Vegan cojita cheese from The Butcher's Son. Photo: The Butcher's Son/Facebook
Vegan cojita cheese from The Butcher’s Son. Photo: The Butcher’s Son/Facebook
Vegan cojita cheese from The Butcher’s Son. Photo: The Butcher’s Son/Facebook

Openings, closings…

BUTCHER’S SON TO OPEN FEB. 22 At long last, The Butcher’s Son, the vegan butcher shop and deli that originally planned on opening on Solano Avenue, is set to open at 1941 University Ave. The shop announced its opening day, Feb. 22, on its Facebook page. Co-owner Pete Fikaris told NOSH last fall that The Butcher’s Son will be “less bakery” and “more deli,” and it will include dinner service once the deli is up and running. To that end, Fikaris acquired a liquor license for the location and will be serving beer and wine. For now, though, The Butcher’s Son will be in soft opening with more limited daytime hours (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.). It will be serving coffee, bagels, baked goods, cheeses, meats, cannoli and a “few other things.” Everything will be vegan, of course. The Butcher’s Son will be at 1941 A University Ave. (at Bonita Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the deli on Facebook

People’s Café at 2015 Shattuck Ave. is now closed. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darling
People’s Café at 2015 Shattuck Ave. is now closed. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darling

PREVIOUSLY IN SHOP TALK: PEOPLE’S CAFÉ CLOSED As we reported earlier this weekPeople’s Café, at 2015 Shattuck Ave. (at University) in downtown Berkeley has closed to make way for two new businesses moving into the ground floor of the WeWork Berkeley building. As we have reported, Ippudo NY ramen restaurant and Blue Bottle coffee shop are moving in there. With its late opening hours and selection of cheap eats, from bagels through sandwiches, People’s Café was a favorite among Cal students. Its lease expired about a month ago, according to architect Ben Farrell who is responsible for getting the two Soma Capital-owned spaces ready for their new tenants. Farrell said the café was given an extended grace period until construction began at the corner spot. Ippudo will be at 2118 University and Blue Bottle at 2015 Shattuck. Farrell added that, if all goes well, Blue Bottle may be able to offer outdoor seating on a widened sidewalk, depending how quickly the Shattuck Square improvement project, which calls for a more pedestrian-friendly environment in the area, is implemented.

Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant and Cafe. Photo: Lemat/Facebook

LEMAT ETHIOPIAN OPENING SOON The long-awaited new Ethiopian restaurant, Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant and Café, is now very close to opening. We first announced its pending arrival way back in September 2014, but the restaurant opening was delayed due to a variety of factors, according to owner Gezahegn Mengistu. These included securing the necessary city permits and acquiring furniture. The restaurant is named after the handwoven basket for serving injera, the sourdough flatbread used as a serving vessel and eating utensil for Ethiopian dishes. Lemat will be serving vegetarian, vegan and meat-based wots (stews) and tibs (grilled meats), as well as traditional Ethiopian coffee. Lemat Ethiopian Restaurant and Café will be at 3212 Adeline St. (between Fairview and Harmon streets), Berkeley. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.

Off the Grid at its original North Berkeley digs. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Off the Grid at its original North Berkeley digs. Photo: Tracey Taylor

OFF THE GRID NORTH BERKELEY SHUTTING DOWN In case you missed our scoop earlier this week, Berkeley’s last remaining Off the Grid food truck pod will be holding its last event Feb. 28. The pod, which serves dinner on Sundays at the North Berkeley BART station has been in operation for just over 2 years. It opened after its original North Berkeley location, in the Gourmet Ghetto, was closed after the city decided it was having a detrimental effect on local brick-and-mortar food businesses and property owners. The food truck organization still has a few nearby pods: 1000 Oak St. and Williams Street and Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, Public Market and 1333 Park Ave. in Emeryville, South Shore Center in Alameda, and Fairmont Avenue and Carlson Boulevard in El Cerrito, as well as pods in Walnut Creek, Concord, Fremont, Hayward and Pleasanton.

Photo: Mad Monk/Facebook

MAD MONK LOOKS CLOSE TO OPENING The Mad Monk Center for Anachronistic Media, a two-story complex with a full-service restaurant, performance space, small flower kiosk, take-out coffee counter and analogue media shop from local property owner Ken Sarachan looks ready to open. The center has been issued a temporary ABC license, and its Facebook page says that it is “coming soon.” Sarachan has said that he hopes Mad Monk will be a “Berkeley version of City Lights,” with a focused collection of books and author talks on topics such as poetry, ecology, politics, urban farming and sustainability. The second floor of the Mad Monk Center will include a 50-seat restaurant and full bar, as well as a performance space where Sarachan said he plans to hold events five nights a week. Poetry readings, comedy, reggae, indie rock and folk rock will be on his event calendar. Mad Monk will be at 2454 Telegraph Ave. (at Haste Street), Berkeley. Connect with the center on Facebook.

