A more urban walk

solano ave exit

Residents of Thousand Oaks in North Berkeley receive a little newsletter about neighborhood goings-on. One of the regular features is a column called “On the Avenue,” which keeps tabs on Solano Avenue businesses. This commercial thoroughfare through Berkeley and Albany has so many changing storefronts and for-lease signs that TONA (the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association) thought regular updates would be helpful. The person who was responsible for writing it recently decided it was beyond what she could reasonably handle in addition to her other duties. So guess who the new Solano Stroller is?

strollersMy maiden voyage as the Solano Stroller revealed many changes.

While I walked in a downpour on a recent Thursday afternoon, I passed the recently shuttered architecture and design bookshop William Stout Books (1605 Solano at Tacoma), where people inside were taking books off the shelves and packing them in preparation for their move to Richmond. Their new store will open in February on 1328 South 51st St. No news yet as to what might take their place on that corner.

In the spot where Tangerine used to be (1707 Solano between Tulare and Ensenada) is Jin’s Café. Although it opened for a short time in late 2015, the windows are currently covered with paper, and the sign on the door says “Thanks for your support for the past 8 weeks we opened!” and proclaims that they will reopen early this year. I don’t know if they are remodeling or just taking a vacation, but I look forward to paying them a visit, if the reviews on Yelp are accurate.

The Fickle Bag at 1885 Solano has closed. This handbag and accessories shop was on the north side of the street near The Alameda. No word on a new tenant for that spot.

YJMIn November Yves Mozelsio opened YJM Photography and Gallery of Fine Arts in the spot that used to house KNA Copy Center (1865 Solano). Now that the renovation is complete, YJM is selling handcrafted jewelry and paintings by local artists, including Mozelsio himself.

The Bone Room (next to the UPS store, close to Peralta) closed its 1569 half and is residing in the room next door (1573 Solano) that used to be reserved for events presented by The Bone Room. The 1569 half is currently empty.

Last March a new store selling all sorts of rocks, crystals, and minerals opened across from The Bone Room called The Stone Room. (The two have no relation to each other, but apparently the proprietors of The Stone Room asked permission to use the name that so closely echoes their neighbor across the avenue.)

And of course, the Oaks Theater remains shuttered–a sad reminder of when I used to be able to walk only a few blocks to see movies on the big screen…

It’s hard to keep up with the avenue’s ever-changing face. As Dorothy said, “People come and go so quickly here!”


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