A new restaurant-bar called Townie is slated to open in the former Caffe Venezia space on University Avenue in Berkeley. Photo: Tracey Taylor
A new restaurant-bar called Townie is slated to open in the former Caffe Venezia space on University Avenue in Berkeley. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Openings, closings…

TOWNIE Mystery surrounds the new restaurant and bar that’s planning on opening in the old Caffe Venezia space at 1799 University Ave. Our attempts to reach the people behind Townie, who have owned a business in Berkeley before, have proved unsuccessful. A confident sign proclaiming its name went up recently, but details about what Townie might offer are scant. So we’re throwing it out there: what do you know? Do you know the owners behind it? Tell them to give us a call. We have had several emails over the past few weeks from readers eager to know more. Caffe Venezia, you will recall, shuttered early last year after serving a loyal customer base for more than 33 years. Then, in March 2013, Joel DiGiorgio (who’s behind East Bay Spice Companytold us of his plans to open a “Californian crafthouse” restaurant named Monarch Trading Company which was also to have included an arcade/vintage games room. That didn’t pan out. So: Townie — what’s it all about?

Coloso Coffee

COLOSO COFFEE Uptown Oakland has a new, emphasis on little, caffeine spot called Coloso that’s serving Sightglass coffee. 7 x 7 reports that the owners are Renzo Gianella, Jose Posadas, and Maggie Servais and the San Francisco publication raves about the “French with a Japanese bent” pastries from Bernal Heights’ Sandbox Bakery, made fresh daily by “pastry goddess” Matsumi Takhara. “Her scones, croissants, and muffins are worth waking up for,” they write. Coloso Coffee is at 1715 Webster St. (between 18th and 19th streets).

What else is going on…

Plum will soon reopen as Ume
Plum will re-open soon as Ume

PLUM BECOMES UME Restaurateur/chef Daniel Patterson, owner of Coi, Alta CA, Haven, Plum, and Plum Bar has decided to close Plum (located at 2214 Broadway) and reopen it as Ume (Plum in Japanese) with a more informal, cheaper “California-bred, Japanese-influenced” menu. As he tells Inside Scoop SF, the original Plum concept just didn’t work out, whichever star chef they put at the helm. People wanted somewhere fun and comfortable to have dinner before a show, rather than a high-end three-course meal type of spot. Plum’s latest chef, Kim Alter, who recently moved to Plum from Haven, will be taking a break before, Patterson says, opening a new restaurant under his DPG umbrella. As will Brett Cooper, a former Coi chef, who is going to run the kitchen at Ume for its first few weeks. Plum Bar, which Patterson says is doing very well, remains the same.

Standard Fare ingredients
Standard Fare ingredients

STANDARD FARE We told you about Chez Panisse alumna Kelsie Kerr’s new business, Standard Fare, which offers fresh, locavore dishes via Pedal Express presented in re-useable dish ware from Berkeley’s Jered’s Pottery. Standard Fare is now up and running with a regularly updated menu. Right now, for instance, you could order Stracciatella: hearty Roman soup with new garlic and egg  ($7.50), or Frisèe and arugula salad with toasted walnuts, Chioggia beets, shaved sheep’s-milk cheese, and apple cider vinaigrette Star Route Farms greens and Golden Valley Pepato cheese ($7.50), or Maiale al latte: pork shoulder cooked in milk with lemon and sage served with whole-grain polenta & fava beans, and sautéed greens ($20). For full details and menu, visit Standard Fare online.

Go Streatery at Bites OFF Broadway
Go Streatery at Bites OFF Broadway

BITES OFF BROADWAY Bites Off Broadway’s family-friendly mobile food market is back and runs through Oct. 10 on Fridays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., in front of the Studio One Art Center, 365 45th St. (at Lawton). Neighbors meet and greet on blankets and folks from adjoining cities come to sample affordable and delicious food from rotating trucks, including Go Streatery, Fist of Flour, Tina Tamale, Skylite Snowballs, Roderick’s BBQ, Annakoot, Nora’s Spanish Mobile Cuisine, Sanguchon, Doc’s of the Bay, Sunrise Deli, Kenny’s Heart and Soul, NoNo Burger, Curbside Creamery, Roko’s Ice Cream Tacos, Beulah’s Beans and more. There’s also hula-hooping, live music, movies at dusk, and a series of performances throughout the summer. Connect with Bites Off Broadway on Facebook.

Ex-Chez Panisse’s Eric Rocher now at Chocolatier Blue
Ex-Chez Panisse’s Eric Rocher now at Chocolatier Blue

CHOCOLATIER BLUE Chez Panisse alum Eric Rocher has joined The Chocolatier Blue Parlor on Berkeley’s Fourth Street as Pastry Chef. He will, a statement says, “enhance the Parlor’s menu of gourmet ice cream, ice cream based treats and baked goods.” Chocolatier Blue’s menu includes sundaes, shakes, floats and freezes. Current ice cream flavors, which change monthly, include strawberry, mint chip, vanilla bean, toasted coconut, burnt caramel. chocolate, Meyer lemon and lemon verbena, plus sherbet such as Pixie tangerine, chocolate, strawberry rhubarb and grapefruit Champagne. Always available: housemade chocolates, a selection of specialty cookies, and hot chocolate and coffee. Chocolatier Blue is located at 1809 Fourth Street, between Virginia and Hearst.

Catch up with more great Nosh stories:

Caviar delivers your favorite restaurant dishes to your door
Starbucks plans to open fourth Berkeley store after all
Nosh on the Town: Sukho Thai in Rockridge
Review: Iyasare brings memorable, beautiful Japanese food to Berkeley’s Fourth Street
Bites: Galeto, Barlago, Bissap Baobab, Sunday Suppers, more
Nosh on the Town: Great China in Berkeley
Kilovolt Coffee: A new caffeine jolt in West Oakland 

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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...