In French “ici” means here. In Berkeley Ici means “ice cream made here,”, long lines, and happy faces. The last time I was on this block of the Elmwood, it had quite a ghostly feeling of not having much there, there. The old hardware store’s future seemed questionable. A few places were vacant. The rebirth of this wonderful part of Berkeley surrounded by many brown shingle Craftsman homes is thrilling, much like North Berkeley / Gourmet Ghetto’s evolution. The Elmwood shopping area is just a few blocks long, centering around Ashby (an easy exit off Highway 80) and College Ave.
At Summer Kitchen, Charlene and Paul hope “guests feel that our Summer Kitchen is an extension of their own kitchen.”
A wine shop and new food market further spice up this vibrant chunk of college. (In fact the other day I joked with someone we spent an extensive evening in a 50 feet area, from a cafe, to a restaurant, to the Elmwood Theater.)
Many long time businesses are equally exciting as the new life:
- Nabalom Bakery on Russell St. off of College is a very very old and amazing bakery with buttery pastries – filled with fresh fruits, cheese, and other delights. You can also find at Philz Coffee, both in San Francisco and North Berkeley (as far as I know). They also have wifi.
- Body Time used to be called the Body Shop, before the Body Shop came to the U.S. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, they make wonderful natural bath and body products and will customize to your own blend. The China Rain is a favorite.
- And of course Jeremy’s, for bargain designer clothing and shoe shopping for men and women. (A new designer consignment store just opened too, in a space formerly occupied by a car repair place, on Ashby.)
- A string of long-time, tiny restaurants lead up to Jeremy’s. My friend dreams of Holy Land falafels, which I tried recently and found fabulous. And did you know it’s possible to find $2.75 sushi maki rolls at Manpuku? Jam packed too.
- We mustn’t forget Dream Fluff donuts, a long time maker of Homer Simpson’s faves that also features a full breakfast for $4.99.
What are some not-to-be-misseds that I missed? 🙂 There’s really too much to list!