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Sprouts & Shutters: Indoor Seating for Well Grounded, Steel Drum Center Opens

Here’s your monthly roundup of retail, restaurant and other business happenings in El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany, Berkeley, Piedmont and Rockridge. In El Cerrito, Well Grounded in getting inside seating and a Caribbean steel drum center opened.

Wondering what new businesses are opening up in your town? Our new monthly “Sprouts & Shutters” column highlights restaurant, retail and other business news in El Cerrito, Kensington and nearby areas.

El Cerrito

As we reported in the last Sprouts column, Jen Komaromi recently moved her Jenny K gift store a few doors down from its former location on Stockton Avenue. Jenny K’s move gave another business a chance to expand: Well Grounded Tea & Coffee Bar, which Komaromi owns with her husband, has moved part of its shop into the original Jenny K space. Komaromi says this expansion will allow the coffee shop to add some café seating as well as grab-and-go food items.

Panwest Caribbean Steelpan Music Center opened a few months ago on San Pablo Avenue in Liberty Tax’s old space. See the El Cerrito Patch article here. The new studio offers classes for beginning through advanced players. Want to try? The new center offers a free beginner class each Monday at 7 p.m. Learn more on the new business’s blog

Learn about El Cerrito’s new Chipotle Mexican Grill under construction across from El Cerrito Plaza here in earlier Patch coverage. 

The discount grocery chain Grocery Outlet plans to take over the old Albertsons space at San Pablo and MacDonald. Get the details in Patch’s story.

Albany

Albany’s Ivy Room reopened Nov. 26 under new ownership. The San Pablo Avenue bar has been completely remodeled, using reclaimed materials and vintage fixtures to give it an “industrial artisan” feel (check out Ivy Room’s facebook photos). Mixologist and co-owner Ronaldo Colli will make you handcrafted cocktails like basil ginger gimlets, or you can share a Corona familiar quart for $9. The new Ivy Room will soon add mixology classes and tasting events. Learn more at ivyroom.com.

Suzette Crepe Café, previewed in October’s column, opened last month on Solano Avenue next to Five Little Monkeys. The new café serves made-to-order sweet and savory crepes and features a full espresso bar. Learn more on Suzette Crepe Café’s Facebook page.

Berkeley

A new vegetarian restaurant, Sliver Pizzeria, will be opening on Berkeley's Center Street in early January, replacing Sportiva Bar-Ristorante that’s closing Dec. 15. The new restaurant, started by three Cheese Board alumni, will feature vegetarian and vegan pizza made with local seasonal ingredients, a full bar and live multi-cultural music. The new Sliver Pizzeria will also donate part of its proceeds to Not For Sale, a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated to fighting human trafficking. Learn more on Sliver Pizzeria's Facebook page.

The Griffin’s Nest Curio and Vintage Shop celebrated its grand opening last month on University Avenue. The new shop sells unique home accessories and home decor. Read more about the new store on its Facebook page.

Berkeley’s Emerald City Gowns moved into a larger space on Fourth Street, opening its new store Nov. 1 upstairs from Zut. Emerald City Gowns specializes in consignment designer bridal apparel. Learn more at emeraldcitygowns.com.

Piedmont

New to the Piedmont area is Grand Lake Kitchen, a high-end deli that opened last month on Grand Avenue near Gold’s Gym. The small eatery serves hearty pork-belly hash, chilaquiles, chicken wild rice soup, open-face smoked salmon sandwiches and other gourmet brunch and lunch dishes. On nice days, you can take your sandwiches across the street and dine on the park bench for a view of Lake Merritt. Also, Grand Lake Kitchen launched Hanukkah Dinner series with special guest chefs through Dec. 15, and it plans to offer dinner service soon. Learn more at grandlakekitchen.com.

As recently reported in Diablo Dish, Zatis, a Mediterranean restaurant on Piedmont Avenue, is closing after 22 years in business. Your last chance to dine there is Dec. 31. But that space won’t stay vacant for long: According to ABC records, a new restaurant called Homestead is set to replace Zatis.

Rockridge

Shopping for a one-of-a-kind holiday gift? You can try Loot, a new shop filled with antiques, furnishings, table-top accessories and other eclectic items. You’ll find the new store on College Avenue in Brass and Glass’s old space. Read more here in earlier Patch coverage.

Just in time for those New Year fitness resolutions: Game Changer Fitness opened Nov. 26 on Telegraph in Temescal near Rockridge. The new fitness center Gym offers personal training, body sculpt classes and the ever-popular rigorous bootcamp. Learn more at gcfitclub.com.

Commis owner James Shyabout will open Box and Bells early next year on College Avenue in Somerset’s old space. Read more in Patch’s recent New Restaurant Watch.

Catch up on Patch’s coverage about the tentative deal reached over the proposed Safeway expansion on College and Claremont here on Rockridge Patch.

Shopping in Rockridge and Piedmont just got a little easier with Oakland’s new free parking holiday program. Now on each Saturday through New Year's, you get two hours of free parking at city-metered spaces throughout Oakland. For details and limitations, go to http://www2.oaklandnet.com.

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Did you miss Patch's last retail and restaurant roundup? Read about these and more in our last Sprouts & Shutters column:  

  • Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar in Berkeley
  • Nest Bedding and Cantina Verde in Albany
  • Jenny K and Hibiscus Wellness Spa in El Cerrito
  • Pimlico Place and L'Amyx Tea Bar in Piedmont area
  • Trappist Provisions and A16 in Rockridge

Know of a business opening or closing in El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany, Berkeley, Piedmont or Rockridge? Please tell Patch about it for a future Sprouts & Shutters column. Simply add it to this short form. Or send me a news tip at patchsprouts@gmail.com.

Want to find out what else is opening the East Bay? Sprouts & Shutters now covers 21 cities. Read the latest columns covering the Walnut Creek area, Tri-Valley and Fremont/Tri-Cities communities.

To discover more local business news, follow Patch on Twitter@EBayPatchBiz.

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