Tag Archives: Solano Avenue

Bites: Vegan butcher shop plans go kaput, more

The former La Farine location on Solano Avenue. Photo: Whitney Moss/Twitter
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Openings, closings

VEGAN BUTCHER SHOP NO LONGER COMING TO SOLANO Last fall, we brought you news of a vegan butcher shop and deli called The Butcher’s Son that was moving into the former La Farine location on Solano Avenue. We’re sorry to report that the butcher shop has pulled out of the location. According to a Twitter tip, there is a sign up on the building indicating that it is now for lease. On the Butcher’s Son Facebook page, the owners Peter Fikaris and Christina Stobing have stated that they decided to abandon the location due to “a number of disagreements with the property owners.” Fakirs and Stobing are currently hosting pop-ups and delivering lunchtime meals on Mondays while they look for a new location. … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley the Blue Glove Crew clean up — at speed

Karen Nierlich shows trash she cleared from a storm drain's grate.
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It all started with a desire to lose weight. Six years ago, Allen Cain, Executive Director of the Solano Avenue Association and Solano Stroll, decided as a New Year’s resolution to shed some pounds, set an example for his daughter, and help tidy up the North Berkeley street at the heart of his organization. How would he do this? With regular power walks/trash pick-up expeditions.

Cain spent roughly three years walking, at a feverish pace, up and then back down Solano, cleaning up en route. Eventually others joined him and, thus, the Blue Glove Crew was born.

Berkeleyside contributing photographer Pete Rosos joined the crew for several of their walks recently, and created the photo essay published here. … Continue reading »

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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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Bites: Fieldwork Brewing opens in Berkeley, more

Fieldwork Brewing Company menu. Photo: Fieldwork Brewing's Facebook
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Openings, closings…

FIELDWORK BREWING OPENS The newest West Berkeley brewery is up and running after previewing its beers during SF Beer Week. Fieldwork Brewing Company‘s taproom, at Sixth and Harrison streets, offers guests a rotating selection of seasonal and limited release brews in addition to its flagship offerings. Beers on tap right now include Fieldwork’s Double IPA, Rye Pale Ale, Burning Daylight IPA, Morning Time Breakfast Stout, and Hella Revolutionary, a collaboration with Altamont Beer Works in Livermore. On the food menu are British-style meat, vegetable and vegan pies (“pasties”) made by Oakland’s The Pie Shop. Fieldwork plans to host beer-pairing dinners in the future, as well as pairing seminars and scheduled tours. It is also selling beer to-go in 32- and 64-ounce refillable Fieldwork growlers. Leading the beer program is Alex Tweet, formerly of Modern Times Beer and Ballast Point Brewing, both in San Diego. Fieldwork Brewing is at 1160 Sixth St. (at Harrison Street), Berkeley. Connect with the brewery on Facebook and Twitter.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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Bites: Johnny B’s, Habit Burger Grill open, more

Johnny B's Café. Photo: John Bajek
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Openings, closings

JOHNNY B’S COMES TO WEST BERKELEY There’s a new spot to grab sandwiches and coffee in West Berkeley. Johnny B’s Café has just opened up shop next to Strawberry Creek Park on Addison Street, in the former Café Zeste location. Owner John Bajek tells us that his corned beef and roasted chicken sandwiches are his bestsellers so far. In addition, he is serving soups, freshly made salads and pastries, with plenty of gluten-free options. Johnny B’s is at 1250 Addison St., Suite 110 (near Bonar Street), Berkeley.Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House. Photo: 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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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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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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Bites: Rosamunde Sausage and Plum expand, more

Rosamunde Sausage & Grill will open in Oakland's Temescal. Photo: Rosamunde
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Openings, closings…

SAUSAGE GRILL TO TEMESCAL Rosamunde Sausage Grill is set to open in the old Good Bellies Café space at 4659 Telegraph Ave. It’s the second East Bay location for the sausage and craft beer purveyor, which is also at Swan’s Marketplace in Old Oakland. Inside Scoop SF reports that owner Josh Margolis thinks Temescal’s restaurant row, with all its buzz, is “a great place to be.” It’s the fifth Rosamunde location — others are in San Francisco and Brooklyn. Rosamunde Sausage Grill will be at 4659 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Connect with Rosamunde on Facebook and Twitter.

UME IS NO MORE It’s only been the blink of an eye, but Oakland’s Ume, next door to Plum Bar, both part of the Daniel Patterson Group empire, has been shuttered. It will re-open as an expanded Plum Bar & Restaurant, according to the Bay Area News Group. Plum became Japanese-centric Ume — Japanese for “plum” —  just four months ago, while Plum Bar next door continued as was. The newly configured spot will offer a seasonal menu of “Americana flavors,” including biscuit sandwiches, Plum Bar burgers, and soft-serve desserts from the Malted, a hit at San Francisco’s Alta CA, another Patterson eatery. A Patterson Group rep told Inside Scoop SF that Ume was “always meant to be a pop-up to see if that format/style worked for the neighborhood,” and that ultimately it was decided “that expanding Plum Bar made the most sense for the community.” Plum Bar is at 2216 Broadway (near 22nd Street) in Oakland. Connect with Plum Bar on Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading »

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

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

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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
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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 »

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In Memoriam: Ron Cauble, founder of The Bone Room

Ron Cauble in The Bone Room. Photo: Kaia Diringer
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Ron Cauble, who founded two iconic stores, The Bone Room and Vivarium, died unexpectedly July 19.

Cauble, who also went by the nickname “Dr. Science” 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 »

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