An Oakland-based olive oil and balsamic vinegar company is set to take over the store being vacated by Left Coast Cyclery at 2928 Domingo Avenue in the Claremont neighborhood.
Amphora: The Berkeley Olive Oil Works will open by the end of July, says co-owner Michael Bradley, who, with his wife Veronica has been running olive oil company Veronica Foods since the late 1980s. (Veronica is the grand-daughter of the founder of the business which was established in New York in 1924.)
This is the first bricks-and-mortar operation for the couple who until now have been supplying olive oil and vinegars to stores around the country. “We chose Berkeley because people are more educated and more interested in food here than elsewhere. They like to hear about the details and the breakdown of products,” says Michael Bradley.
The company’s focus is the freshness of olive oils rather than their provenance, although that is important too, says Bradley. “The freshness factor is overlooked. Olive oil is not like wine.” The emphasis on where the oil comes is misplaced in order of priority, Bradley says.
The store will sell more than a 100 single-variety olive oils and vinegars from around the world, including California. Customers will be encouraged to taste before they buy and Bradley is organizing classes by visiting experts from UC Davis and Australia among others. A class might look at how to tell the difference between a good and bad oil, for instance.
Bradley says they view the Domingo store as a trial and, if it is successful, they will open more. “Berkeley could support two or three olive oil stores,” he says.