Tag Archives: Lorin District

Easy Creole: Fun, über-casual Cajun joint in Berkeley

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Despite the fact that the Ming’s Chinese Food sign still hangs proudly above the small storefront on the corner of Alcatraz and Martin Luther King, it’s clear that the restaurant is no longer selling stir-fries. Instead of take-out menus and lucky fish tanks, there’s now an array of Mardi Gras beads and hot sauce bottles lining the windowsill. A precociously dressed mannequin stands watch at the door. And several sandwich board signs line the sidewalks up and down the block directing passers-by to the one and only Easy Creole, the über casual restaurant that has been serving informal Louisiana cuisine in the former Ming’s space since last spring. … Continue reading »

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Police join forces on Berkeley-Oakland robbery series

Crime map
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Berkeley Police Department has started a joint patrol with BART Police and is collaborating with the Oakland Police Department to investigate a rash of armed robberies involving stolen cars that have been concentrated within a few blocks of each other on the North Oakland-South Berkeley border near Ashby BART station.

Berkeley Police believe three robberies that happened in Berkeley may be related, based on the similar descriptions of the suspects, the modus operandi and the location of the crimes, and they are working with OPD to determine if any of several North Oakland robberies connect to the Berkeley ones. “We are sharing information to determine any possible connections and are following leads as they develop,” said BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats.

Because of the proximity of the crimes to Ashby BART station, BPD has started to partner with a BART officer focusing on crime prevention in the area, “similar to its program with UCPD regarding robbery suppression patrol,” they said. … Continue reading »

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Duo to open Creekwood restaurant in South Berkeley

A photo simulation of Creekwood, a new restaurant in development on Sacramento Street. Image: The Kastrop Group, Inc.
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Two lifelong friends have teamed up to renovate a former bike shop in South Berkeley to create a new neighborhood restaurant in an area that’s undergone a revival this year.

Creekwood Café & Catering — still at least six months from opening — is the brainchild of Greg Poulios and Mark Louie. Both are 44-year-old California natives who met as pre-school students in Oakland. They stayed friends through high school and college, then later worked at the same restaurant in San Francisco. Their lives continued to be interwoven in the decades since.

“We’ve always talked about doing something of our own,” said Poulios. “We were looking around and we finally found the spot.” … Continue reading »

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Black Panther son opening Rasa Caffe in Berkeley

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Rasa Sun Mott is hesitant to say he’s opening a café because the universe aligned to make it so. It sounds too hokey, or too Berkeley, he says. But he admits it does feel that way, saying “It just feels right,” repeating it for emphasis.

Mott, an Oakland native and the son of two high-profile Black Panther activists, just concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign that helped him raise enough funds to help him open Rasa Caffe, on Adeline Ave., near Ashby BART. The café is scheduled to open in a month.

“If you would have told me two weeks ago that I would raise $10,000 in five days I would never have believed it,” he said. “It pushed me out of my comfort zone to do this, but at the same time, it was such a natural process to have my concept come to life.”

Mott is the son of educator Ericka Huggins and James Mott, a singer in the Black Panther group the Lumpen. They never married, and Mott was raised by his mother, in a home with activists like Huey Newton and Angela Davis always around the house. In the 70s, Huggins founded the Oakland Community School in East Oakland, a school that not only fed its students, said Mott, but clothed them and sent their parents home with groceries.

Along with her activism, Huggins was interested in yoga and meditation, which affected young Mott as well. At age 12, he declared he wanted to go to India, and he went with a guardian to live in an ashram, without his mother. He returned there again to live when he was 16. … Continue reading »

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Calling all artists: Chances to make your mark in Berkeley

Artist Misako Miki designed this utility box at Durant and Shattuck avenues. Photo: Streets Alive!
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Two local organizations have put out separate calls seeking artists to participate in projects underway in collaboration with the city of Berkeley.

One of the projects, with a focus on sprucing up utility boxes, is spearheaded by the Earth Island Institute’s Streets Alive! effort, and the other comes from Expressions, a local art gallery that’s organizing a January 2014 show about homelessness.

Brighten the streetscape

Streets Alive! is looking for local artists to design six utility boxes in South Berkeley — on Sacramento and Adeline streets — and on Telegraph Avenue near UC Berkeley.

The call for artists outlines thematic suggestions for each box, along with its proposed general location: Sacramento Street (sustainability); Adeline Street in the Lorin District (arts and theatre; the farmers market; food and eats; and diverse cultures); and Telegraph Avenue (“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow on Telegraph Avenue”).

