Tag Archives: North Shattuck Association

Bookstore moving into old Black Oak Books in N. Berkeley

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After five years of sitting empty marked with a “For Lease” sign, the former Black Oak Books on Shattuck Avenue in North Berkeley will soon open its doors as a new business.

And that business is: a bookstore.

Books Inc., a Bay Area business that says it is “the west’s oldest independent bookseller,” will open in the former Black Oak sometime in early 2015, said owner Michael Tucker.

At the same time, Books Inc. will shutter its Berkeley store at 1760 Fourth St., essentially moving from one local spot to another, which Tucker hopes will boost Berkeley sales.

“The biggest issue we have on Fourth, beyond the fact it’s a little too small for us… is we just couldn’t get people to come in. We couldn’t get people to think of it as their neighborhood bookstore,” Tucker said. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s first 2 parklets to open this fall

An artist's conception of the new parklet in front of Philz Coffee and Guerilla Cafe. Photo courtesy of the North Shattuck Association.
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Sometime in the early fall, coffee-sippers and pizza-eaters may find themselves sitting outside at one of Berkeley’s two new parklets.

If all things go to plan, the first one is set to open in front of the Cheese Board Collective at 1520 Shattuck Ave. in the city’s Gourmet Ghetto, according to the North Shattuck Association’s Executive Director Heather Hensley. A second parklet will open in front of Philz Coffee at 1600 Shattuck, and at Guerilla Café (1620 Shattuck) soon after. They will be maintained by the adjacent businesses but will be open to non-customers too.

No bigger than a few parking spaces, these miniature urban parks are extensions of the existing sidewalk and provide additional seating and green space for pedestrians. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley raises funds for schools’ edible program

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On Tuesday night hundreds of locals turned out for A Taste of North Berkeley, a collaborative initiative held in the city’s Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood to raise funds for Berkeley Unified schools’ threatened gardening and cooking program.

The event was a success, according to the head of the BUSD program, Jezra Thompson. (Read our interview with Thompson published earlier this week in which she outlines her vision for the lauded program and spells out why it needs support).

“We were able to connect with a lot of community members and visitors, talk about the program, and get people excited about what we’re teaching the Berkeley students,” Thompson said speaking of the Taste event which saw more than 20 local merchants offer food and craft samples. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

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THE FICKLE BAG The handbag and accessory store The Fickle Bag has shut its doors at 1885 Solano AveA note on the store’s website announcing the closure of the 3-year-old business does not provide details regarding why it closed. However, owner Jua Park also operates a Fickle Bag location in the San Francisco International Airport, which will remain open. (Hat tip: Jane Tierney)

IT’S THE CHILDREN Also recently closed is the boutique children’s clothing store, It’s The Children, near the Vine Street Peet’s at 1506 Walnut St. According to the North Shattuck Association, the owner was originally hoping to relocate the business, but ultimately closed instead. The reason for closure is unknown, as the owner didn’t notify the neighborhood business organization, but low-level foot traffic on Walnut combined with the success of nearby Kid Dynamo may have come into play. (Hat tip: Doug Ng) … Continue reading »

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Off The Grid says goodbye to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto

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Off The Grid, the food truck fest that has been a fixture on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto every Wednesday evening since June last year, had its last day in that location yesterday.

The city took the decision to stop hosting the market due to its impact on local brick and mortar businesses and property owners, and also because a reconfiguration of the space it used — at the intersection of Shattuck and Rose — is due to begin next year.

The sudden departure of the hugely popular street food gathering will come as a surprise to the estimated 1,500 people who make a beeline there every week to tuck into on-the-go edibles from the likes of Brass Knuckle, Fiveten Burger, Liba Falafel, and the CupKates Truck. … Continue reading »

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Shattuck Avenue goes car-free for 17 blocks on Sunday

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More than a mile of Berkeley’s Shattuck Avenue will be open to pedestrians, cyclists, roller-skaters, dancers, and kids on Sunday Oct. 14 — but not cars — as the city holds its first Sunday Streets event from 11 am through 4 pm.

