Tag Archives: Telegraph Avenue

Photos: Goodbye to Berkeley’s iconic Caffe Med

Last day at Caffe Med. Photo: Ted Friedman
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A crowd turned out Thursday evening for the send-off of Caffe Med, the storied Telegraph Avenue café that has seen more than its share of city history, is referred to as the “home of the latte,” and — famously — was featured in the movie The Graduate.

After six decades on Telegraph, Caffe Mediterraneum to use its full name, is now closed. Longtime owner Craig Becker has transferred the lease to a group of restaurateurs.

Read more about Caffe Med on Berkeleyside.

Becker spoke at Thursday’s event, which doubled as the Telegraph Avenue Business District’s holiday party, as did Berkeley’s newly sworn-in mayor, Jesse Arreguín.

Becker plans to hand over the keys to the café, which is at 2475 Telegraph, on Jan. 1 and, after an extensive renovation, the café is expected to reopen some time next year. It is not known whether the name, or any other aspect of the place, will be retained.

Contributing photographer Ted Friedman, a regular at Caffe Med, took the photographs published here. … Continue reading »

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Big changes for Telegraph Avenue dining scene

New Sequoia building Photo: Max Cherney
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By Arielle Gordon-Rowe and Kate Williams

Around 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2011, a devastating fire broke out at 2441 Haste St., the site of the Sequoia apartment building. The historic building, constructed in 1916, had been a home to not only dozens of Berkeley residents housed in the 39 apartment units, but also beloved restaurants Raleigh’s and Cafe Intermezzo. The fire left the building gutted and it was eventually torn down. A charred facade was left for years, a reminder of the building’s past, until this year, when a new Sequoia Building rose again.

Students now live in the new, 42-unit building, which is still owned by Kenneth and Greg Ent, and next year, those long-lost restaurants will reopen. When they do, the new Mezzo — formerly Café Intermezzo — and Raleigh’s will join a decidedly different crop of Southside restaurants, coffee shops and bars than those on the avenue in 2011, a crop that includes an ever-growing group of local and national chains in addition to smaller, homegrown eateries. … Continue reading »

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Caffe Med changing hands; last day will be Nov. 30

Caffe Mediterraneum in 2014. Photo: Ted Friedman
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After six decades on Telegraph Avenue, Caffe Mediterraneum will close — at least temporarily.

Longtime owner Craig Becker has transferred the lease of the iconic café, which is known, among many other things, as the home of the latte, to a group of restaurateurs. Its last day in its current incarnation will be Nov. 30. Becker will clean out the restaurant through the month of December and hand over the keys Jan. 1. After an extensive renovation, the café will reopen in 2017.

So far, it is unknown if the the new owners will keep the Caffe Mediterraneum name.

Read more about Caffe Med on Berkeleyside.

The lease transfer was a long time coming; Becker first listed the café in 2014, but it has taken this long to find the right people to take over, he said. “People had come by and wanted to lease it but they weren’t willing to do what we needed,” he said. “They wanted to do it halfway; we didn’t want that.”

What’s needed is a full kitchen remodel and the addition of wheelchair-accessible bathrooms. Other changes, Becker said, are still “undetermined,” and up to the new owners. Regardless, said Becker, “we’re really excited about the group.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police arrest teen after gunfire on Telegraph

An officer keeps watch outside Pappy's on Telegraph in 2013 (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, 10:20 p.m. Norris is from El Sobrante and no weapons were recovered, police said.

Update, 4:33 p.m. Police arrested Meleko Norris, 18, at 2:33 a.m. on suspicion of willful discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, carrying a concealed weapon, carrying a loaded firearm in a public place, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at 9 a.m. at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse and remains in custody with a bail of $240,000.

Original story, 4:28 a.m. A man in a crowd was arrested after police said he fired several rounds on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley early Sunday morning.

Berkeley Police watch commander Lt. Alyson Hart said he fired the gun on Telegraph between Channing and Durant. There were no injuries, she said. No further information was provided.

According to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, the incident took place around 1:45 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Police were already in the area because of large crowds blocking the roadway between Channing and Durant at around 1 a.m.

The crowd was at times described by police as “hostile,” with some people throwing bottles at cars that tried to pass by, police said. Firefighters called to the area were told to wait outside a perimeter for a police escort because there was “a big riot around Pappy’s” Grill, at 2367 Telegraph, according to the scanner recording. … Continue reading »

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Latest plan calls for pedestrian-oriented Telegraph Avenue

Passage and Berm (3D View). To create a safer more active passage, a canopy of light will be formed along cables suspended by existing trees and poles. A 4-foot corru- gated metal wall will be brightly painted and separate the passage from a landscaped berm. Tree branches are not shown to make other featrues more visible.
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To glimpse Telegraph Avenue as its visionaries and community leaders see it is to view a thriving, bustling European-like utopia, complete with pedestrian plaza, solar-powered trash cans, and enough parklets and bicycle racks to make even the most cynical hipster swoon.

