COUNTRY CHEESE COFFEE MARKET After working at Country Cheese Coffee Market on Hopkins Street in North Berkeley for 10 years, Shirley Ng has opened a new branch of Country Cheese in Kensington. This is the third store for the group which also has a location on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. The Arlington General Store & Post at 299 Arlington, which closed on Dec. 31, 2013, has been transformed into a bright welcoming space shelves of speciality foods and a spot with stools where you can sit for coffee and cake. Country Cheese offers cheese, naturally, a variety of foods, gifts, coffee and tea, as well as baked goods, all of which are made fresh daily. Ng is an expert on tea and travels to China every year to source the finest leaves. The Arlington General Store & Post, which had operated in the space since the 1920s, closed its door on Dec. 31, 2013. Owner Wing Gee cited the “skyrocketingly high” cost of drugs, and competition from larger pharmacies, as the reason for shuttering.
GIIN THAI CANTEEN Thai restaurant Giin Thai Canteen has opened at 3278 Adeline St. just south of Ashby BART. (We tipped you about this back in September.) The owners, who are also behind downtown Berkeley’s Gecko Gecko, have taken over the space formerly occupied by La Bayou Cajun & Creole Café, which closed last year. The new restaurant promises flavorful, hot and spicy dishes “with less of the sweetness that is all too familiar with Thai cuisine in the Americas.” And don’t expect fancy. “You could call us bare bones,” they write on their website. “Just great grub that bursts with the flavors of the bustling markets and street food that makes Thailand such a fantastic destination for unique food and culture. A little bit like Berkeley itself, na?”
CHULO – TANDOORI NITE Indian restaurant Chulo at 2160 University Ave. (at Walnut) in Berkeley has closed. In its place comes Tandoori Nite, which an educated guess tells us is another Indian spot. They have posted an application for a change of ownership.
CASK The same people who plan to open Tupper & Reed, a cocktail bar, in the old Beckett’s space in downtown Berkeley are planning to open an “upscale spirits store” on College Avenue. Future Bars, who are also behind several drinking spots in San Francisco, like Bourbon & Branch and Local Edition, will launch Cask in the former College Avenue Wine, Spirits & Deli at 3185 College Ave. (at Alcatraz), according to Inside Scoop SF. Expect the stock to be 25% wine, 25% beer, and 50% liquor. [Editor’s Note: This item was corrected after publication.]
BARKADA If you’ve grown to love Barkada in Oakland’s Temescal as a great neighborhood coffee shop, think again. The cafe and bakery has gone full-service, meaning they are offering full table service at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also means no more using the place as a second workplace as the wifi has been switched off. The dinner menu includes dishes such as steamed mussels, roasted pork belly, Hog’s Apothecary sausage pizzette, and the Barkada burger. They continue to offer pastries, bread, and cakes to go. Breakfast and lunch is served Mon-Fri 7:30am-3pm, with happy hour from 5pm-7pm and dinner from 5:30pm-9pm. Sat-Sun brunch is from 8:30am-3pm. 4316 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St., Oakland, 510-601-7314.
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Lemony fennel cupcakes: citrus burst meets fragrant herb
Off the Grid pulls plug on Southside Berkeley market
Nosh on the Town: Centouno in Jack London Square
Kingston 11: Come for the party, stay for the chicken
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