CAFE LA RENAISSANCE Christina Sun, who owns 3045 Shattuck Ave., a building that has been a neighborhood flashpoint for years, has opened up a cozy cafe on the ground floor. Called Café La Renaissance (pictured top), the eatery two blocks south of Ashby Avenue opened its doors May 6 selling coffee and other beverages. Now it has introduced sandwiches, salads, pastries from The Bread Workshop, as well as gluten-free sandwiches from Sista Sandwich in Oakland. The interior is inviting, with couches, posters, a Renaissance-style oil painting, and a fireplace mantle. “Renaissance means rebirth,” said manager Dani Stewart. Sun “wanted to set up an environment where people could come and leave all their worries behind. It’s a play on words.” The building, once known as “the flying cottage,” was declared a public nuisance by the City Council in 2003. It was heavily damaged in a 2006 arson fire and then rebuilt. The hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
BAZAAR OF INDIA Bazaar of India has been a fixture at 1810 University Avenue since 1971. The store, owned by Kirpal and Neelan Khanna, was a destination for decades for Indians from throughout the Bay Area. They came to find Indian clothing, brass statues of Hindu gods, Indian music recordings, Hindu wedding altars, Ayurvedic herbs, and Indian food. In mid-April, after 42 years, Bazaar of India shut down and migrated to the web, according to Kirpal Khanna. He had sold the building and the new landlord had other plans for the space. So he moved some items next door to 1814 University (his son owns the space) and is selling at Bazaar of India and Indus Imports. “This way I don’t have to open the store at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. at night,” said Khanna. “It gives me more freedom to do things I want to do.” Khanna, 78, came to Berkeley from India in 1961. “I worked very hard. We made good money. I love Berkeley,” he said.
SUMO GRUB Sumo Grub, known for its deep fried pizza, Oreos and Twinkies, has shut its doors. The space at 2235 Miliva St., across the street from Berkeley High. had gotten too small, said owner Jason Sum, while the concept of his tempura battered deep-fried delicacies has grown. Sum has spent a lot of time in the last three years showcasing his fried food on the Food Network, the Discovery Channel, and other travel channels. Sum said he shut the store because he wants a better location and is considering a number of possibilities — anywhere from San Leandro to Las Vegas. He also wants to take some time to focus on his other restaurant, The Berkeley Thai House on Channing near Telegraph.
THE MIX PLUS The Mix Plus has opened in Sumo Grub’s old location and it is firmly focused on the thousands of students who spend their days across the street at Berkeley High. Pat Pham, who once waited tables at The Homemade Café, opened the new restaurant April 15 and said she is still changing up the menu to meet the needs of the students. The offerings are an eclectic mix of kids’ favorites: burgers, quesadillas, and Mexican food. There is a glass case at the front counter with quick grab-and-go items like bagels and candy. Pham’s daughter, Katherine, a freshman in Berkeley High’s IB program, came up with the restaurant name after a brainstorming session with friends. The Mix Plus is currently open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pham said she may open earlier when school resumes in the fall and serve coffee and breakfast pastries.
NEXT DOOR RESTAURANT Next Door has now opened in the old Addie’s Pizza Pie location, at 3290 Adeline St. in Berkeley (as tipped by Nosh in March). Eater SF reports that the “menu has a little bit of everything,” from red curry tofu to fried chicken. See the full menu here. Chef Sharon Lorraine Anderson, formerly of The Purple Plum, is running the kitchen. Henry Alvarez, the controversial former head of San Francisco’s Housing Authority, and his wife Dionne Roberts, are the owners. Hours run from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, as well as Sunday; and 5-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed Mondays. Breakfast is available Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn more at Next Door Berkeley.
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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