Seventeen blocks, from Rose to Haste streets, will also be a hive of activities as merchants, musicians and community organizations take the opportunity to engage with and perform for local residents. The offerings run the gamut from free free bike repairs courtesy of Mikes Bikes, Missing Link Cooperative and the Bike Station, to street soccer games, free yoga classes, belly dancing, hands-on science activities for kids, and a performance by the UC Berkeley Gospel Choir.

The idea of Sunday Streets, or Open Streets as they are also known, originated in Bogatá, Colombia and has spread around the world, including to San Francisco where it has been a regular occurrence in different neighborhoods for a couple of years. … Continue reading »

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North Berkeley merchants want parklets for the people

A parklet in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood. Photo: San Francisco Pavement to Parks
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Businesses in the Gourmet Ghetto are keen to jump on the parklet bandwagon — bringing outdoor seating to the streets for espresso sippers, pizza eaters, and world watchers in lieu of parking spots — but must first wait for the city to come up with a process for making the spaces available.

So-called parklets — slivers of open space sprouting in cities around the globe — are a big trend in urban design, with San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks leading the way locally, and Oakland following suit (a pilot program is under review there.) Berkeley is a little late to the take-back-the-public-space movement but eager to come up with its own ideas to beautify public areas where community members can congregate. Leading the charge is the North Shattuck Association, which is helping businesses in its café- and restaurant-heavy district organize around the concept.

“The parklets pilot project was conceived by the association based on our experience with hosting temporary parklets during past years on Park(ing) Day and the Spice of Life Festival,” said Heather Hensley, executive director of the association.

Park(ing) Day is an international movement conceived to help city residents around the world reimagine the humble parking space. One day each fall, D.I.Y., creative urbanistas are encouraged to transform parking spots into parks, playgrounds, pop-up cafés — anything other than a lowly (though coveted) place for cars. Park(ing) Day parklets have sprouted in Berkeley in past years in front of the Cheese Board Collective and the late Amanda’s Feel Good Fresh Food. … Continue reading »

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Local food names sign up for Berkeley Off The Grid truck

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Lush Gelato, voted by Berkeleyside readers as the best ice cream shop in Berkeley, will be going mobile tonight and serving its scoops from the guest truck at street food-fest Off The Grid — and a number of other local food names have signed up for future Wednesdays.

The Juice Bar Collective is planning on offering tamales for the Gourmet Ghetto’s Dia de Los Muertos celebration on November 2nd, and Berkeley’s new Local Butcher Shopopened by former Chez Panisse chef Aaron Rocchino and his wife Monica in August — will host the guest truck on November 9th. Other possibles for future dates include Guerilla Café and Taste of the Himalayas.

The truck is owned by Off The Grid and offered to guest hosts at whichever location the street food fair is taking place. Saul Deli‘s Executive Chef Peter Levitt rustled up pickle plates and potato latkes from the truck in June.

Tonight, Lush will be serving gelato and chocolate sandwiches, a special-menu item designed specifically for Off the Grid, as well as basil, fresh mint chip and salted chocolate chip gelatos. … Continue reading »

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Saul’s to cook street food at Berkeley’s Off The Grid

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Saul Deli‘s Executive Chef Peter Levitt will be rustling up some street eats at Berkeley’s second Off The Grid street food event in the Gourmet Ghetto.

Levitt will be using Off The Grid’s own truck which was created expressly to allow chefs and members of the general public to test out the experience of operating a food truck.

Saul’s street-food menu sticks to its Jewish, sustainable roots and will consist of Raspberry Lemonade; Saul’s Pickle Plate; Chicken Matzo Ball Soup; Fired Corn on the Cob with Spiced Gribenes; Potato Latke, Apricot Sauce, Crème Fraiche; Savory Potato Kugel with Crème Fraiche; Corned Beef On Challah Roll, Mustard; Sweet Peach and Brandied Prune Kugel with Whipped cream; and a Choco Halvatashen Cookie. Prices range from $2.00 to $4.00.

