Lauren Brody-Clarke and Christopher Clarke, owners of La Botella Republic, which is set to open on Center Street in downtown Berkeley next month. Photo: La Botella Republic


Build-out time at La Botella Republic

LA BOTELLA REPUBLIC La Botella Republic, a wine shop and tasting studio which we tipped you about in August of last year, is set to open in mid-April at 2055 Center St. (on the street level of the Berkeley Central building) in downtown Berkeley. Owners Christopher Clarke and Lauren Brody-Clarke, a husband-and-wife team, are in full countdown mode, including hiring staff. The pair describe La Botella Republic as “a down-to-earth spot where enterprising East Bay locals can learn more about California’s outstanding local wines by taking a virtual tour with their taste buds. Our wine bar and shop will offer a curated selection of premier NorCal wines and beers to pair with clever, seasonal bites in our tasting studio. Regular special events and workshops with guest chefs, sommeliers, vintners and others will expand and refine the horizons of wine and food pairings for the people of Berkeley.” Clarke was formerly a design director at the Food Network, and Brody-Clarke is an actress who most recently managed a wine shop. The couple, who hail from Brooklyn, have an affinity with Berkeley, Clarke told us last year. He studied at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco and lived in the East Bay, and his family lives here. He cites many reasons for choosing their new location: likeminded folk who love good food, the proximity to wine country, and the accessibility of downtown. Connect with La Botella Republic on Facebook for progress reports and details of the positions they are looking to fill.

Kamado Sushi to open in former Bel Forno space

KAMADO SUSHI We brought you news in December that Bel Forno was closing at the end of last year, after 23 years in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. The reason was the retirement of owner Fred Shokouh. Now we see that a new sushi restaurant will take over the space at 1400 Shattuck Ave. (at Rose). Its name is Kamado Sushi, according to the alcohol application posted on the property. We’ll bring you details when we get them.

Perdition Smokehouse

PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE Also slated for a Berkeley opening is Perdition Smokehouse from owners American Craft Smokehouse Inc. who have applied to take over the space formerly occupied by the very short-lived Amadeus at 2050 University Ave. (at Shattuck). Expect barbecue, brisket, and craft beer and a summer 2014 opening. Amadeus, you may recall, opened in July last year sporting ornate furniture and gilt mirrors, with a plan to offer an affordable café-grill style menu. Founder Craig Larsen closed the restaurant within a month however, telling Berkeleyside he was looking for more business expertise. We’ll keep you posted on the new venture looks like it’s taking its place. [Hat-tip: Bill Newton].

Newly opened Cugini Manzone has a wood fired oven

CUGINI MANZONE Giuseppe and Michele Manzone opened Cugini Manzone last week in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood at 2930 College Ave. (formerly Fillipo’s). The restaurant features an Italian wood-fired oven for thin-crust pizza and calzone, and dishes such as eggplant parmesan and roast chicken. There’s a full menu of Italian antipasti and pastas and entrees such as Lollipop Lamb Chops with Escarole and Rosemary Potatoes ($27), and Grilled Steelhead Salmon, with Steamed Local Snap Peas, and Rosemary Potatoes ($28). The owners are experienced restaurateurs, having helped to open Cugini on Albany’s Solano Ave. in 1996. The restaurant is only open for dinner at the moment (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.), but plans to open for lunch and mid-afternoon “spuntino” snacks in about two weeks.

Michael Parayno. Photo: Emilie Raguso

NEW BIRDLAND Remember Michael Parayno, creator of Berkeley’s somewhat controversial Birdland Jazzista Social Club? Well he’s back with plans for a new venture in Oakland. Nothing is set in stone yet, but Parayno’s vision is for a social club with live music, possibly staffed by volunteers and serving as a community hub. Parayno is not lacking for ideas. He tells us he’s planning music performances, and a free café for Bay Area blues, jazz, and latin jazz musicians, “’cause they are always broke.” And he’s looking at offering free baked goods and coffee and tea, a community produce stand stocked from neighborhood fruit trees and donations, a free community ramen stand, a “little free library,” as well as a free shuttle from BART for social club members on performance days. Parayno owns three London cabs which he operates for San Francisco tours and these would be deployed, he said, as well as a pedicab. Parayno said he hopes to get a lease signed on an Oakland venue soon, and a build-out done in time for a summer opening.

What else is going on…

Passport to East Bay Wine, March 15-16

PASSPORT TO EAST BAY WINE TRAIL  The 6th Annual Passport to the Urban Wine Country showcases the innovation and expertise of the many wine tasting rooms right on our doorstep — in Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda. It takes place on Saturday March 15 and Sunday March 16, and includes more than 20 East Bay winemakers, including Eno Wines, Urbano Cellars, Periscope Cellars, Campovida, and Dashe Cellars. Your tickets allows you to taste dozens of locally made wines, meet the winemakers and winery owners, and nibble on tasty appetizers from local restaurants. The event is organized by the East Bay Vintners Alliance. Tickets are as follows: 1-day general $40, 1-day wine club member $25 (each wine club has their own password), 2-day general $65, 2-day wine club: $50, designated driver: $10. Buy them on Brown Paper Tickets.

Recent stories on Nosh (in case you missed them):

Nosh on the Town: Centouno in Jack London Square
Kingston 11: Come for the party, stay for the chicken
Neighbors stop a new Starbucks opening in Berkeley
Artisanal vegan specialty shop opens in Berkeley 
Nosh on the town: Vientian in Oakland

Will Berkeley be first in nation to impose a soda tax?

Hail all foodies! Nosh will soon launch Nosh Weekly, a free weekly email that will keep you bang up-to-date on all the delicious food, drink and restaurant news in the East Bay. Want to be one of the first to receive it? Simply sign up here

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...