Tag Archives: Craig Becker

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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Crime

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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Mad Monk Center to rise on Telegraph

An architectural rendering of what the Mad Monk Center on Telegraph could look like. Image: Avila Design
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The iconic Telegraph Avenue building that formerly housed Cody’s Bookstore could have a new identity before year’s end due to an ambitious project underway by local property owner Ken Sarachan.

Sarachan — who also owns Rasputin Music and Blondie’s Pizza, as well as the vacant lot north of Amoeba Music — describes his “Mad Monk Center for Anachronistic Media” as a two-story complex with a full-service restaurant, performance space, small flower kiosk, take-out coffee counter and analogue media shop that will bring together “the best assembly of records anywhere in California.” … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

How I learned to love Telegraph’s street kids

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As the Lerner and Loewe song goes, “I have often walked on this street before,” and now as a Berkeley reporter.

Often is 36,960 times, or up to three times a day for 35 years, and the street is Telegraph Avenue, above Dwight to Bancroft, in Berkeley’s scary south side. I live two blocks from the start of the Teley stroll.

Before the 70s, before the sexual revolution, and the drug revolution, and all the evolutions, Telegraph was a hippy … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed on Measure S: We can do better with civil sidewalks

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Like most people I wear several hats. In my case that includes Telegraph Avenue small business owner, Berkeley resident, local shopper, member of the Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID), and commissioner on the Berkeley Homeless Commission. The different roles can have different biases. However I feel confident endorsing Measure S from all of these perspectives.

Measure S prohibits sitting on commercial sidewalks in Berkeley between the hours of 7am and 10pm. It has the expected exceptions:  medical reasons, parades, permitted … 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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Telegraph Ave property owner shows plans for vacant site

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The owner of a blighted lot at Telegraph and Haste that has been vacant for more than two decades presented his plans for a fortress-like building on the property, although he said he wouldn’t build anything there as long as the city of Berkeley had a lawsuit hanging over him regarding the site.

Ken Sarachan, who bought the north-west corner lot on Telegraph and Haste in 1994, has visions for a Moorish palace-like structure inspired by Italian hill towns, Tibetan forts and the rock-cut architecture of Petra in Jordan. Architect Kirk Peterson introduced the blueprints and renderings for the project, known as “La Fortaleza” (as in “fortress” or “stronghold”), on Tuesday evening to a small group of interested parties gathered at Caffe Med a few doors down from the lot in question on Telegraph Avenue. … Continue reading »

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New to Berkeley: Festival celebrates all things caffeine

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Whether you’re partial to a cup of third-wave, single-origin, shade-grown espresso, a frothy decaf cappuccino, or a low-fat soy chai, it’s likely you enjoy coffee or tea in some form.

Cognizant of this, and of the fact that there are dozens of coffee and tea purveyors in our midst, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce is holding the first Berkeley Coffee and Tea Festival on Saturday September 24th at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in downtown Berkeley.

More than 30 … Continue reading »

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