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Phoenix Pastificio in Berkeley is Closing in 2 1/2 Weeks

a
alex May 9, 2006 12:25 AM

I hate to be the bringer of bad news, but after going to pick up an almond macaroon at one of my favorite places for food in the Bay Area, I learned that Phoenix Pastificio is going to be closing in two and a half weeks. If you don't know this place, I highly recommend going for lunch to have any of their 30-50 amazing pastas--from meyer lemon to jalapeno cocoa--some nice wine (cheap by the glass), and some of the best baked breads and pastries that you can find. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30-2:30 and the pasta/bakery retail side is open Monday to Saturday from 7am-8pm (and sometimes a bit later).

Supposedly due to the recently opened set of apartment buildings across the street, the landlord of their current location at 1786 Shattuck Ave. between Delaware and Francisco decided that he/she could now rent the shop for more money than Phoenix could afford. Maybe the landlord wanted them out regardless, maybe not. Who knows. They are moving to a new, smaller location on University Ave., closer to the Bay, where they will only be making pasta for wholesale. They say that they will continue to sell at the different farmers markets in the area where they currently sell their stuff, but they would shut down their in-store retail and restaurant.

I'm not sure if there's anything we can do to keep the restaurant open in some way, shape, or form, but with the Berkeley community able to keep Nabolom Bakery in Elmwood up and running last fall, maybe it's possible to do the same here. Spread the word, if you're a fan, and hopefully a local paper will pick up this story and do some more serious research on the issue. It would be a shame to lose not only one of the places that serves fantastic food for not that much money, but one with such a laid-back atmosphere that doesn't hide the messiness, disorder, and excitement that comes from running a restaurant, shop, bakery, and pastificio all under one roof. It's rare to find a place in Berkeley where you find students--both undergraduate and graduate--Cal faculty and staff, and locals all eating together. We will see, I guess...

  1. i
    idlehouse Sep 29, 2006 01:46 AM

    I just went to Pstificio's new location to buy some olivebread yesterday and talked to the owner a bit. He said it had quieted down significantly since the move. He looked a bit sad. The bread is still as good as ever, and he says he sells everything from the kitchen, so if you want to buy pasta or whatever, you can still buy from him. I hope everyone will drop by to visit the new location to make things a bit easier for him. The easiest way to get there is to go down University towards San Pablo, turn left on Sacramento, right on Addison, and go up until you see Zest Cafe's entrance on the left hand side.

    1. b
      BShayesteh Jul 11, 2006 01:56 PM

      Phoenix Pastificio is at 1250 Addison St., near Bonar, sharing kitchen space with Cafe Zeste (whose owners are former operators of Santa Fe Bar & Grill and Santa Fe Bistro). Phoenix is selling pasta, etc., directly from the shared kitchen.

      1. j
        Jamaica Jones Jun 1, 2006 10:55 PM

        I know this is a bit belated, but I rolled in to town today, fresh from a difficult night and a long plane ride. Although I was exhausted and a bit disoriented, I still ordered my sister to drive through Berkeley on our way up to Santa Rosa just so I could buy a loaf of Phoenix's most incredible, buttery, melty-warm olive loaf. When we pulled up out front, I let out a terrified yelp and stared, breathlessly at the gutted store front. It is a relief to know that they are still selling at the markets, for considering a life without that bread is a fate too jarring to accept.

        Phoenix is indeed a gem. It's too bad the store could not be saved - I enjoyed many a languorous, foggy afternoon lunch there. But the bread! God save the bread!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jamaica Jones
          w
          wally Jun 2, 2006 02:33 AM

          Search the board. They are going to have a retail operation (don't know about the bread) south of University at about Bonar.

        2. j
          Jennifer W. May 9, 2006 10:35 PM

          Awwww, man. Really? What a bummer.

          1. c
            chocolatetartguy May 9, 2006 03:34 PM

            Sorry to rain on your parade, but Berkeley isn't likely to rally around Phoenix as it did for Nabolom. Nabolom has a long history in the area and thus found an angel. Phoenix is a relative newcomer. If I had my druthers, I'd rather see Phoenix survive.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chocolatetartguy
              r
              Robert Lauriston May 9, 2006 05:09 PM

              Phoenix isn't going out of business the way Nabolom was (and deserved to, with its crappy products), it's just moving and closing the cafe, which never did more than a fraction of the business the takeout side did.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                m
                Morton the Mousse May 9, 2006 05:36 PM

                Sounds like they're closing the retail pasta shop as well, which is unfortunate as the selection at the Farmers' Market is limited. I love the retail shop because I can get any of their flavors, in any pasta shape, cut to order.

                I am dumbfounded as to how Nabalom is still open. Some Berkeleyans clearly value politics over quality.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  c
                  cedichou May 10, 2006 02:28 AM

                  They were doing a brisk business for lunch. At least every time I've been there, I had to wait. Shutting down the retail pasta shop would be a tragedy. There is just no substitute, and no nicer man than Eric. And what about the olive bread?

              2. m
                Morton the Mousse May 9, 2006 01:19 AM

                What awful news! I can't help but wonder if they would have made it if they hadn't been denied a beer and wine permit (the main reason why they never opened for dinner). Well, at least their delicious pasta will still be available aat the Farmers' Market. I hope they start bringing a larger selection to the market now.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Morton the Mousse
                  c
                  cedichou May 10, 2006 02:24 AM

                  Actually, I was surprised to see the OP mention cheap wine by the glass. Did they finally get it?

                  1. re: cedichou
                    m
                    Morton the Mousse May 10, 2006 12:14 PM

                    They never got their license but they did have a "nudg nudge, wink wink, hush hush" program.

                    1. re: Morton the Mousse
                      r
                      Robert Lauriston May 10, 2006 01:01 PM

                      They sold wine illegally? Really? I heard they sometimes poured glasses as langiappes but I'm pretty sure that's legal.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                        Morton the Mousse May 10, 2006 01:11 PM

                        They never sold wine. I was not aware that pouring wine without a license is legal.

                        1. re: Morton the Mousse
                          b
                          betty Jun 6, 2006 03:25 PM

                          Phoenix is sharing space with Cafe Zest, located near the Strawberry Creek Design. At Addison and Bonar, on 1250 Addison, there is a walkway that leads to Cafe Zest. From there, there should be a sign pointing to the Phoenix. They will still be selling the pastas, and their olive bread(thank goodness) but I will sorely miss their restaurant. It was such an unparalleled good value that it was my favorite place for lunch. It would have been my favorite for dinner too if they ever opened in the evening.

                          Incidentally, they poured wine but they never charged for it, in anticipation of getting their liquor license. Once that fell through, they stopped offering wine altogether.

                          1. re: Morton the Mousse
                            b
                            betty Jun 6, 2006 03:28 PM

                            Phoenix is sharing space with Cafe Zest, located near the Strawberry Creek Design. At Addison and Bonar, on 1250 Addison, there is a walkway that leads to Cafe Zest. From there, there should be a sign pointing to the Phoenix. They will still be selling the pastas, and their olive bread(thank goodness) but I will sorely miss their restaurant. It was such an unparalleled good value that it was my favorite place for lunch. It would have been my favorite for dinner too if they ever opened in the evening.

                            Incidentally, they poured wine but they never charged for it, in anticipation of getting their liquor license. Once that fell through, they stopped offering wine altogether.

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