Escape From Telegraph

Catch that 51 with Sean at [email protected]

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College Avenue has long been considered the part of Berkeley you to take your mom to—a squeaky clean counterpart to Telegraph’s Mac Dre shirts, questionable cafes and psychedelic poster/bong bungalows. And while the derelict chic of Telegraph may impress at first, it won’t be long before you realize that you’re constantly patronizing the same handful of locales while tuning the rest of the neighborhood out as noise. It’s easy to idealize Telegraph as a new student (especially those expecting Berkeley to live up to its hippie roots), but with a little time spent here, one can see that save from two pretty awesome record stores, Telegraph is not the staple of the city that it once was.

College Avenue, on the other hand, is the frequent destination of students in their last handful of semesters for good reason. The Elmwood District, located just a couple blocks past the invisible force field at Dwight, has some of the best restaurants-on-a-student-budget that you’re likely to find in Berkeley. A.G. Ferrari Deli knows where the cheese’s at, as does La Mediterranee, a dining destination that’s casual enough to bring in students and residents (take your date here, not Bongo Burger).

When you’re with the fam, sucker Mom and Pop into paying for a delicious Chinese dinner at Shen Hua, or if you’re all by your lonesome, stroll over to Espresso Roma on Ashby, where Daily Cal Assistant Night Editor Lucas Westmaas goes every week for what he solemnly swears is the best personal pan pizza he’s had in his life. And the chai floats at The Beanery? “To die for,” says Daily Cal Blog Editor Christine Borden.

But make no mistake, the joys of College Avenue don’t end there. A quick jump on the 51 line will take you south to that wonderful, glorious district of Oakland known as Rockridge. Elmwood may be the new Telegraph, and Solano may be

the new Elmwood, but I’ll be damned if Rockridge isn’t the new Solano. Admittedly, Rockridge isn’t the typical hotspot for students—the area mostly attracts families, but anyone who’s visited the area needs little persuasion as to its merits. Located just past the Rockridge Bart, this stretch of College Avenue is relatively quiet, filled with restaurants, a cool record store (Saturn Records) and new and used books, to name a few.

Those looking for a little something extra would be wise to check out Market Hall, the behemoth European-style market place (including a bakery, fish market, cafe, pasta shop and more) where one former Arts editor was allegedly spotted buying more than 20 chocolate chip cookies. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is. And I can personally attest to the wonders of their fruit tarts and their fresh pasta.

It may be out of the way for most students (or at least those who can’t figure out this whole public transit thing), but the independent businesses that thrive in the neighborhoods of College Avenue past embody the commitment to quality and eclecticism that gives the East Bay so much of its flavor.


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