing is required and registration is opened a few days before each lecture.  … Continue reading »

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East Bay feasts on New Year’s Eve

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Oakland and Berkeley offer many fine spots for memorable meals and ringing in the new year on Dec. 31. We’ve pulled together a list. Continue reading »

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Bites: ‘New Comal’ to Elmwood; Gogi Time comes to Telegraph Avenue

An early rendering of a new restaurant prosed for Ashby Avenue
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Openings, closings…

GREAT CHINA OPENS DEC. 16 The much anticipated opening of the ‘new’ Great China — the old one was shuttered by a fire in January 2012 — is happening Monday, Dec. 16, at 11:55 a.m. After opening day, the hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5-10 p.m. for dinner, Monday through Sunday, according to beverage director Mark Yatabe. The alcohol license is still pending but is expected early in the new year, Yatabe said. The menu is largely unchanged but there are some additions, including a new dessert menu and tea program. Read our scoop on Great China’s comeback. Great China is at 2190 Bancroft Way (at Oxford), Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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New Elmwood restaurant seeks city approval tonight

An early rendering of a new restaurant prosed for Ashby Avenue
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Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board will tonight consider the application by the owners of Comal in downtown Berkeley to open a second restaurant in the old Wright’s Garage space at 2635 Ashby Ave. (at College) in the Elmwood.

City planners are recommending that ZAB approve the proposal, which would entail granting an exception to the Elmwood quota system and agreeing to a midnight closing time on Fridays and Saturdays (an extension from 11:00 p.m.).

Many in the community support the plan, although there are also local residents who oppose it, principally on the grounds that it would cause parking headaches in the neighborhood.

Comal owners John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman envision that the yet-to-be-named spot would serve Northern Californian cuisine and have a full bar, including a menu of craft cocktails. The restaurant would be open for lunch and dinner. The atmosphere, energy and design would likely be similar to Comal, Paluska told Berkeleyside when we broke the news of the plan in June. … Continue reading »

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From fad to fixture: Wines on tap are here to stay

Chop Bar
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When it comes to wine, America has been playing catch-up to Europe for quite some time. But progress on that front has been accelerating rapidly in recent years. The latest manifestation of these gains can be seen in the growing number of East Bay restaurants now featuring wines on tap. What seemed like a fad just a few short years ago has now become a fixture of the local dining landscape.

One of the first local restaurants to explore the notion of kegged wine was Oakland’s Chop Bar. According to owner Chris Pastena, who also owns and operates popular spots Tribune Tavern and Lungomare, the early days were very much hit-and-miss, and those interested in this new format had to be prepared to make things up as they went along.

“We started doing it when we opened in September of 2009,” he said.  “There wasn’t a lot of information about wine-on-tap at the time. Also, there weren’t a lot of kegs being manufactured and there weren’t many systems available, so we ended up creating our own hodge-podge operation ourselves.” … Continue reading »

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Planting in the sky: Berkeley’s secret rooftop gardens

The Berkeley animal shelter's roof garden as of fall 2012. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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There’s a secret green side to Berkeley, one that is not visible from the sidewalk.

They are Berkeley’s roof gardens — oases of calm amidst a city of concrete. Some were created to provide food, others to make buildings more energy-friendly. Whatever the reason, they remain mostly unseen.

Over the past few weeks, Berkeleyside has located several living roofs around Berkeley. Of course, journalists can’t fly, so we likely did not find every rooftop garden. By contacting architects, squinting at Google Maps, and combing through past exposés on green living, we found four living roofs scattered around the city. If you know of any roofs that we missed, please let us know in the comments. … Continue reading »

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Comal owners plan new Berkeley restaurant

Paluska, Hoffman, Gandin
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The owners of Comal in downtown Berkeley are hoping to open a second restaurant in Berkeley, this time in the Elmwood neighborhood.

John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman have their sights on the 3,400-square-foot vacant space in the old Wright’s Garage building at 2635 Ashby Ave. (The renovated retail space is to the left of Dream Fluff Donuts).

The plan is to serve Northern Californian cuisine, and the restaurant will offer craft cocktails, a full bar, and be open for lunch and dinner, said Paluska. The atmosphere, energy and design will likely not be far-removed from Comal. “The space has some of the raw attributes we liked at Comal,” he said.

However, Paluska stressed that the project is in the very early stages of development. … Continue reading »

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