Off The Grid, which operates several regular street-food events in San Francisco and is planning further expansion, held a soft launch in Berkeley last Wednesday. Such was its popularity, with estimates of up to 2,000 people turning up, that several of the food trucks ran dry. … Continue reading »

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Crowds turn out for Berkeley’s inaugural Off The Grid

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[Update, 8:50 pm: Watch a video of Off The Grid, at foot of story.]

Organizer Matt Cohen needn’t have worried about the weather being a dampener — he estimated that anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people showed up last night to Off The Grid’s inaugural Berkeley street food event in the Gourmet Ghetto.

Such was the enthusiasm among locals to sample pockets of falafel, Filipino treats, dripping pulled pork sandwiches and crunchy fish tacos that several of the food trucks ran dry early in the evening.

Cupkates sold out at 6.30 pm, just one and half hours after the start time. By the time Berkeleyside turned up at about 7.15 pm, 510 Burger had shut up shop and neither Skylite Snowballs nor The Taco Guys were anywhere to be seen. (At 8.27 pm, tweeter ak3700 posted a photo of a disappointed young customer who had no doubt been looking forward a Red Velvet treat.) The prospect of rain had been enough to deter some, it seems.

Hapa SF, Liba Falafel, and Brass Knuckle were going strong however. … Continue reading »

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Off The Grid to launch street food event in Berkeley

Off The Grid, which is launching in north Berkeley, currently has six San Francisco locations, including Haight Ashbury. Photo: xxxxx
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Off The Grid is launching its first event outside San Francisco and, starting next month, a regular group of street food vendors will set up shop every Wednesday evening in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.

The move signals a switch of direction for Berkeley which, until now, has not made it easy for mobile food trucks to operate in the city. It is also a coup for the North Shattuck Association which paved the way for successful negotiations and prevented the event from going to another East Bay location, such as Oakland, although other East Bay venues are likely in future.

After launching its inaugural event a year ago in Fort Mason, Off The Grid now brings street food vendors together daily in six locations across San Francisco. Organizer Matt Cohen said they had been searching for an East Bay location for some time.

“We looked at the core values of serving great street food and we’re so happy we’ve settled on Gourmet Ghetto,” he said. “We emphasize local, sustainable, organic food, so what better place to launch than in the heart of Berkeley’s food revolution?”

Starting on June 1, permitting issues allowing, eight to 10 mobile food trucks will start operating at the intersection of Shattuck and Rose, using the same footprint as Thursday’s Berkeley Farmers’ Market. They will be there, serving an array of bite-sized dishes, from 5-9pm. Those that are already confirmed include Cupkates, Liba Falafel, Hapa SF and The Taco Guys. The Crème Brulée Guy is also a likely presence. The line-up will alternative every few weeks with four to five new vendors coming in at regular intervals. … Continue reading »

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New plans unveiled for Safeway store on Shattuck

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Safeway’s new designs for a remodeled store on Shattuck Avenue will make the grocery store an integral part of the lively Gourmet Ghetto.

The new plans, which were unveiled July 26, call for outdoor benches and café seating along Shattuck Avenue, as well as the installation of large windows that will allow pedestrians to see inside the store.

“Today’s design is a vast improvement over the current store — both inside and out,” Elisabeth Jewell, Safeway’s community and government … Continue reading »

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Arts

A fittingly foodie mural for the Gourmet Ghetto

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A group of local artists, teachers, chefs and community organizers is working to produce a mural on the south-facing wall of Virginia Bakery at 1690 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley (above).

The theme of the piece will be sustainable agriculture and the Slow Food culture of North Berkeley. The artists have worked with students from MLK Middle School this year to develop ideas and images that will be incorporated into the mural, and they are … Continue reading »

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