Tag Archives: Solano Avenue
The possible transformation into a performance space of the shuttered Oaks Theater on Solano Avenue remains uncertain, but the final word on the deal could come sometime in November, according to several people involved with the transaction.
In the meantime, local real estate agent and council member Laurie Capitelli has been raising awareness, surveying the public and drumming up pledges of financial support to the tune of more than $120,000. … Continue reading »
LOOKING GLASS PHOTO The venerable Berkeley camera store is having a grand opening celebration Oct. 19-20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., to celebrate its new location at 1045 Ashby Ave. in the old Heinz family complex. The store had been at 2848 Telegraph Ave. for 30 years, but had grown so popular that, on some days, there was a line outside the 4,000-square-foot space, said Jen Waicukauski, who owns Looking Glass Photo with her father. The new store is twice that size and is offering “a better customer experience.” There will be free workshops, seminars and a raffle at the celebration. Reps from Canon, Nikon, Sony and elsewhere will be on hand, too. … Continue reading »
The Oaks Theater on Solano Avenue may be getting another lease at life.
City Councilman Laurie Capitelli and the Youth Musical Theater Company are launching a task force to transform the theater on Solano into a multi-use venue. The task force has already started reaching out to the numerous Berkeley arts organizations operating without a permanent space in the hopes of attracting a group of anchor tenants.
“We’d like to see some activity going on at the theater every night,” Capitelli, who represents the Solano Avenue area on the council, said. “Bringing in a simulcast of a Paris opera, having special events like the Academy Awards or the Super Bowl. We’re thinking of children’s matinee films, a summer series for kids who are out of school. Also panels, discussions, symposiums, etc.”
The Oaks Theater has long been an anchor site on Solano Avenue, but it has sat dark and vacant for the past two years. It was built as a single-screen theater in 1925 and upgraded to two screens in 1973. Renaissance Rialto Theaters operated the Oaks between 1994 and 2005, and then the Metropolitan Theaters Corporation ran it until 2010. Merriment Media used the theater to show Bollywood flicks for several months in 2010, but the company lost its lease after it failed to pay rent for three months. … Continue reading »
Labor Day weekend may be over, but Bay Area residents can still look forward to some downtime at the Solano Stroll. The East Bay’s largest street festival is back on Sunday Sept. 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors can celebrate the Stroll’s 39th year with a mile-long stretch of attractions, including fantastic food, music, rides and live entertainment.
The annual festival, which is hosted each year by Albany and Berkeley, will feature 500 street vendors, as well as all the businesses and organizations that line Solano Avenue’s 26 blocks. The event is expected to draw 250,000 visitors, including folks from across California and from neighboring states.
In a departure from previous years — which have seen zany themed parades like 2012′s “Step into the Future”– the theme this year will be a little toned down.
“It’s simply red: how much red can you wear and how creatively can you wear it,” said Allen Cain, who has been the principal organizer of the Stroll for the past six years and is the guru of all things Solano. “We’re trying a new thing to bring the focus back to the district as a place where you can come every day as opposed to highlighting the district as a place you come to for just one event,” Cain said. … Continue reading »
Come along with Nosh as we explore East Bay restaurants in photographs. This week we focus on Ajanta restaurant in Berkeley. Chef Lachu Moorjani began offering a tasting menu in the winter. It costs $27 — or $24 for the vegetarian version — and must be ordered by everyone at the table. Moorjani shifts the menu, representing the “best of the best” at Ajanta, slightly each month. (Ajanta invited Nosh to come check out the new menu, and provided the food pictured here free of charge.)
If you’ve tried the spots we feature, please let us know about your experience in the comments below. If you’d like to submit your own photo gallery for consideration from a meal you enjoyed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also add photographs to our Flickr group. (Scroll down for captions. Photos by Emilie Raguso.) … Continue reading »
Café Raj’s open kitchen belongs to one man, whose commitment and concentration are evident as he shakes, stirs and tosses spices into a half dozen pans filled with aromatic curries, simultaneously bubbling on the range-top. He is Raj Raja, owner and chef of the Albany restaurant. Depending on the time of day, five to ten women complement his cooking crew by grinding spices, mixing chutneys and raita, slapping circles of naan dough onto the scorching sides of the tandoor ovens, and plating and serving dishes to eager diners.
During a momentary lull, I approach Raja with questions for our arranged interview, but find him soft-spoken, seemingly more comfortable cooking than talking. He defers my inquiries to his wife, Rosemarie Eichner-Raja, who tells me “My husband is shy.” But he’s also obviously busy, overseeing every single plate that comes out of his kitchen. “He does 200 or more curries a day, Rosemarie explains, “and every dish is made fresh to order, tailored specially for each guest.” … Continue reading »
Local artist Priscilla de Mesa shared these photographs with Berkeleyside via our Flickr group after taking a photowalk on Solano Avenue. (The Berkeleyside Flickr group is a great way to share your great shots with us — we invite you to try it out.) See more from Priscilla here on Flickr. If you have Berkeley photographs you’d like to share with us, and are not on Flickr, you can do so via email (mail to email@example.com) or … Continue reading »
Has anyone shared the sentiment: “We are not going to take it anymore!”
