Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

DOUBLE SHOT Fertile Grounds Café at 1796 Shattuck Ave, is adding a mezzanine with more tables which will double its seating capacity. The café has been open on and off during construction. Fertile Grounds opened in March 2002, shortly after owner Ayman Morrar graduated from UC Berkeley. Ayman’s goal is to have an intimate, cozy café, with an emphasis on quality food, and a vibrant, robust menu. Lebna plates, falafel, homemade hummus, grilled tuna sandwiches are among his most popular dishes. Fertile Grounds doubles as an art gallery, featuring exclusively Berkeley artists. Right now Julia Kosivchuk‘s work is on display. Follow the café’s progress on Facebook.

STUDENT SPOT A new café is opening across the street from the UC Berkeley campus. The Berkeley Floor Café, located at 2244 Bancroft Way, is in “soft launch” mode, according to the Daily Californian, and will be operating at full throttle once students are back at school. Owner Razan Faraj says the café will be a multifunctional space and will offer the usual hot and cold drinks, pastries, and some homemade dishes. Wine and beer are also on the menu. “The area needs us,” Faraj told the Daily Cal. “They just don’t know it yet.”

NOUVEAU VIETMAN  New, also in “soft opening” mode is Café V at 2056 San Pablo Ave. — although details are sketchy. The eatery serves Vietnamese-inspired food, according to Tablehopper, with a happy hour from 5:30pm-8pm. Opening hours are Tuesday through Thursday 5:30-10 p.m., Friday 5:30-11 p.m., Saturday 5:30-11:30 p.m., and the café is at 2056 San Pablo Ave. at Addison, Berkeley, 510-548-2222. Check them out on Facebook.

NEW HOURS, LUNCH Caffe Venezia at 1799 University has new daytime hours and a new lunch menu. The owners say they can also cater lunches for 20-100 people. The restaurant is open 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (full menu available from 11-3), with full bar, wine and beer. Typical menu items include summer tomato basil soup; farro salad with feta, parsley, and meyer lemon; and Roger’s famous meatball sub on Maggiora roll.

Shop Talk is Berkeleyside’s regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses — openings, closings, new directions, relaunches, relocations. If you’re a Berkeley business with news, or a Berkeleysider who has spotted a change in your neighborhood or on your travels, shoot us an email with the details. Read previous Shop Talk columns here.

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