Colors New York City. Photo: Colors NYC/Facebook

COLORS RESTUARANT TO EAST OAKLAND The Oakland-based ROC United is opening its third location of Colors, a “part restaurant, part training-facility, part worker-owned cooperative incubator,” according to its website. All employees at Colors restaurants are paid a competitive wage (often far above the minimum), and anyone who works at least 20 hours a week is eligible for health benefits. The East Bay Express wrote an in-depth piece about the project, reporting that the restaurant will be just one part of a larger “restorative justice hub” called Restore Oakland Center. The hub will also include a training facility for formerly incarcerated peoples and will also provide “wrap-around services” like childcare. While it will be operating under the larger ROC United umbrella, Oakland’s Colors restaurant will have its own chef and concept. Roxanne Martino, Colors’ national coordinator told EBX that the Oakland location will likely have a soul food theme. Colors Oakland is part of a larger expansion plan for the organization; other new locations will be in New Orleans and Washington, D.C. While no specific address for Colors has been announced, the EBX said that the organization was currently negotiating for space in Fruitvale. Colors aims to open in spring 2017. Connect with Colors on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Charles Phan. Photo: Jennifer Yin

CHARLES PHAN’S UC BERKELEY CAFÉ WILL OPEN THIS FALL We last brought you news about the restaurant from San Francisco’s Charles Phan headed to UC Berkeley campus last March. Now we hear from Berkeley News that Phan is planning on having the café ready by the beginning of this fall’s semester. The still-unnamed café will open in Wurster Hall, and will replace Ramona’s Café, which will close March 18. UC plans to redo the plaza outside Wurster Hall for the new café. Phan plans to serve his trademark organic, international food, but without pretension. “You walk up, you get some food,” he told NOSH last year. “It’s affordable, it’s fast. My goal is to take care of the students.” Phan opened Slanted Door on Valencia Street in 1995 and it remains one of the area’s most highly regarded restaurants. It  is now located in the Ferry Building, and is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Along with Slanted Door, his current interests include two Out The Door take-out restaurants, Mexican eatery South at the SFJazz Center, and the Hard Water whiskey bar, all in San Francisco. The UC Berkeley café will be the famous chef’s first venture in the East Bay.

A new, brighter look inside of Algorithm Coffee on University. Photo: William Newton

TIDBITS The Café Yesterday location at 1122 University Ave. has been under construction for months, and now we know what is in its place — Algorithm Coffee. No more details for now, but we’ll keep you posted. In Oakland, Preserved, a pop-up shop dedicated to old-fashioned food preservation, is opening a brick-and-mortar location next door to Bakesale Betty on Telegraph Ave. The East Bay Express says that the shop is scheduled to open March 4. In downtown Oakland, a new coffee shop with the un-Googleable name “Open” has opened at 15th and Franklin. The coffee shop is serving Highwire Coffee. In Emeryville, Noodle Theory Provisions is getting close to opening. Noodle Theory Provisions will offer an expanded menu from its original Rockridge location. The restaurant wrote on its Facebook page that it is “just a few weeks away from opening.  Algorithm Coffee is at 1122 University (between Curtis Street and San Pablo Avenue), Berkeley. Connect with the coffee shop on Facebook. Preserved will be at 5032 Telegraph Ave. (at 51st Street), Oakland. Noodle Theory Provisions will be at 5849 San Pablo Ave. (at Stanford), Emeryville. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter

What else is going on…

Lance Winters, of St. George Spirits, is one of two East Bay food professionals nominated for a James Beard Award this year. Photo:Kaia Diringer

TWO EAST BAY-ERS ARE JAMES BEARD SEMIFINALISTS This week, the James Beard Award Foundation announced the semifinalists for its annual James Beard Awards. As usual, the Bay Area had a strong showing in the line-up. Two nominees are from the East Bay. James Syhabout has gotten a nod in the “Best Chef: West” category for his restaurant Commis. The Best Chef award honors chefs who have “set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years  with the three most recent years spent in the region.” In addition, Lance Winters of St. George Spirits has been nominated in the “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional” category, which honors those who have “made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.” The finalists will be announced March 15, and the winners will be honored May 2.

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Kate Williams

Kate Williams has been writing about food since 2009. After spending two years developing recipes for cookbooks at America’s Test Kitchen, she moved to Berkeley and began work as a freelance writer and...