Sprouts & Shutters: What Businesses Are Opening Around Town

Here’s your monthly roundup of retail, restaurant and other business news and happenings in El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany, Berkeley, Rockridge and Piedmont.

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, Albany, Berkeley, Rockridge and the Piedmont area.

El Cerrito and Kensington

The opening of El Cerrito’s new Scene, located next to the Cerrito Theater, has been pushed back a bit. General manager Eric Edwards says construction of the new wine bar is still underway and they hope to open by the end of the year, ideally within the next couple of months. Edwards says the new eatery will feature wine, beer on tap, and “tapas style small plates.” You can read more in earlier Patch coverage here.  

Want to get your friends and family a one-of-a-kind gift this holiday season? You can find unique gifts and support local artists at the same time during this weekend’s El Cerrito Art Association Annual Art Show & Sale. The show features more than 300 works of art by nearly 200 East Bay artists. The artists will sell their arts and crafts in a special Artists’ Market located outside the El Cerrito Community Center on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the show and sale, visit elcerritoart.org/p/annual-art-show.html

For even more business news for El Cerrito and Kensington, read recent El Cerrito Patch stories about the new Organic Pizza Kitchen, city approval of a new auto sale business, update on old Safeway space, Whipout! food truck launch, Lucky discrimination complaint, new Benchmark Pizzeria, L&L Chinese Seafood Restaurant reopening, Natural Grocery expansion and Foley & Bonny closure.


Are you an early riser looking for a new place to dine in the mornings? Albany’s new Suzette Crepe Café, set to open at the end of the month, will begin serving its sweet and savory crepes beginning at 6 a.m. daily. Owner Sokvior Sem says his casual new eatery will serve a variety of specialty crepes for breakfast lunch and dinner as well as assorted pastries, salads and gourmet coffee. Suzette Crepe Café opens on Solano Avenue next to Five Little Monkeys. 

It’s that time of year again: Halloween pop-up stores are creeping into town with their ghoulish garb and devilish décor. Halloween City opened in Albany on Eastshore Highway next the Toyota dealership. And Spirit Halloweenopened on Shattuck Avenue near the Berkeley Conference Center. These seasonal stores typically open by mid September and close a day or two after the Halloween. 

Discover other Albany business happenings in recent Patch coverage: Whole Foods withdrawal, Albany Twin change, Sumo Sushi opening, new ping pong club, Five Star Video move, new Goodwill store and Happy Produce closure. 


Tired of cookie-cutter spinach and cheese ravioli? Berkeley’s soon-to-open Belli aims to redefine ravioli with a rotating selection drawn from 55 ravioli recipes, such as a black squid-ink ravioli filled with grilled prawn and gorgonzola and ravioli stuffed with pork belly and figs. Belli’s focus is northern Italy but co-owner and executive chef Paul Oprescu says his new eatery will also pull in Spanish influences and different flavors from local, seasonal ingredients. He also plans to reintroduce the traditional American palate to dishes made with squid, liver, tongue and other meats shunned or overlooked by mainstream eateries. The owners plan to open Belli by mid to late October in Green Papaya’s old space on Shattuck.

Here’s another new Italian restaurant but with a dramatically different focus: At Berkeley’s new Pasta-In-A-Box, you order your customized $5 pasta at the counter and take it home in a box. So far Yelpers are raving about both the quality and affordability. The new take-out eatery opened last month on Telegraph next to campus, perfect for students looking for a bargain bite on the go.

Catch up on other Berkeley Patch business news: Read about the Peet’s Coffee sale, Five Star Video move, new Suya African-Carribean Grill, new Walk in Closet and new Blondie’s menu.

Rockridge area

Recent Rockridge foodie news has centered on Ramen Shop, a gourmet broth-and-noodle eatery expected to open later this year on College Avenue across from Zachary’s. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the new restaurant—headed by three alumni of Berkeley’s famous Chez Panisse—will feature a full bar and affordable house-made ramen dishes merging the traditions of Japan with local ingredients and preferences. We’ll include an update closer to the opening. Meanwhile, you can learn more about the new restaurant and read an interview with the owners at insidescoopsf.sfgate.com.

The Flower & The B opened Sept. 12, replacing Bloomies in the Rockridge Market Hall. Owner and designer Brian McRonald’s was awarded New York Magazine’s “Best of New York” when he ran Studio Artiflora in New York City and worked with Vogue, Gucci, Glamor and Givenchy. He now leads a team of floral designers in his new Rockridge shop, where you can pick up a simple bouquet for your home or order an elaborate arrangement for a special event. Learn more about the new store and view the gallery at theflowerandtheb.com

The brand new Rockridge Patch also recently covered Rockridge Oktoberfest and Rockridge Out and About

Piedmont area

Oak Common, a men’s and women’s clothing store, opened Sept. 1 on Grand Avenue in Oakland next to Urban Furniture. The new store specializes in mid-priced boutique clothing lines that are trendy yet accessible. You’ll find brands like brands like Alternative, Minkpink, BB Dakota and Comune. Learn more about the new boutique and browse more brands at oakcommon.com.

Soccer, football, marathons…tis the season for sports injuries. If you or your team needs ice wraps, head to Montclair's Total Ice Therapy before the business closes on Oct. 13. The owner needs to clear his inventory so is offering steep discounts on bulk purchases—perfect for local soccer teams or event giveaways. You can purchase directly from the store located above Italian Colors or call to order at 800-882-1967.

Looking for more Piedmont-area business news? Read recent Patch coverage about the new Destino Restaurant on Grand, Montclair Arts & Craft Fall Fest, October foodie events, nixing of BevMo, revamped Piedmont Grocery Co. website, opening of Dr. J’s Closet and Good Nature Deli closure.

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.

Know of a business opening or closing in El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany, Berkeley, Rockridge or Piedmont? 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.

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

Robert Smith October 08, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Suzette Crepe Café opens on Solono Way next to Five Little Monkeys. I can't find that street on my map.
Dorothy Coakley October 08, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Five LIttle Monkeys is on Solano Avenue in Albany...in a nifty building with several small storefronts. Just saying...
Charles Burress October 09, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Thanks for alerting us to this error. It should be Solano Avenue. The article has been corrected. We appreciate our readers helping us make sure we get all our facts, including the names, right.


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