Businesses turn over in Berkeley throughout fall and winter

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Throughout the fall and winter, the Berkeley food scene has seen several changes, including the opening of a new frozen yogurt store, the expected arrival of an Italian-style cafe and the closure of an Italian deli.

Yogofina, a frozen yogurt chain, opened up its eighth location on 2911 College Ave. in late October 2016. Cafe Crosta, which offers paninis and other “Italian-inspired” food is tentatively set to open at 2049 San Pablo Ave. in the first week of March. Meanwhile, AG Ferrari, an Italian deli on 2905 College Ave., closed its doors Monday.

Campus senior Judy Workman, said she is very sad to learn that the College Avenue location of AG Ferrari’s is closing. She noted it offered “a decent price for high-quality food.” Sweetgreen, according to Workman, might become her next go-to store for healthy food.

“I think that in the Bay Area people really like quality food,” said Ezra Malmuth, owner of Cafe Crosta, adding that he is optimistic about the future of his establishment.

Cafe Crosta will share part of its space with Highwire Coffee Roasters, the location’s existing coffee shop.

“They were running the cafe — they had food, they had beverages,” Malmuth said. “Then, they decided that they kind of want to transition from the food program and focus on the coffee.”

After learning that Highwire Coffee Roasters had stopped serving food items, Malmuth discussed with the owner introducing an independent food store into the current coffee shop’s space.

Cafe Crosta will serve food items that are complementary to Highwire’s coffee, but the new store will be its “own concept” within the shared space, according to Malmuth. Malmuth added that the collaboration between the two stores will offer a creative solution to overcoming overheads, such as rent.

“Coffee and panini is a really good combination, especially for college students.” said campus senior Alexia Estrada, who added she’d be willing to try the new establishment.

Since opening Yogofina, however, owner Tom Lee said the frozen yogurt chain’s College Avenue location has been generating a lower volume of sales than he anticipated it would.

The frozen yogurt market is not a booming market, but a steady one, Lee said. He added that Yogofina is distinct from other frozen yogurt shops in Berkeley because it provides “premium” quality frozen yogurt made without powders.

Estrada, however, said that she is indifferent to higher-quality frozen yogurt, noting that she is “happy with regular fro-yo.”

The unexpectedly low sales, according to Lee, may be attributed to the past few months’ cold and rainy weather.

“Hopefully, spring and summer is better,” Lee said.

Charlene Jin is the lead business and economy reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @CharleneJin0327.

A photo attached to a previous version of this article depicted the restaurant Comal, which is not mentioned in the article.