Update, Feb. 27, 1:47 p.m.: Earlier this week, The Juice Bar Collective filed a dissolution of the worker-owned collective with the California Secretary of State. The collective’s dissolution was first reported by the Daily Cal on Feb. 26. Nosh spoke with Malcolm Leader-Picone, the collective’s attorney, who said the Gourmet Ghetto business is closing on Feb. 28 and is not relocating to Center Street as Nosh reported. Leader-Picone would not give details about why the collective dissolved, but said the business was “no longer viable” and that the three remaining members were concentrating on their last days on Vine Street. He also said they were working on a new project, but when asked if it was the Center Street restaurant, Leader-Picone would not comment, except to say what they’re doing will not be the Juice Bar Collective nor will it be a collective-run business. The note posted at the café announcing “new digs on Center Street” has been removed.
Update, Feb. 22, 11:34 a.m.: The Juice Bar Collective will relocate to 2132 Center St., in the former Sliver Pizzeria space. According to the collective, they are moving because the current space on Vine Street requires $200,000 in repairs that the landlord is unwilling to make. In the larger space, the new iteration will be a different concept than the current juice-smoothie-lunch spot, with longer hours and even cocktails made with fresh juices. Customers should expect some of the Juice Bar’s current favorites on its menu, like its black bean polenta casserole and other vegetarian and vegan dishes, but the new spot will likely not reopen under the Juice Bar Collective name. The collective is still considering names for the new spot, when it opens in April.
Original story, Feb. 21: The Juice Bar Collective, one of Berkeley’s first worker-owned food businesses, is closing its doors at 2114 Vine St., the shop’s location for the last 42 years. Its last day of service at the space will be Feb. 28.
According to a note posted Thursday at the café, the collective will be opening up in new digs on Center Street in April.
“We are so thankful for the community that has supported us in Berkeley for the last 42 years and we cannot wait to continue seeing and serving you at our new location on Center Street in Berkeley this April! Come join us Monday April 1 to celebrate new beginnings,” reads the note.
Nosh spoke to the Juice Bar Collective last week to check in on some changes at the business noticed by readers, not least that it was no longer serving its famous roast turkey sandwich. One reader wrote, “The Juice Bar in the Gourmet Ghetto no longer serves turkey and has gone over to a totally vegetarian menu. It has also changed its hours from 10 to 4 to just 10 to 2.” Another expressed her concern about the changes: “I have been going to the Juice Bar since before my kids were born — my son is now 24! Like the Cheese Board Collective, the Juice Bar is a Berkeley institution. I just went there this weekend for some of their famous noodle salad and the place looked abandoned. I was so shocked, I asked the people working there what was going on…”
Nosh was then notified today on Twitter that the owner-employees of this Berkeley institution were holding back much bigger news.
The Juice Bar opened on Vine Street in 1976 and helped form the neighborhood we now know as the Gourmet Ghetto, along with other iconic food businesses like the first Peet’s coffee shop on the corner of Walnut and Vine streets, opened by Alfred Peet in 1966; The Cheese Board Collective, which started in 1967; and Chez Panisse, opened by Alice Waters in 1971.
When it first opened, the Juice Bar Collective sold two just things: juice and soup, but eventually, it expanded its menu of healthy, often vegetable-focused fare, to include salads, a variety of casseroles and sandwiches.
In the last few months, the collective, which now has a staff of three, has narrowed its menu and hours.