Northbrae’s Hopkins Street Beckons With Shopping Ops
Hopkins Street lets you shop small in a big way.
Photos by Lance Yamamoto
Generations of small business owners make Hopkins Street in Berkeley’s Northbrae neighborhood a special spot that’s perfect for holiday prep. After stocking up on local produce, seafood, and flowers, enjoy holiday entertainment for the whole family with music or (shadow puppet) theater.
Since 1922, plant-lovers of all stripes have relied on Berkeley Horticultural Nursery for guidance on their gardening projects. The grounds are always gorgeous, so pop in for a stroll, soak up the beauty, and leave with a green goody or two. Stumped for gifts to give? Some of Berkeley Hort’s many specializations include roses, tropicals, fruit trees, organic vegetables, native California plants, and Mediterranean plants. 1310 McGee Ave., 510-526-4704, BerkeleyHort.com.
Enjoy a family-friendly Hanukkah shadow puppet show at the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay. “Daniel Barash is a local East Bay artist-educator who travels the globe as a Kennedy Center national teaching artist, presenting the ancient Asian art of shadow puppetry in secular and Jewish communities,” said Sarah Wolfman-Robichaud of the JCC East Bay. “This special Hanukkah event also gives attendees of all ages the opportunity to gather, braid challah, and give back to the community. Joining the event will be local camps, organizations, and more to enliven the atmosphere, craft, and create our own warmth in the glowing lights of the menorah.” The JCC East Bay is a pilot community program of Challah For Hunger, in which all proceeds from challah sales go toward charity. All are invited to experience Jewish stories, holiday traditions, and folktales through shadow puppetry on Sunday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Ticket information is available on the website. The JCC East Bay is a short walk from Hopkins Street at 1414 Walnut St., 510-848-0237, JCCEastBay.org.
Step into the holiday season with the Crowden Music Center, a Berkeley institution since 1983. Celebrate winter with the Suzuki Strings Fall Concert, a free recital on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3:30 p.m. Enjoy the Crowden Children’s Chorus and Chamber Singers free recital on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 11:15 a.m. Or to inspire your own musical prodigy, enroll your child in the Winter Strings and Piano Camp — an intensive four days full of learning and fun. Performance and enrollment details on the website. 1475 Rose St., 510-559-6910, Crowden.org.
Find fresh fixin’s for your holiday meal at Monterey Market. Rooted in Hopkins Street since 1961, Monterey Market is the place to find local, seasonal produce, groceries, and goods at reasonable prices. Run by the Fujimoto family since its inception, this neighborhood institution has you covered. 1550 Hopkins St., 510-526-6042, MontereyMarket.com.
Breathe fresh life into your holiday decor with a bouquet or arrangement from Freshly Cut Florist. Bringing beauty to the Hopkins Street ’hood since 1982, this beloved local florist also delivers around the East Bay. Stop by for an elegant holiday gift or to consult about your dreamy winter wedding. 1301 California St., 510-525-3751, FreshlyCut.com.
Serve fresh, local seafood at your holiday soirees this year from Monterey Fish Market. Opened in 1972, its purveyors pride themselves on providing fresh seafood handled with care and respect. From live lobster in tanks to the sustainable catch of the day, find what you need at this friendly fishmonger. 1582 Hopkins St., 510-525-5600, MontereyFish.com/retail-store.
Small but mighty, specialty grocer Raxakoul Coffee & Cheese is packed with the ingredients for the perfect party. Serving Hopkins Street since the mid-’90s, the full-to-the-brim shop offers a range of house-roasted coffee beans, fine teas, a mind-boggling assortment of chocolate sourced from Belgium to Berkeley, and all the cheese your dear heart desires. 1578 Hopkins St., 510-526-1333, CountryCheeseCoffee.com.
From house-made sausages to specialty cheeses and local produce, the folks at Gioia Pizzeria deliver on fresh ingredients. The cozy storefront serves up an array of ready-made slices to fuel you during holiday shopping. You can dine in for a casual meal or take one of the New York-style pies to go. Just don’t forget the cannoli with house-made sweet cream ricotta. 1586 Hopkins St., 510-528-4692, GioiaPizzeria.com.
Tempt your sweet tooth at Hopkins Street Bakery. This fine local establishment offers a range of goodies, like the choco-nutty Freak Out cookie or the light-as-air eclairs. Pick up a loaf of fresh baked challah, French, or many grain bread and dinner rolls. To celebrate in style, order a specialty cake for your holiday party — a crowd favorite is the fruit basket cake with fruit sourced from Monterey Market next door. 1584 Hopkins St., 510-526-8188, HopkinsBakery.com.