Tag Archives: Solano Avenue

New paint on Berkeley Oaks Theatre: What does it mean?

The Oaks Theater has been painted recently. Photo: Mary Flaherty
Print Friendly

We’ve heard from some curious readers asking about the new paint job underway in North Berkeley on the façade of the Oaks Theatre, as well as the building it is part of, so Berkeleyside checked in with property owner John Gordon to find out what was happening.

Gordon said the building is being repainted to spruce it up, which could make it more attractive to potential tenants.

The pink and green striping on display earlier this week was simply primer — paint left over from other projects — which will be covered over as the job continues. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Nature’s Express closed; may re-open next week

Nature's Express on Solano Avenue is set to re-open Saturday. Photo: Nature's Express
Print Friendly

Popular North Berkeley restaurant Nature’s Express closed this week unexpectedly, with promises to re-open soon, leaving many nearby residents wondering what had taken place.

According to management, the vegan and vegetarian eatery at 1823 Solano Ave. has faced “abysmal” financial struggles and had to make changes, including staff reductions, to survive.

But former employees — many of whom quit in solidarity after several other staffers were let go — have launched a campaign to raise money as they look for new jobs, and to raise alarm bells about what they say are the negative business practices of new management. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

In Memoriam: Ron Cauble, founder of The Bone Room

Ron Cauble in The Bone Room. Photo: Kaia Diringer
Print Friendly

Ron Cauble, who founded two iconic stores, The Bone Room and Vivarium, died unexpectedly July 19.

Cauble, who also went by the nickname “Old Bones,” was a brilliant scientist and natural historian, with a doctorate in chemistry, experience with rocket science, and 23 years in the study of herpetology. He was a treasure in the Bay Area community. He is survived by many of his loyal customers and friends, his devoted employees, and his loving long-time partner Diana. Read a … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

La Farine on Solano in Berkeley closes abruptly

The La Farine bakery at 1820 Solano Avenue abruptly closed on Tuesday after failing to negotiate a new lease with its landlord. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Print Friendly

The La Farine bakery at 1820 Solano Ave. in North Berkeley abruptly shut its doors Tuesday, July 1, after failing to reach a lease agreement after a protracted battle with its landlords.

A telephone message on the company’s phone line says the store had to shut abruptly because it could not renew its lease, but that it hopes to relocate somewhere else on Solano Avenue.

“We are very very sad to leave,” said Jeff Dodge, the owner of La Farine for the last 17 years. “Plain speaking, we don’t have a lease, and when you can’t work something out with your landlord, you have to go.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Beloved Jodie’s Restaurant set to close June 14

Jodie's Restaurant, Albany, CA. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

Jodie’s Restaurant in Albany has announced it will likely have to close in eight days, citing ongoing problems with its landlord as well as insurmountable infrastructure upgrades that would need to be done by June 16.

Jodie’s posted a notice on Facebook about the closure shortly after noon Friday, June 6: “The obstacles and requirements required by law from Alameda County Health Department, the Fire District and the City of Albany to upgrade the infrastructure at 902 Masonic Avenue have proven to be too enormous for our resources to handle.”

Jodie’s is a family business that dates back to 1989. The style of the unique restaurant isn’t for everyone, but the hordes who love Jodie’s love it with a vengeance. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Potential Walgreens lawsuit brews as Berkeley officials tackle new drugstore ordinance

A rendering of the proposed Walgreens on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, a work in progress, and a project may be impacted by a proposed new zoning decision. Image: courtesy Agree Realty Corporation
Print Friendly

The city of Berkeley will have a new tool to halt the proliferation of large drugstores around town if a law to create buffer zones between them is approved by officials later this month.

Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council discussed the details of the new law, which would create a definition for drugstores and establish a 1,000-foot buffer zone between them.

The law, as proposed, would apply to drugstores larger than 5,000 square feet, and would be in effect in most “neighborhood commercial” zones in Berkeley except along Adeline Street and San Pablo Avenue. (Downtown, West Berkeley, part of Euclid Avenue, and University and Telegraph avenues would not be affected.)

Council consideration of the drugstore issue dates back to 2011, when officials asked the city Planning Commission to investigate how Berkeley might stop the spread of drugstores throughout town by creating buffer zones between them.

But it was a proposal last fall by Walgreens, which hopes to open in North Berkeley on Solano Avenue on the site of a 76 gas station at 1830 Solano, that brought the issue back into the public eye. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Commission votes to restrict large drugstores in Berkeley

Print Friendly

Regulation to limit the number of large drugstores in Berkeley was approved by the city’s Planning Commission on Wednesday night, sending the proposed zoning change to the City Council for a final decision.

If approved by the City Council, the law would prohibit a controversial new Walgreens from locating on 1830 Solano Ave., currently the site of a 76 gas station. It would also make it difficult for new drugstores to locate in several of the city’s neighborhood shopping areas. The vote was five in favor, one opposed, and two abstentions.

It could take a couple of months for the item to be ready for the council’s agenda, said city planner Alex Amoroso, planning commission secretary. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Berkeley to consider restricting large drugstores, future of proposed Solano Ave. Walgreens store in the balance

Walgreens2
Print Friendly

Berkeley is set to consider whether to limit the number of larger drugstores in the city, at least in certain neighborhoods, which may put a halt to disputed plans by Walgreens to open a new store on upper Solano Avenue.

