E’ville Biz: Hot Italian certified “REAL”, Peet’s acquires Mighty Leaf, Gracenote names new CEO

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Emeryville business roundup for the week:

Emeryville favorite Hot Italian has become the first pizzeria in the nation to be REAL Certified by the United States Healthful Food Council. REAL Certification is achieved through a voluntary audit and its designation means the restaurant’s practices use healthy ingredients & preparation methods, healthy children’s options and portions, and sustainable sourcing practices.

Peet’s Coffee has acquired San Rafael based Mighty Leaf Tea its first major acquisition since they themselves were acquired by German investment group Joh. A Benckiser back in 2012.

Gracenote, the “acoustic fingerprinting” company that started as CDDB back in 1993 has a new CEO and is planning “Aggressive Expansion”. Gracenote was sold recently by Sony to Tribune Media.

Hot Italian gains ‘REAL’ food certification

nicholas wray, sacramento photographer
Photo: nicholaswray.com

“Tutto e possibile” — The belief that “anything is possible” connected the two passionate, thirty-something founders of HOT ITALIAN—one from an Italian-American family of artists and the other, an artistic pizzaiolo from the Italian Riviera. Andrea Lepore’s and Fabrizio Cercatore’s mission was to build a place where pizza brings people together to celebrate Italy’s new generation of art, music, design, sport, food and wine.

Read More on EatReal.org →

Peet’s acquires San Rafael’s Mighty Leaf Tea


Mighty Leaf is staying in San Rafael and the two companies will operate separately, according to Shawn Conway, Peet’s chief operating officer, though Mighty Leaf tea will eventually be sold in Peet’s coffee shops. Conway is filling in as acting chief executive while Mighty Leaf looks for a permanent CEO. Portman and Shinner will stick around for a year helping come up with more of the company’s innovative teas, Portman said.

“Our trademark is our blend. That is our craft — marrying teas, fruits, herbs and spices to create a unique flavor,” Shinner said. The chamomile-hibiscus blend is a personal favorite of the duo and one of the first they came up with, he said. Their daughters, Caroline Shinner and Julia Shinner, help design their blends.

Read More on Marin Independent Journal →

Tribune Company Names John Batter New Gracenote CEO, Plans ‘Aggressive’ Expansion


Tribune Media Company has named John Batter as the new chief executive of Gracenote, a provider of audio and video metadata and recognition services, as well as executive vice president at Tribune Media. Interim chief executive Shashi Seth, who also had the role of president at Tribune Digital Services, has decided to leave company.

Batter starts at Gracenote on Sept. 2 and will report to Peter Liguori, president and chief executive officer of Tribune Media. Prior to joining Gracenote, Batter was the chief executive of M-Go, an online video rental and purchase company similar to Amazon Instant Video, serving since the company’s inception three years ago. Before joining M-Go, Batter was the president of production at DreamWorks Animation.

Read More on Billboard.com →

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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