After remaining unoccupied for months, one of Telegraph Avenue’s boarded up storefronts will soon reopen as Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar.
This weekend, the bar will open at 2367 Telegraph Ave., the spot formerly occupied by Larry Blake’s Restaurant and Bar, which closed its doors in February of last year after more than 71 years of operation.
Pappy’s founder Alex Popov said he decided to open the new bar and grill — which features large televisions and pool tables — after he conducted some research and concluded that there was no other Cal-themed establishment providing the level of media or the menu that the restaurant will offer to customers.
“We are positioned to be the most popular venue for Cal students and alumni,” Popov said.
Al Geyer, chair of the Telegraph Merchants Association, said Pappy’s may fill a void not only left by Blake’s but by Raleigh’s Bar & Grill, which was destroyed during the Nov. 18 fire.
“It should have a very positive effect on bringing life back into the area,” Geyer said. “We need to regenerate new business.”
He added that Blake’s was the place where all the sports teams and alumni would come and that Pappy’s should attract similar customers because of its theme and ambiance.
According to Popov, Pappy’s menu will include items such as tri-tip brisket sandwiches, smoked chicken, burgers and fries.
“I don’t mind the competition,” said Calvin Wong, owner of Kip’s Restaurant, which is located near Pappy’s and also serves alcohol. “It’s good for business.”
Wong said that in previous years, the bars close to the UC Berkeley campus included Raleigh’s, Blake’s, Kip’s and the Bear’s Lair Pub but that there was little competition because each bar had its own atmosphere that attracted a different group of customers. Accordingly, he said, there has only been a slight increase in business at Kip’s since Raleigh’s closed.
According to Popov, Pappy’s would fall somewhere between Kip’s and Henry’s Pub.
“We are committed to Berkeley and the Cal community,” Popov said
The bar and grill will be the second business to be launched this week on Telegraph, following the Monday opening of The Toaster Oven between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue, next to Chipotle Mexican Grill and across the street from Sam’s Market.
Both openings come in the wake of a significant decline in reported revenue for Telegraph businesses affected by street closures and bad publicity following the November fire.
Business owners near the fire-struck building, which is across the street from a perpetually vacant lot, have reported December revenue losses of up to 50 percent.