Tag Archives: North Berkeley

Mother–daughter duo makes Vanessa’s Bistro soar

Vanessa's duo
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Vanessa Dang briskly chops a pile of red and yellow peppers, speedily stir-fries chicken slices in a steaming wok, and tosses a tangle of rice noodles into a bowl in the compact kitchen of her Berkeley restaurant, Vanessa’s Bistro. Meanwhile, her daughter, Vi Nguyen, greets and seats customers, takes orders and shakes up a mojito while chatting with the regulars sitting at the bar. Both mother and daughter operate in a blur of continual motion, like two speeding comets whose orbits occasionally intersect. … Continue reading »

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State Supreme Court upholds Berkeley’s decision in Mitch Kapor’s bid to build a home in the city

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The California Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the city of Berkeley and philanthropist and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor, and against a group of preservationists who have been fighting for five years a proposal from Kapor and his wife, Freada Kapor Klein, to build a new home at 2707 Rose St.

In a ruling issued Monday morning, the court said it was reversing a Court of Appeal’s decision that had effectively said the 6,478-square-foot home (with a 3,394-square-foot garage) should be subject to an environmental impact report (EIR). Single-family homes are normally exempt from EIRs, which fall under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Read the full Supreme Court decision issued today, March 2.

The decision is a blow to the Berkeley Hillside Preservation group, which has argued over the years that the proposed North Berkeley home, designed by Berkeley’s Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects, is exceptionally large and also in a landslide zone. That, and the fact that construction of the home would, they say, require extensive work to widen the roadway, amounted to unusual circumstances requiring environmental review. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Interrupted burglar grabs woman in Berkeley home

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Police are asking for the community’s help after a startled burglar grabbed a North Berkeley resident who found him inside her home.

The Live Oak/Codornices Creek Neighborhood Association email list was abuzz Thursday about the incident, in the 2300 block of Eunice Street (between Spruce Street and Glen Avenue) shortly before 10 a.m. (Berkeleyside first reported the incident on Facebook.)

According to one local resident, who shared the news with her neighborhood over email, the woman “heard a noise around 10am and went to investigate and turned around and was assaulted by a tall man dressed in all black who attacked her.” … Continue reading »

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Community effort may see Berkeley’s Oaks Theatre reopen with Bakesale Betty on board

The Oaks Theater at xxxx Solano Ave. has been empty for several years. New plans may see it reopen if a deal can ben reached. Photo: Ian Ransley
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The Oaks Theatre on Solano Avenue may have a future after all, after five years of sitting vacant. Jim Whitty, a Berkeley local and his non-profit group, From Little Acorns Grow, is working with Gordon Commercial Real Estate Services to lease and re-open the theater in what will be a true community effort if it succeeds.

Speaking at the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association (TONA) meeting Thursday night at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church Auditorim, Whitty, a veteran Oakland firefighter and Secretary Treasurer of the Oakland Firefighters’ Union for the past ten years, said he was well down the path of negotiations with John and Kevin Gordon who were being very supportive of the initiative.

“The rental negotiations are up in the air, but we are not too far apart,” said Whitty who said he was well used to negotiating as a union leader. He is at the “letter of intent” stage, he said. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police find empty house after reported hostage call

Two police vehicles at Tacoma and  Colusa. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, 11:45 p.m. Berkeley Police Lt. Jennifer Louis confirmed that police have cleared a home in the 1800 block of Tacoma Avenue, and found no one inside despite an earlier report of a dangerous situation there.

Louis said a caller phoned dispatch at 9:26 p.m. to report a domestic violence incident at the North Berkeley home.

Officers responded and searched the home, but ultimately found it to be empty.

Louis said the caller provided “very limited information” while speaking with dispatch, and that there was a possibility the call had been a hoax.

Update, 11:30 p.m. Officers have swept the house and determined that the interior is clear. Perimeter units have been released from the area.

Original post, 10:52 p.m. Berkeley police officers are on the scene in the 1800 block of Tacoma Avenue, between Colusa Avenue and The Alameda, after a man called police and told them he had stabbed his girlfriend, had tied up her lover and was threatening to shoot him. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Himalayan curry by Nancy Rubin
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NEW: HIMALAYAN TANDOORI AND CURRY HOUSE Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House had a grand opening buffet on Feb. 2 in the space that used to be Everest Café on Solano Avenue. Former patrons of Everest Café, and other friends in the community, were invited in for a free meal. Says manager Umesh Manandhar: “The restaurant serves authentic Nepalese and Indian cuisine. We hope that our friendly environment will be a place in the community for neighbors to come for tea or a delicious meal. All the pumpkin that we serve here is from our farm in Sebastopol and we are trying to grow most of the vegetables from the same farm. We also serve some vegan meals. Our main objective is to serve healthy food with friendly service.” Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House  is at 1645 Solano Ave., Berkeley. [By Nancy Rubin] … Continue reading »

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Fire

2-alarm fire in Berkeley causes $350,000 in damage

There was a 2-alarm fire in North Berkeley on Monday morning. Photo: Katherine Baylor
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A North Berkeley house fire early Monday caused approximately $350,000 in damage and left the home uninhabitable, officials said.

The Berkeley Fire Department received a call at 5:38 a.m. about the fire, in a two-story home in the 1300 block of Delaware Street, between Franklin and Chestnut streets, said Avery Webb, deputy fire chief.

