Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

side view of the Claremont Resort & Spa
The Claremont Hotel has been revamped under new ownership, and chef Dominique Crenn is helping open a new restaurant there. File photo

NEW RESTAURANT AT CLAREMONT HOTEL Twenty months after the Fairmont hotel group, FRHI Hotels & Resorts, acquired the Claremont, its multi-million dollar renovation is complete. The hotel (which has a Berkeley zipcode but is technically in Oakland) announced this week that Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn (who runs Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn, both in San Francisco), will oversee a new restaurant in the space formerly occupied by the Paragon, when it reopens in 2016. Eater SF reports that it will be a French brasserie named Antoinette. The hotel and resort’s new owners, who include Richard Blum, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, renovated 276 guest rooms (designed by Gensler), created a new Presidential Suite, and added a bar and tea room off the new, modern lobby. Now that the 100-year old hotel meets the Fairmont’s standards, it also has a new name: Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel.

Photo: Dog Days
A new dog-walking service has launched in Berkeley. Photo: Dog Days

DOG DAYS: BERKELEY DOG WALKING Newly established in Berkeley is Dog Day: Berkeley Dog Walking. Owner Elysia Davids offers one-hour walks, around the block or on the trail, as well as pet sitting. She says she has worked with dogs and cats in pet hotels, veterinary hospitals, and rescues. While still in community college, she helped her aunt walk dogs in San Francisco. Then, in the last year of her studies at UC Berkeley, she began to walk dogs in the Berkeley Hills. She also runs and walks dogs at The Milo Foundation in Point Richmond. Find out more at Dog Days: Berkeley Dog Walking and on Yelp. Tel: 916-320 3254 / dogdays.berkeley@gmail.com

Mandarin Garden restaurant: gutted. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Photo: Tracey Taylor

MANDARIN GARDEN RESTAURANT: BURNED A devastating fire destroyed Mandarin Garden restaurant at 2025 Shattuck Ave. (at University) in downtown Berkeley on Nov. 27. There were in fact two fires at the site — one just after midnight which the fire department said it extinguished, and a second one a few hours later which gutted the restaurant and was significant enough to require evacuations from nearby properties. Read more about the fire on Berkeleyside.

ICHIBAN: CLOSED Japanese restaurant Ichiban, at 2017 Shattuck Ave.in downtown Berkeley has closed. In its place Peter Kwong and his partner had hoped to open Venus Café this week. However the fire that destroyed the Mandarin Garden restaurant next door (see above) has put the kibosh on those plans. Kwong estimated it would take “a few months” before they could open the new café


Psychic Readings Photo: Tracey Taylor

PSYCHIC READINGS: CLOSED Psychic Readings, at 2999B College Ave. in the Elmwood has closed. The space is not likely to stay empty for long, however, as next-door-neighbor at 2999A Frame-O-Rama, a frame shop, has applied to the city to expand by knocking down the (non-bearing) wall between the two businesses.

Shop Talk is our regular column in which we post updates on Berkeley businesses. 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, and check out Bites for the latest East Bay restaurant news.