City could waive permit fees to relocate Raleigh’s, Cafe Intermezzo after fire

Raleigh's and Cafe Intermezzo, both Berkeley favorites, are closed as a result of the fire.
Fikre-selam Habebo/Staff
Raleigh's and Cafe Intermezzo, both Berkeley favorites, are closed as a result of the fire.

Berkeley City Council members could vote next month on a proposal to allow the two businesses shut down by the Nov. 18 fire to relocate without having to pay permit fees.

The recommendation, authored by Councilmember Kriss Worthington, would not only waive permit fees for Raleigh’s Bar and Grill and Cafe Intermezzo — located on the ground floor of the building on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street that was destroyed by the fire over the weekend — but it would also cut down the time to attain a permit for relocation from an estimated six months to a couple of weeks, according to Worthington.

The city’s permit fees to relocate a business can range from $800 to “tens of thousands of dollars,” Worthington said. Even if the council decides to waive the required permits, it will not be able to waive state required permits, such as the alcohol permit for Raleigh’s.

“Part of what motivates me is that if they don’t get relocated soon, customers will drift off to other cities and not come to Berkeley,” said Worthington, who was a regular customer of Cafe Intermezzo. “If they’re going to try to rebuild, that’s going to take a year or two. So, rather than having customers drift off and starting from scratch, they can keep their customer base.”

Worthington said he has not been able to contact the restaurants’ owner, Greg Ent.

Worthington also requested that the city conduct a full investigation to determine the cause of the fire that also displaced an estimated 60 people who lived in the four-story apartment complex above the two restaurants.

“First we need to do a full-scale investigation to make sure what caused it,” Worthington said. “If the elevator or the electric company messed up, then their insurance company would be responsible.”

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  • Meh

    Worthington thinks people come in from other cities to go to intermezzo… dude is brain dead.
    Berkeley, you get what you deserve at the ballot box.

    • Actually we drove from pretty far out in Oakland twice a week to get big salads for dinner, and I know a few people who come in from SF, so Kriss is right.

  • Disgusted Alum

    Long live Cafe Intermezzo!

  • Usha

    I hope that Kriss will care for the residents of the burned building too, and that he will run for mayor in the next elections. He’s definitely the most active and creative council member in Berkeley. 

    • Doc

      So long as he’s the godfather of People’s Park, his campaign remains dead to the rest of Berkeley.

  • NAParish

    It should be noted that Greg and Kenneth Ent own the building, and there’s a letter apparently circulating ( ) alleging that the building’s owners have failed to perform required upgrades and maintenance.

  • crusty

    hopefully,kriss will not have to go to another city for a decent sandwich.

    • Guest

      he lives in el cerrito so i doubt he dines in berkeley