RISING FROM THE ASHES Good news for fans of Breads of India. The restaurant at 2448 Sacramento St., which was seriously damaged by a fire in September, plans to reopen sometime in mid-June, according to the owner Rohit Singh. Construction to repair the building started in late April after many months navigating insurance issues and city permits, he said. When the restaurant reopens it will feature the same menu with changing daily specials, but the space will be updated and ADA compliant. The Sacramento Street location was the first Breads of India location – it opened in 1997 – and it’s been tough having it closed, said Singh. There are two other branches, one in Oakland and one in Walnut Creek.
SUSHI, SASHIMI AND MORE Tomo Owada, who has trained and worked as a sushi chef for 20 years, including five years at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, is striking out on his own to open a restaurant that features traditional Japanese fare with a California influence. Tomo’s Japanese Cuisine at 2026 San Pablo Ave. near University will open its doors Wednesday, May 8. In addition to sushi and sashimi, Tomo’s will offer bento boxes, tempura, noodles and its house specialty: Napa cabbage rolls, stuffed with spinach and soaked in house soup stock. (see photo) Owada will seek out local and sustainable ingredients. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and will offer take-away service.
CAMERAS ON THE MOVE After 30 years at 2848 Telegraph Ave., on the corner of Oregon, Looking Glass Photo is moving. The store had grown so popular that on some days customers would have to line up to get inside the 4,000-square-foot place, according to Jen Waicukauski, who owns Looking Glass Photo with her father. The store is relocating in mid to late July to a 7,500 square foot place at 1045 Ashby Ave. in the old Heinz factory complex, right next to Orchard Supply Hardware, she said. “We have been climbing all over ourselves trying to fit everything in there (the Telegraph Avenue store),” said Waicukauski. The new store “is about twice the size. We’ve needed the space for a long time now.” Looking Glass Photo was started by Peter Psersick in 1971, purchased by John Kaplan around 2002, and then purchased by Waicukauski five years ago. Waicukauski started working at the store in 1999, she said. There will be a party before the move to celebrate the Telegraph Avenue location, she said. (Hat tip: Gary Allen and Ira Serkes)
GREEN EARTH CAFÉ CLOSES The Green Earth Café and Bakery, which opened at 2124 Center St. in January 2012, shut its doors abruptly in mid-April. “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that Green Earth Café and Bakery in Downtown Berkeley will be closing immediately due to family illness,” the owners, Barbara Johnston-Brown and Ciren Zhuoga, posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Johnston-Brown, who was a nurse and classically trained chef, opened the vegan and macrobiotic restaurant after two of her sisters had died of breast cancer and she herself had been diagnosed, according to this article in the Huffington Post. (Hat tip: Liza Lutzker)
ADIOS PICOSO Picoso Taqueria, tucked inside Epicurious Garden on Shattuck Avenue, closed last week. The tiny restaurant served an array of Mexican dishes but was especially known for its tacos. No word on the reason behind the sudden closure.
Shop Talk is our 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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