Webb said a caller told dispatch that lots of smoke was coming out from under the eaves of the home, which was not occupied because it was undergoing a remodel.  … Continue reading »

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After ordering pizza with stolen card, teen charged with 4 armed robberies in Berkeley

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An 18-year-old man arrested in November — after authorities found him by tracking a stolen debit card used to order pizza — has been charged with four armed robberies near the North Berkeley BART station that took place last fall.

Police arrested Berkeley resident Marcell Stargetti along with two juveniles Nov. 24 after an armed robbery at Acton and Delaware streets at about 1 a.m. Police said they located the robbers after they used one of the debit cards they had stolen to order pizza. Officers intercepted the order and pretended to deliver the pizza to make the arrests.

According to court papers, police linked Stargetti to three other armed robberies in the area — on Sept. 13, Sept. 19 and Nov. 23 — using items found during a subsequent search of a home nearby, also in the 1300 block of Delaware Street. Police said they found an unloaded firearm, as well as “various stolen items … in the toilet tank.” Police also reported the discovery of ID cards, credit or debit cards and other suspected stolen items. … Continue reading »

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Saul’s applies to build a parklet in front of deli

A rendering shows the canopied parklet designed by architect David Trachtenberg.
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Three parking spaces in front of Saul’s Deli at 1475 Shattuck Ave. could soon be replaced by greenery and public seating.

Saul’s owner Peter Levitt has applied for a permit to build a parklet, which would be the third approved under the city’s Parklets Pilot Program launched in July 2013. The first parklet opened in front of the Cheese Board Collective in August. A second one was scheduled to open shortly after the Cheese Board parklet, in front of Philz Coffee and Guerilla Café. That scheme ran into some obstacles but is back on track. … Continue reading »

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Vegan deli to open in old La Farine spot on Solano

The retail space at xxxx Solano Ave. that, until July, housed La Farine, is likely to have a new food tenant soon. Photo: Trachtenberg Architects
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The space at 1820 Solano Ave., left vacant by La Farine bakery in July, is to be filled by a new-concept vegan deli-style food retailer, The Butcher’s Son, opening around mid-February 2015.

Peter Fikaris and his sister, Christina Stobing, will be running the new business which is partially funded by their father, Michael, well-known for his eatery, Michael’s American Vegetarian Diner, a popular ’50s-style eating spot on Telegraph Avenue in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“We will offer specialty vegan cheeses and meats, sausages, salami, fresh mozzarella, salads, sides, and sandwiches,” said Fikaris. The deli will have a pizza oven, making baked thin-crust pizza and a raw deep-dish pizza will also be on the menu.

“It will be all vegan, raw and cooked, and made in house,” he added. … Continue reading »

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State court hears Mitch Kapor Berkeley home case

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The long-running saga of philanthropist and Lotus founder Mitch Kapor’s attempt to build a new home in North Berkeley landed at the California Supreme Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday this week.

At the Dec. 2 hearing, the Court heard arguments on whether the rules that exempt most proposed single-family homes from undergoing an environmental impact report (EIR) should apply to the proposal by Kapor, and his wife Freada Kapor Klein, to build a new home with a 10-car garage at 2707 Rose St.

According to Bob Egelko, the Chronicle’s courts reporter, at the one-hour hearing Susan Brandt-Hawley, a lawyer for the Berkeley Hillside Preservation group, re-iterated arguments that have been presented to Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board (which originally approved the project in January 2010), and the Alameda County Superior Court, which subsequently denied an appeal on the case.

Brandt-Hawley said that building a “huge home” in a “landslide zone,” which will also require extensive work to widen the roadway, should amount to unusual circumstances requiring environmental review. She cited testimony by the group’s expert witness, engineer Lawrence Karp. … Continue reading »

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Solano Avenue: The pressure is on for North Berkeley shopping district to up its game

The Oaks on Solano, as of September 2014. Photo: Mary Flaherty
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When French-style bakery La Farine abruptly closed up shop on Berkeley’s Solano Avenue this summer, there was an outcry from local residents. Its departure also created another empty storefront on a street that has its fair share of them, particularly in its easternmost stretch, near The Alameda.

But La Farine owner Jeff Dodge said he misses the North Berkeley commercial district and is actively looking for a way to return there. And Gina Gould, the landlord of the building Dodge vacated, at 1820 Solano, said she’s confident she will sign up a new, likely food-related, business for the space before Christmas.

The new store will join a cluster of new businesses that have opened, or are about to, on the wide shopping street that stretches 2 miles east to west through Albany and Berkeley.

Will they bring new energy to a street that is known for its gigantic annual Solano Stroll event, but which, unlike Berkeley’s Elmwood or Gourmet Ghetto neighborhoods, retains a slightly folksy feel? … Continue reading »

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Crime

‘Pizza delivery’ police nab armed robbers in Berkeley

Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun. Photo: Kris Vera-Phillips
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Police officers pretending to be pizza deliverers captured three people linked to an armed robbery early Monday morning in North Berkeley.

Authorities say the robbers used a stolen credit card to order pizza, which tipped police to their location, and ultimately led to their arrest and the recovery of a handgun.

According to Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, the robbery took place just after 1 a.m. when two people with a gun robbed a pedestrian of his backpack at Acton and Delaware streets near the North Berkeley BART station. … Continue reading »

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