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What's up with the Public Market in Emeryville?

Went there yesterday specifically to have a shrimp dish from the Vietnamese place, and guess what was gone?! I noticed that several of the places that have been there for years are no longer there. I'm really hoping that they aren't raising the rents and gentrifying it or something like that. Does anyone know what's happening? They have done remodeling, and there is more seating (which is great), but I'm just suspicious!

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  1. I had the same experience last week. Went there for noodles and found the place had completely changed. Gone are the pho place and Korean ladies who do Thanksgiving every day. My fave Crispy Fry has a new location but greatly reduced menu. A lot more seating and walls have been added, but it feels a bit too enclosed---the food court no longer connects to the shops. It looks like a new developer got hold of it and made big changes. I heard from a RE friend that the food court was paying the bills for some time but I imagine that's not a great long-term strategy for boosting the property value.

    1. My guess is that with Borders -- the main tenant in that building -- closed, traffic is way down, forcing the food stalls to close or cut back.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Actually I don't think Borders was a big driver of the food court traffic. The bookstore was never busy in the way that the Bay St B&N is. It's a magnet for all of the office workers in that area.

      2. "Public Market will be repositioned to include world-class food purveyors and unique-to-the area lifestyle retailers that will evolve into one of the East Bay's most exciting dining and shopping destinations."

        http://www.mspsinc.com/nprojects/PM/o...

        I think "will be repositioned to include" means "we will raise rents to make room for."

        10 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          It's not surprising that the place is being redeveloped given all the commercial successes nearby (Bay St mall, T Joes, Ikea, Target, etc.). There are also many more people living in the pricey Emeryville condos than when the Public Market last peaked.

          1. re: rubadubgdub

            And they're furiously building more condos nearby.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            That's just about the saddest quote ever. The joy of the food court was the cheap yet tasty independent stalls. If it's going to be no different than any number of higher-end destinations in the East Bay I don't know why anyone would bother.

            1. re: PegS

              They also say "Public Market will be repositioned to include ... unique-to-the area lifestyle retailers," which is the opposite of Guitar Center and Urban Outfitters.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                LOL, Robert. Yes. The amount of retail space is also so small there, I can't imagine they'd be able to create too much more of a draw.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Actually Guitar Center might fit in as a lot of upper income professionals like to go slumming and rock out. Those Rickenbacker 12 strings ain't cheap.

                  Really a shame that the hofbrau is gone. One of the few places to get turkey ala king. I still like Sorabol, although not quite as good as the restaurant on Grand Ave. I recently had the lamb shank at the Afghani place nextdoor. They use the longer cut of the bone and there was tons of marrow in there. The spicy sauce was good too.

                    1. re: sydthekyd

                      Yes, I had it while watching the NBA conference finals last week. It's really good and you can get it on wild rice if you want.

                      1. re: sydthekyd

                        +1 on Brennan's for hof brau in the east bay.

                        Did not know about the turkey A K. I'll have to take my dad since that's one of his favorites.

                  1. re: PegS

                    >The joy of the food court was the cheap yet tasty independent stalls.<

                    For sure. I've been going there regularly but infrequently (when I'm nearby) for 25 or more years. I wouldn't bother if it had more-common places that I could find in other locations (La Boulange, etc.)

                2. I work near the Public Market, and have been many times. The Chicken Vermicelli (Bun) from the California Vietnamese Cuisine was one of the truly good things in the whole Market. The last time I ordered it (~Aug 2012), the woman running the place told each customer that she was leaving at the end of the month. The Market wanted her to pay to remodel, and then pay more rent because the spot would be worth more if it was remodeled. She said it wasn't worth it, and was going to open a restaurant in Martinez.

                  This post inspired me to do some sleuthing, and I wouldn't be surprised if this this is the new place: Mint: Vietnamese & Chinese Cuisine, (4041 Alhambra Ave Martinez, CA 94553.) Website: http://mintrestaurant925.wix.com/mint

                  It opened at the right time, and has a similar mix of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. If someone goes, perhaps they could confirm with the owner.

                  It wasn't a destination restaurant for me, but I definitely miss it relative to the other offerings at the Public Market.

                  Now I usually go with Pamir Afghan, Wazwan Indian or Mediterraneo Pizza (though Hot Italian is pretty authentic Roman style pizza if you have the time.

                  )

                  And I confess to missing having access to turkey dinner any day of the week.

                  1. I went to the Public Market for the first time in a long time yesterday. I worked down the street from the Public Market more than 20 years ago and used to be a frequent visitor. I was actually stunned at how many of the stalls from 20 years ago were still there - I'd say close to half of what's there now was there then. I ate at the Afghan place, which was good even then and had apparently improved over the years.

                    1. I was at the Public Market today and there were likely 6-8 places gone and new walls up at the north and south ends (to accommodate non-market retail) but it's pretty much the same, a bit nicer with cosmetic changes. Also there were like 2-3 empty spaces.

                      Any place that wasn't disrupted by the new layout and wasn't subject to an increase likely stayed, or any place that does a decent business. The vibe feels the same, but a bit nicer, a little more linear.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: ML8000

                        I was there this weekend for the first time in years and it seemed pretty much the same. I noticed only one empty spot. The seating seems a bit nicer than I recall. The curry, tandoori and naan from the Indian place were fine. Not "high end." I wonder what that was about.

                        1. re: Glencora

                          Fantasy on the part of the developers.

                          1. re: Glencora

                            This post is kinda funny timing for me. I hadn't been to the E'ville Mkt in years, but happened to be passing by yesterday, and hungry. Got chicken tikka from the Afghani spot. It was excellent. Nicely spiced, generous serving, $8.

                            1. re: Glencora

                              I was there about a month ago and the closing of the nearby movie theater has taken its toll. There were definitely fewer diners there. I spoke to the woman in charge of the Sorabol stand and she confirmed what I observed. Whatever improvements they are making aren't making a difference.

                              I fear that the market isn't long for this world and will miss the Sorabol stand. I have been eating at Sorabol since they were a pretty country-inn restaurant on Grand Ave in Oak. I like the lamb shank at the Afghani spot too.

                              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                There are a dozen other branches of Sorabol.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Yes, but not so close to home. I think the nearest to Berkeley would be Rincon Center, SF?

                                2. re: chocolatetartguy

                                  Borders and the Movie Theatre is closed?

                                  Why would anyone ever go there after 1:30PM?

                                  1. re: Mission

                                    A bit of gym traffic, and the new housing should be opening soon, no?

                                    1. re: Mission

                                      Employees from local businesses, and the hotel across the street.
                                      Hollis St is filled with people who don't work 9-5.
                                      Local families looking for affordable meals where kids can make noise and a mess.

                                    2. re: chocolatetartguy

                                      Didn't know the movie theater had closed. I wonder what will happen to the building.

                                      Hot Italian seems to be doing well.

                                      1. re: Glencora

                                        The developers want to put a supermarket in the theater space.

                                        Pulte and others have built a boatload of fairly dense condo / apartment blocks in the surrounding area and continue to put up new buildings.