Jonas Bernstein, founder of the popular Rotten City Pizza establishment (A name that honors E’ville’s sordid past) has applied for a use permit at the former Taco Del Mar spot along 59th at Peladeau near the Amtrak Station. Vacant for several years, Bernstein’s intentions are to turn the spot into a neighborhood and happy-hour focused bar for Emeryville’s growing workforce population. “The Branch Line is going to be a place where you can sit down, get a drink, have a private conversation, order a quick bite and enjoy the Atmosphere” noted Bernstein through a recent phone interview.
Bernstein, who’s been involved in the community since 1998 through Rotten City Pizza and Co-Op Kitchens (Adjacent to RCP on Hollis) had been eying this spot and others around the East Bay. “I looked around Oakland & Berkeley a bit but I couldn’t help notice the crowds lined up for the Emery Go-Round and I realized there was an opportunity here. I want to cater to those working professionals and our local neighbors”.
The “Berkeley Branch Line“, completed in 1876, followed a route from Shellmound to downtown Berkeley that today includes Stanford Avenue, Adeline and Shattuck Avenue. The diagonal direction of Adeline through Emeryville to Berkeley follows the original rail right of way. The Downtown Berkeley BART station resides just a few yards southwest of the original Branch Line depot and a transit bus line still follows much of what was the original Branch Line route.
Plans for the approximately 1000 sq. ft. space include as many as twenty craft beers on tap, wines, and “Shots & Rocks” that would include a variety of artisanal Whiskeys. Happy Hour focused small plates and “hearty flavors” would focus around tartare, stews and primarily be prepared offsite because of the lack of full Kitchen in the space. With more than 1,200 residential units in our city’s pipeline, Emeryville could see its population grow by about 20% in the next five years and accommodating them with recreational and community establishments could be a wise move.
No exterior changes are planned for the space besides signage but Bernstein did suggest there are future plans to apply for additional patio seating/sidewalk cafe permit. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the permit 7-0 and agreed that this addition met the General Plan guidelines of activating a ground floor space and contributing to the diversity of businesses in the area. The area should get a foot-traffic boost from the planned Wareham Transit Center development just a block away. If everything goes “as planned”, The Branch Line should be open by late Spring/Early Summer of 2015.
The October 30th Planning Commission segment can be viewed online:
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