Streets Alive! welcomes artists “of most art mediums,” including painters, photographers, mixed-media artists and graphic designers. Artists are asked to submit three to five work samples and complete an application. Portfolios will be accepted, via email or postmarked, through Nov. 15.

Any artist from Alameda County is eligible, though “strong preference” will be given to Berkeley-based artists. Artists whose designs are selected will receive a stipend of $300 to $400 for the creation of a final design; all rights of use and ownership will be turned over to the city of Berkeley and the Earth Island Institute in the end. … Continue reading »

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Nano-brewpub and lounge planned for Alcatraz Ave.

The architect's design for the front facade of a yet-to-be-named nano-brewery planned for Alcatraz Avenue. Image: Edward Ogosta Architecture, Inc.
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A new nano-brewpub in the Lorin District recently won approval from Berkeley’s zoning commissioners, and looks poised to join the ranks of Berkeley’s burgeoning beer scene later this year.

Owner Viet Vu, who lives in San Francisco with his wife, said he’s aiming to open the spot, at 1763 Alcatraz Ave., within seven months. Vu, 37, said the atmosphere will be intimate and laid-back, with several kinds of house-brewed beer for sale along with 10-13 other local craft beers to drink on-site. Wine and light snacks will be available, but distilled alcohol will not be served.

(Update, March 29: The restaurant will be called Hoi Polloi Brewpub, and owner Viet Vu told us the background: “I always liked the idea of the 99% so to speak. I always liked the idea of: This is who we all are, this mass of people. I grew up in a working-class background, and the name kind of represents that.”) … Continue reading »

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New beer garden, burger spot for South Berkeley

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Moxy Beer Garden, a new craft beer garden and burger restaurant is set to open as early as next month in south Berkeley, at Sacramento and 66th streets, in the old Casa Vino space.

Long-time Berkeley residents and restaurateurs, Mike and Amy Voisenat, who run The Hobnob restaurant on Park Street in Alameda, say they are excited to be bringing  their new venture into the area, not least because they live just four blocks away. Also, they describe the Lorin district as a community “poised to blossom like Temescal.”

Moxy plans to have 14 craft beers on tap and a choice of bottled beers, as well as wine by the glass. The menu will include grass-fed beef and Moroccan lamb burgers, Greek veggie burger, blackened turkey burger, vegan “Buffalo Wings” with cauliflower and vegan “buttermilk” dressing, housemade fries and salads. There will also be gluten-free bun options.
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New street banners give Berkeley neighborhoods identity

New district banners, 6/6, Ashby and Adeline
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A number of colorful new street banners have appeared in Berkeley’s Adeline-Ashby and Sacramento Street neighborhoods. They are the result of a city-funded effort to help discrete commercial districts brand themselves and promote what they see as their distinct attributes.

The initiative involved UC Berkeley students interviewing local merchants and Berkeley marketing company Radiant Brands working with property owners in the two areas to help crystalize ideas around the branding and the design for the banners.

“We engaged with stakeholders and held a series of meetings,” said Michael Caplan, Economic Development Manager for the City of Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Tuesday farmers’ market moving to Lorin District

Berkeley's Tuesday farmers' market in its current Derby Street location. Photos: Courtesy Ecology Center
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Some say change is as good as a holiday. Others counter that most resist change. But here’s what everyone can agree on: change comes, regardless.

And so it is that the Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays is set to move to a new location. The first formalized farmers’ market in the city, which has called Derby Street at MLK Way in South Berkeley home for 25 years, is slated to relocate come July 10 to the parking bay at Adeline and 63rd Streets in the Lorin District. The market will run, as it does now, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 6:30 p.m. (It’s a half hour earlier, to accommodate a church service on the site.)

The Ecology Center views the switch to a new spot in South Berkeley as part of an overall plan to increase access to farm-fresh food to areas that lack a major grocery store, though the shift also comes because the Berkeley Unified School District will be converting the adjacent playing field at the markets’ current location into a regulation-size baseball field. … Continue reading »

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Neighborhood revival: Kick-starting the Lorin district

Ed Roberts campus
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May 1 marks the re-launching of a neighborhood — and a chance to celebrate lots of new happenings in the Lorin district, Berkeley’s lowest income, most economically depressed neighborhood, where over 30% of residents live below the poverty line.

The Adeline Street Merchants Association is setting up shop again. Soon to open is the Ed Roberts Campus, an international center for people with disabilities (rendered above — it doesn’t quite look like that yet, but it’s nearly there). … Continue reading »

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