The ambitious if bureaucratically titled “Telegraph Public Realm Plan” has a sweeping vision that’s soon to hit the pavement — first in increments and demonstrations, and then, if all goes well, full-fledged cosmetic surgery for the historic avenue.

Read more about developments on Telegraph Avenue.

“We began with near-term design interventions we can make that would be noticeable and create some buzz around the avenue,” Matt Taecker, of Taecker Planning and Design, told Berkeleyside in a phone interview. The designs were created by Taecker and Alex Bergtraun of Studio Bergtraun.

“Simultaneously, we were thinking about the long-term vision, and we also came up with something that is quite interesting: it’s a shared street, a plaza, where you allow cars to drive. But it’s a pedestrian-oriented space and the cars will pass slowly because you’ve done certain things design-wise.”

Two demonstration projects are set to kick off the changes, with the aim of testing and refining design features, and making significant changes that are light on the city’s wallet. … Continue reading »

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Eatsa in Berkeley automates the dining experience

Scott Drummond, the co-founder of Eatsa, outside the Telegraph Avenue branch. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The new automated eatery Eatsa on Telegraph Avenue will hold its grand opening Tuesday and its founders hope it will appeal to health-minded individuals in a hurry. As Nosh reported in July, Berkeley is the third Bay location for the unusual restaurant, which has two outposts in San Francisco, as well as one in Los Angeles.

Visitors who stop by the sleek restaurant at 2334 Telegraph Ave., about a half-block south of campus (in the former Crêpes A-Go-Go), can order vegetarian salads, bento boxes, burrito bowls and quinoa bowls with a variety of toppings and dressings from one of the iPad-equipped kiosks. And while they won’t see anyone making their food – the production process is a well-guarded trade secret – their order will be ready to pick up from glass boxes in just a few minutes. Alternatively, diners can order on an app and have their bowls waiting when they arrive.

“We have an incredibly convenient experience,” Scott Drummond, one of the co-founders, said Friday at a press preview. “People can get their food within two to three minutes. It’s all really flavorful, satisfying and super nutritious with a price people correlated with fast food.” … Continue reading »

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Merchants see recent changes on Telegraph Avenue as mostly positive

Mad Monk interior Photo Courtesy Stuart Baker
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As Mel Ash presents a potential site for a new mural on the Haste Street-side wall of the recently opened Mad Monk: Center for Anachronistic Media on Telegraph Avenue, a woman standing nearby methodically tears a book apart. Pulling one page at a time from the old volume, she carefully sets each page on the pavement in an array around her. After finishing his description, Ash turns to the woman and reminds her not to make a mess — that she can hang out, but he won’t tolerate her littering outside Mad Monk. “I’ll pull up my pants, and put my shoes on,” she grumbles, and promises to tidy the pages.

Read more about Telegraph Avenue on Berkeleyside.

Claiming that Telegraph Avenue has shaken its “seen better days” reputation and been completely revitalized would be a mistake. To wit, across the avenue from Mad Monk on the northeast corner of Telegraph and Haste, the infamous Heroin Hotel lot remains a fenced-off vacant lot. A Drug Free Zone city sign there has been altered by an unknown interloper to read simply “Drug Zone.” … Continue reading »

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Automated license plate readers will help parking availability but some express concern about privacy issues

A picture of the ALPR from Genetec, which is providing the devices for Berkeley
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Berkeley has launched a program to use a controversial technology that automatically reads license plates on cars to optimize and enforce parking, part of a larger effort to encourage more Berkeley residents not to drive.

The program, which began in May, aims to make the tedious and time-consuming process of conducting manual surveys of downtown parking — which takes more than two months from start to finish — more efficient, Matthai Chakko, city spokesman, told Berkeleyside. The city uses data from the surveys — how often and at what times parking spaces are occupied, for example — to adjust parking pricing and time limits based on people’s behavior.

“It’s extremely labor intensive to input every single license plate and license plate readers automate the manual data collection,” Chakko said, adding that it improved the accuracy of the assessments and allows them to be conducted more frequently. The readers also eliminate the need to manually chalk tires to enforce time limits, he said.