The issue will be discussed at the city’s Planning Commission meeting Wednesday, March 19.

If the commission, a citizen’s group that advises the Berkeley City Council, approves drugstore zoning recommendations proposed by city staff, it will move Berkeley closer to legally prohibiting the proposed new Walgreens — a project that set in motion the city’s renewed examination of chain drugstore locations. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Berkeley marks Lunar New Year with street celebrations

Berkeley Lunar New Year 2014. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Print Friendly

A centuries old Chinese tradition of holding street performances came alive on Berkeley’s Fourth Street on Saturday with the neighborhood’s sixth annual celebration of the Lunar New Year (Solano Avenue also held its own event to ring in the Year of the Horse, on Sunday).

Bay Area troupe Kei Lun Martial Arts enacted vignettes of stories from Chinese opera, families participated in many free activities, including a martial arts demonstration and a lion dance, the lions blessed the local shops, and everyone joined in the parade.

Contributing photographer Nancy Rubin was there. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

Berkeley Oaks Theatre efforts stall in negotiations

A local group spearheaded by Councilman Laurie Capitelli hopes to turn the Oaks Theater into a community arts space. Photo: Oaks Theater Consortium
Print Friendly

[Editor's note: This story was updated at 1:15 p.m. with additional information from Councilman Laurie Capitelli.]

A local consortium’s attempts to come to an agreement to use North Berkeley’s Oaks Theatre on Solano Avenue and convert it into a community arts performance space have thus far been unsuccessful, reports Councilman Laurie Capitelli, who has spearheaded those efforts.

Capitelli provided an update to his constituents via email Friday. He thanked those who had expressed support for the venture, which kicked off last fall.

Last year, Capitelli, along with the Youth Musical Theater Company, formed a task force — the Oaks Theater Consortium — to spearhead the campaign to renovate the auditorium to remove the wall that separates the two theaters, take out several hundred seats from the balcony, and rebuild the main stage as a single performance space. The idea would be to bring together a group of anchor tenants from a range of arts organizations, and also potentially to offer simulcast viewings of special events like the Academy Awards or the Super Bowl, as well as host film festivals or smaller symposiums or panels. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Opponents of proposed Walgreens hope for zoning change

Walgreens-Solano
Print Friendly

UPDATE, 01.17.14: About 50 people showed up to the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday and about half of them expressed their concerns about the proposed Walgreens on Solano Avenue. The commission discussed the issues but did not reach any conclusions. It asked Berkeley senior planner Alex Amoroso to come back to the commission having done further research. In particular, the commission wants direction of the definition of the word ‘drugstore,’ and questioned whether stores like Walgreens can be classified as department stores. It has not been decided when the issue will come back to the commission.

ORIGINAL STORY: Local residents who oppose a new Walgreens planned on the current site of a gas station at 1830 Solano Ave. (at Colusa) in Berkeley are hoping a potential new zoning amendment might derail the drugstore chain’s plans.

The city’s Planning Commission tonight will review a proposed 2011 zoning ordinance that would limit the number of new or expanded drugstores to within 1,000 feet of each other. The City Council had asked the commission to provide direction on the issue, and the proposal for a new Walgreens on Solano has brought the issue to the front burner. The commission could support the proposal as written, recommend revisions or changes, or decide against a recommendation, leaving the status quo.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

Albany’s China Village is still firing on all cylinders

CV5
Print Friendly

I’ll admit it. When I first moved to the Bay Area last summer, I was so overwhelmed by the abundance and variety of Chinese restaurants that I mostly avoided them. I frankly didn’t want to make the wrong choice in Oakland or San Francisco’s Chinatown and sit down at a table of anything less than stellar. Sure, I’ve made a few pilgrimages to hipper-than-thou Mission Chinese, enduring painfully long waits for a table for a taste of Danny Bowien’s famous dish of the moment. I like Mission Chinese just fine, but I figured there had to be a restaurant somewhere in the area where dining was less of an ordeal.

Turns out, the perfect spot was right under my nose. Unfortunately it wasn’t open yet.

At the time, East Bay diners more knowledgeable than I were eagerly waiting for the beloved Albany Szechuan restaurant, China Village, to re-open after a devastating fire in the spring of 2012. Famous for its merciless use of chilies and thoughtful, ingredient-driven menu, China Village has long been recognized as one of the strongest Szechuan restaurants in the Bay Area. I learned of the restaurant shortly after it re-opened in July, and have been eating there at least once a month since. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

Walgreens’ Berkeley store plan inches divisively along

A rendering of the proposed Walgreens on Solano Avenue. Drawing courtesy Charles Kahn Architect
Print Friendly

A rumor circulating among those following the path of a proposed Walgreens on upper Solano Avenue that Berkeley architect Charles Kahn is no longer with the project is true. But extrapolations that this means efforts to build the store are in trouble are far from accurate, Khan said.

“Oh no, they’re full steam ahead,” said Kahn, who designed a building for the proposed project at the corner of Solano and Colusa avenues, the current site of a 76 gas station.

Confusion around Kahn’s role is just one of many emotive issues swirling around the controversial project, which is igniting strong opposition, including a Keep Walgreens Off Solano moveon.org petition with 1,401 signatures. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,