A new cafe, Cafe Buenos Aires, will be taking over the location of Roxie Delicatessen at the intersection of Shattuck and Ashby avenues.
Roxie Delicatessen, located at 2999 Shattuck Ave., has been owned and operated by the same person for the last 30 years, who has now decided to retire and sell the store, according to new property owner Diana Days. Pending a transfer liquor license, Days said she hopes to take over ownership within the next 60 to 90 days.
Days said she plans to keep the location operating as a deli when she takes over the property but intends to transform it “little by little” into an Argentinian cafe. Days said she wants to serve empanadas, typical Argentinian pastries and coffee.
Days lived in Argentina for half of her life, and her family was heavily involved in the restaurant business. Days said her brother-in-law was one of the most prominent restaurant owners in the country, and that through her family, she has learned how to operate a restaurant and is very knowledgeable about Argentinian food.
After moving to Berkeley in February of last year from Argentina, Days said she was open to any opportunities that came her way. She said she walked into Roxie Delicatessen, which was two blocks away from her new home, and inquired if it was for sale. In August, she was able to begin the process of purchasing the property.
Days said she thought it would be a great idea to open a cafe close to her home that would sell food she loves.
“It was a great opportunity and something I’d love to do to be in touch with people,” Days said. “I will be able to offer what I like to the community.”
There are not very many Argentinian restaurants in the East Bay, and Days said she wants to bring the country’s food and culture to Berkeley.
Though she is not yet thinking about opening other locations, Days said she hopes to double the business of the deli in its first year. She added that she wants to increase its staff and hours, as well as build a greater online presence with social media.
Days added that, in the future, she hopes to close early some days and turn the cafe into a tango dance space.
“I’m doing that now, and I have a good friend who is a tango teacher,” Days said. “I have lots of ideas and things that I would love to do.”
Days also said she wants to cater to UC Berkeley students at her cafe.
“I know there’s quite a few Argentinian students there, and I want to give them the opportunity to feel at home,” Days said.