But some civil libertarians have expressed concern that the data collected by police can be used to track the movements of individuals and have called for tighter control of the data collected. The Police Review Commission is set to discuss the technology and its implications at a future meeting. It was going to discuss the issue Wednesday but the meeting was canceled due to lack of a quorum, according to Katherine J. Lee, who staffs the commission.

Berkeley has equipped five parking enforcement vehicles with the automated license plate readers (ALPR), which will also be used to conduct parking enforcement — such as booting or towing vehicles with more than five citations that are more than 30 days old — and search for stolen cars. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley council denies landmark status for The Village

The Village. Photo: Emily Dugdale
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The Berkeley City Council on Tuesday, June 14, rejected an appeal to landmark The Village, the eccentric collection of restaurants and small businesses at 2556 Telegraph Ave. A seven-story mixed-use project is planned for the site. In January, the Landmarks Preservation Commission had denied landmark designation to the two-story The Village, which dated in its current form to 1972.

Public comment on the appeal at the council meeting elicited extreme reactions on both sides.

“It’s a bit of a dump,” said John Caner, CEO, Downtown Berkeley Association, speaking in a personal capacity.

“This is a site and a place of high significance,” said John Mink, one of the appellants on the appeal. “This is a very important cultural, architectural, historic and educational landmark in Berkeley.”  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Center Street garage to close June 30

Designs are coming along for an updated Center Street garage. Image: Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects
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Berkeley’s Center Street garage is set to close at the end of the month to make way for a modern, new garage with hundreds more parking spots.

The 70-year-old garage, which has entrances on Center and Addison streets, will close June 30, the city said Wednesday. The new structure will include 720 parking spaces, compared to the current 420.

The new structure is scheduled to re-open by fall 2017.

The new garage’s more efficient design will more easily move cars through the structure. It will also add valet and self-storage for over 300 bicycles, creating the largest such bicycle storage in the City,” according to city staff. 

Read more about the Center Street garage in past coverage.

The new design is set to include “rooftop solar panels, high-efficiency LED lighting, a rainwater collection system to bio-filter and store water for irrigation. It will also be the hub of a micro-grid that provides emergency power.” There are also 19 electric vehicle charging stations.
Continue reading »

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Romeo’s Coffee headed to former Shakespeare & Co.

Romeo's Coffee will open in the former Shakespeare & Co. location at Telegraph Avenue and Dwight Way.  Photo: Ted Friedman
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After sitting vacant for close to a year, the former location of Telegraph Avenue bookstore Shakespeare & Co. will see new light. Highly caffeinated light, that is.

Starting in June, a new coffee shop — Romeo’s Coffee — will begin to take shape. Its name was serendipitous, said owner Dino Micheletti. He had already ironed out the concept, which revolves around “lovers of coffee,” before visiting the location with Ito Ripsteen, who is managing the remodel of the building at 2499 Telegraph. “I went to meet with him and looked up and saw the Shakespeare sign,” he said. “I said to him, ‘Do you know what our name is? It’s Romeo’s Coffee.'”  … Continue reading »

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The riches of Rag Theater: Nacio Jan Brown’s Berkeley

Photo: Nacio Jan Brown
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For decades, Telegraph Avenue has been the Boulevard of Unconventional Berkeley — a Bohemian enclave, then the Free Speech Movement, anti-Vietnam War, People’s Park, hippies, punks, street people. Before the Big Changes of the late 1960s, on Telegraph you could buy out-of-town and foreign-language newspapers, croissants, espresso drinks, Turkish cigarettes and Gauloises.

You could watch foreign-language films at the Cinema Guild and Cinema Studio, and read what Pauline Kael had to say about the movies, and play chess, and everywhere was Baroque music and folk music. There were boutiques and haberdasheries and art galleries and mom-and-pop grocery stores. And the used bookstores! What a world! We were Athens, this was our Bleecker Street, our Boulevard Saint Michel with a touch, perhaps, of Bourbon Street and Dylan’s Desolation Row. … Continue reading »

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Stateside Bakery transforming into Stateside Treats

When Stateside Bakery changes its name to Stateside Treats, it will add ice cream tacos to the menu. Photo: Benjamin Seto
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Stateside Bakery in Berkeley lets you relive your childhood, giving you permission to indulge in sugary treats that look like Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes and Oreo cookies. But its versions of these nostalgic treats are better — they’re made with high-quality natural ingredients and no preservatives.

I finally got to try Stateside Bakery recently when I visited its tiny store on Telegraph Avenue across from Whole Foods. I was thrilled to see what looked like Hostess Cupcakes and big Oreo cookies, but sad that they were out of their Twinkies, or what they call “Twinkles” for obvious trademark reasons. … Continue reading »

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