Has anyone noticed the “State law… yield to pedestrians” mid-road yellow floppy bollard signs that are trashed, bent down — destroyed by angry drivers on Solano Avenue? Is this a spontaneous expression of mature activists furiously battering down public property? Individuals or organized?
Are these civic-minded residents fed up — ‘fighting back’ — shocked over the latest imposition of recent street reconfigurations that put cars on a “road diet” by “taking out” a lane … Continue reading »
Update, Dec. 26: The decision has been appealed and appears to be scheduled for the March 5, 2013, meeting of the City Council.
Original story, posted Nov. 9: AT&T wireless customers near Solano Avenue may be one step closer to better cell reception with the approval Thursday night of plans for 12 new antennas to be mounted on the Oaks Theatre.
The Zoning Adjustments Board approved the plans, which city staff said were in compliance with all relevant federal and municipal codes.
According to the project description prepared by city staff, AT&T would install 12 antennas and nine cabinets on a steel platform 12 feet above an existing walkway. (The Oaks Theatre closed in January 2011 after its last owner, Rama Sagiraji, was unable to cover his running costs, and the lease has been up for grabs since then.)
Eight of the antennas would be installed at the southeast corner of the building “behind new Radio Frequency Transparent screening” that would be painted to match the building. Four of the antennas would be installed behind a similar screen at the west façade. … Continue reading »
Laurie Capitelli showed up at Peet’s Coffee on Solano Avenue at 7:30 a.m. on Friday to wait for some trees – 37 of them in fact.
After two years of bureaucratic wrangling involving numerous agencies, including the city of Berkeley Forestry and Public Works departments, Caltrans, Alameda County Transportation Department, the Solano Avenue Business Improvement District, and some utility companies, Councilman Capitelli was itching to see a set of red maple trees be planted along Solano Avenue. His hopes were realized around 9:30 a.m. when a city of Berkeley truck drove up with a set of trees ready to go into the ground.
When the 37 trees are planted, they will join four others on a stretch from The Alameda to Ensenada, eventually forming a 30-40 foot high string of green along the street.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Robin Dalrymple, the owner of iScream ice cream parlor on Solano. “It will add some ambiance to the street, especially as they grow. They will make the street more pedestrian oriented. The street is moving along.” … Continue reading »
Incumbent Laurie Capitelli and challenger Sophie Hahn will face off in November for the second time in a pitched battle for Berkeley’s District 5 City Council seat, in a race that has been tinged with allegations of distortion and ill will.
In 2008, Capitelli won District 5 re-election by defeating Hahn 4,299 to 3,898. But Hahn said Wednesday she believes her past four years of service and experience will help her come out on top in the polls on Nov. 6.
“I have a strong record of getting things done,” she said. “I do believe one person can make a difference. With hard work, collaboration, and really listening to and involving the community, you get good results for the community. And I think people recognize that. I think people have been waiting for a long time for change in Berkeley.”
So far, both candidates have raised about $30,000 for their campaigns. Each had $14,000 to $15,000 left in their coffers as of the most recent filing. The amount of money raised is second only to the mayor’s race on the ballot in Berkeley. … Continue reading »
Solano Avenue, one of Berkeley’s principal commercial districts, has been hit hard in recent years by recession-induced vacancies as well as more typical business turnover. But among small signs of a turnaround — like the move of Five Star Video to a new location near the top of the avenue — there’s a concerted effort by local businesses, the city and the local councilmember, Laurie Capitelli, to give a boost to Solano.
Some of the improvements — a series of pavement bulb outs — result from a 2009 grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for “Safe Routes for Transit”. Others are spurred by the Solano Business Improvement District’s (SBID) advisory board.
“We did a poll two years ago,” said Capitelli, “and it’s clear the people want more street seating and more trees. I’m thrilled to see it finally get going.”
The plans for Solano were presented last month at a public meeting of the SBID advisory board. David Peattie, a board member of the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association, took notes for Berkeleyside: … Continue reading »
Over the last two weeks Berkeleyside has listed almost 100 places where you can taste tachos, slurp soba, and make a meal out of momos (catch up with part 1, A to I and part 2, J to P). Down the track, we will bring you the back story to some of the people behind some of these places.
For now, you know the drill: Chime in below if there’s a nosh spot that’s missing from this list or if there’s a signature dish you want to single out at a particular place.
Oh, and as for the definition of ethnic (some readers quibbled about whether French or Italian joints should be in the mix) we’re thinking chefs who want to showcase a style of cooking specific to a region of the world — versus California cuisine or fusion food, though no doubt there’s some crossover.
Enjoy. … Continue reading »