RBMS 2015 Blog

Oakland and Berkeley Welcome You: Part 6

Image credit: Sign in the original Peet’s Coffee & Tea


We Were Number 1

Berkeley is known for its independence, and that often means keeping chain stores out of town for as long as possible. What that does not mean is that Berkeley businesses have not been leaders spawning other sites (sometimes in great numbers), elsewhere.

While Starbucks’ domination of the world coffee market is a given, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, opened in 1966, five years before the first Starbucks opening, and Peet’s supplied the coffee beans to Starbucks during its first year of operation. The original Peet’s is located at 2124 Vine Street in north Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto.” You will now find dozens of Peet’s locations throughout California as well as in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and even a few in Starbucks’ home-state of Washington.

Noah’s New York Bagels might have the words “New York” in its name, but the first Noah’s bagels was (and still is) located at 3170 College Avenue (near the Oakland border).  Noah Alper started Noah’s Bagels with this single storefront and built it into a chain of 38 stores before selling it to Einstein Bagel Bros. for $100 million in 1995. Noah’s shops can be found throughout the U.S.

Amoeba Music bills itself as “The World’s Largest Independent Record Store.” While the Amoeba Music stores in Hollywood and in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury are both well-known, the location at 2455 Telegraph Ave., founded in 1990 by ex-employees of nearby Rasputin Music, was the first. The San Francisco store opened in 1997, and the Los Angeles store debuted in 2001.

Just over the “cutting edge” of Berkeley (which is to say, a scant and almost imperceptible two blocks from the Berkeley border) is the first Supercuts hair salon at 1475 Solano Ave. in Albany. It was founded in 1975 in this location. Supercuts now has over 2,000 franchise locations around the U.S.

Of course, there is only one Chez Panisse (or two, if you count the upstairs café separately), but Chez Panisse alumni can be found helming renowned-in-their-own-right eateries and food providers throughout the Bay Area and beyond. You can find Chez Panisse alums at spots such as Bakesale Betty, Boot and Shoe Service, Camino, César, Foreign Cinema, Oliveto, Pizzaiolo, Ramen Shop, Quince, and Zuni Café. Personal favorites are ice cream from Ici at 2948 College Avenue, Berkeley, and loaves of bread from Acme Bread Company, which can found at local grocery stores.

– Maria C. Brandt, Local Arrangements Committee Adjunct