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Talavera Cafe (Berkeley) - what's going on?

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I remember seeing posts on here about their canneles, but I walked by this place (on the corner of Solano and Peralta in Berkeley) today and saw their bakery case was empty with a sign saying "Bakery Coming Soon". Anyone know the story?

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  1. r
    Robert Lauriston

    Takes forever to get permits etc. in Berkeley.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      No, this seems more of opening woes. Driving by today I noticed they weren't open yet (just before 5 pm). Stopped by last Saturday and they didn't have the canneles. I had been in the city and had a Bay Bread cannele and was going to do a cannele a cannele taste off. I just don't like those Bay Bread canneles enough. They were exactly how I remembered. The outside is crackly, but to get that the inside dries out. From what I remembered the Talavera was more intensely vanilla flavored.

      1. re: rworange

        I find the Bay Bread canneles inconsistent. I've usually enjoyed lovely custardy insides, but occasionally get a dryer one. Last week my sister and I each had one, at the same time, and hers was terribly overdone, very dry on the inside, while mine was just barely custardy. If I'd had the one she got, and it was my first cannele, I wouldn't try them again.

        I understand these are tricky to make, but they've chosen to take them on, and I don't appreciate a bad batch being put in the case for sale.

        1. re: bernalgirl

          I've been buying the cannele at Rigolo once a week for several weeks now and they have been consistently custardy inside. I wonder if they have problems with one oven being too hot.

    2. We ate there last Saturday, and the food was quite good, but the place was very disorganized; too fast or two slow; the wrong dishes s brought to the wrong tables; cutlery brought after the food, etc. The woman cook seemed very upset. I hope they get it together; the cooking is good, it's inexpensive, it's a very cute place, and the people are trying really hard. Give them some slack on the canneles for the moment.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Curmudgeon

        Woman cook was more than upset when my husband and I ate there--x2. She snarled so much we won't go back.

        Umm, I'm assuming the owner woman's the cook. The blondish one.

      2. Is this place toast? Yesterday, I noticed both the hours and the "We use only hormone-free beef/pork" signs scraped off the window/door. Today, the place was closed at lunchtime w/no sign on the door. Everything is still "in place" inside.

        1. They were open again today. I didn't go in, but I did peek in. New menu - similar items with much-reduced prices. Maybe $2.50 a taco is more in line with what will get people in the door. I didn't notice if SauerFrau was in.

          1. "Talavera" must be Spanish for "expect the unexpected." The place is never open when it should be, and when it is open, there's problems inside with staff or service. If I were a pessimist I'd say that the location is cursed--nothing seems to work there since the old ice cream parlor closed. But, being the optimist, I'd say it's just that the current owners don't (yet) have a grip on the restaurant biz.

            Hopefully the new prices will bring in more customers and operations can be smoothed out.

            1. I went there in July. At the time I went, the prices were pretty high so I only ordered a chocolate tomale to go. The person behind the counter became annoyed when I asked how long I should warm it. She told me to put it in the microwave for about 3 minutes. It was pretty good. The corn and chocolate tasted good though there was not enough chocolate for my taste.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rightstar

                lmnopm's name "SauerFrau" was brilliant. My husband laughed at that off and on for half an hour. WTF is wrong with showing a little hospitality? She's why they're failing, not the prices. We would have eaten there twice a month to satisfy his Mexican cravings and my craving for close to home & I don't have to make it.

              2. The place may or may not be closed for good. The "hours" sign has been removed from the door again, and the place has been closed during several "open" days, including today. When I walked in the UPS store next door, I heard them talking "Is it closed for good? Yah, I think so."

                3 Replies
                1. re: lmnopm

                  I know personality-wise a lot of people weren't thrilled with the owners. I feel bad though. It was a classic case of people with abosolutely no previous restaurant experience kind of blowing it. The thing was they only wanted to do a bakery but zoning required them to have a restaurant there. I guess it is the passion and love the owner had for making those cannelles that makes me feel bad about it. When you practically see someone glowing with enthusiasm it makes me sorry it didn't work ... seeing a dream disappear. They were closed on the day I would have visited them and on the other days ... well, Lola's was just too close. It is a pretty spot. I hope someone makes a go of it.

                  1. re: rworange

                    There's no zoning rule that would require a bakery rather than a restaurant. Might have been the landlord's requirement.

                    1. re: rworange

                      I stopped in there twice after reading about it here, and both times there was nothing in the bakery case. So I stopped even thinking about the place. Thkat's what happens when you just don't have it together at all.

                  2. If Talavera is finished, I hereby recommend that corner location for the Berkeley branch of Dopo. Might need a bit of re-architecting inside to fit a few more tables, but Solano Ave. could certainly use a blast of high-quality Italian food.

                    1. That location doesn't seem to work for anyone. Seems to me each time the owner lacks customer service skills so the place goes out of business.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rightstar

                        It's *not* the location. We eat out about four times a week as I often get home from work at 7:30 or 8 after 12-13 hours and my husband doesn't cook much. We would have eaten there several times a week. It was the lack of hospitality that drove us away, and not just towards us but witnessed being done to others. I want to relax with my dinner and have pleasant surroundings. That woman was something else.

                        1. re: lintygmom

                          Is everyone sure they are kaput? I was driving by yesterday and the front door was open and there were people inside ... could have been the owners cleaning out the place. I didn't have time to check it out closer.

                          One of the problems for me early on with this place is they kept closing down to re-organize ... the first cook had some probabl or another and they closed a few days to decide what to do. Maybe they did another regroup.

                          That is a good new restaurant killer too, uneven schedules. If people can't count on the place being open they stop going.

                      2. The place was open a few days in a row starting on Thursday, methinks. They did not, however, put a new "hours" sign up in the window - they had a paper sign for awhile (after they scraped the window laminate sign off) and the paper sign has been gone for awhile now.

                        1. New signs in the windows say "grand opening." I didn't get close enough to read the rest.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Cannolo

                            May 1, new owners, new menu, friendly staff. I hope they change the name to not jinx themselves.