Readers Say the Darndest Things: Goods and Services

Best Bakery
Sorry La Farine, Betty, and others. Acme beats you all even if you all combined into one massive bakery. — supergail

It’s All Good Bakery
If you don’t want to be hooked, just don’t go. — Darice

Merritt Bakery, Oakland
They’ve really stepped up their game, and the strawberries and whipped cream cake is PHENOMENAL. And their prices beat anyone else’s around; if you adjust some bakeries’ tastier products by the cost of the item, Merritt Bakery comes out WAAAY ahead! — leilah ali

Starter Bakery
What the hell is a Kouign Amann? A heart attack on a four-inch plate, but oh, what a ride … this is the most decadent pastry I’ve maybe ever had. For special occasions only (I’m serious about the heart attack). — popijininsky

Sweet Adeline

Toot’s Sweets
This little bakery in the midst of Berkeley has brought much joy to me and my friends. — Lucas Brandt

Best Barbershop
Anyplace that puts a selection of vintage bikes outside is doing it right. — Raines Cohen

Hair Cuts Room in Albany
Next to never any waiting; don’t need an appointment, just when my hair is making me crazy I go on in. Reasonable prices, fast service, and always remembers my name and my family members. Asks me how “Mama” is!! — Eileen Andrade

Mr. Lee’s
Cheap, friendly — and vacuums your head when he’s done! In Chinatown somewhere. — Miranda Everitt

San Pablo Barber College
These guys are trying. — Cullen Smith

Temescal Alley Barber Shop
I come here with my boyfriend and watch him get his hair cut. He always gets out of the chair lookin’ sexy and sharp! — Bianca Pardini

Best Bike Shop
Bikes 4 Life
Tony Coleman is one of the most positive forces in West Oakland. When he’s not fixing bikes, he’s trying to pull the neighborhood together. — Ann Garrison

Manifesto Bicycles
Unpretentious, Oakland home-grown bike shop with down-to-earth, knowledgeable staff that won’t sneer at you just because you don’t ride a fixie. Bought my birthday bike here and was totally happy with what I got. And a plus, they also don’t try to rip you off price-wise. My fave bike shop everrr!!! — Nikki Marucut

Mike’s Bikes
Rad DIY workshops, excellent staff, hot mechanics. — Julia Sheng

Missing Link
The bike shop for people who actually ride. — Tom Holub

Best Bookstore
Book Zoo
Eric finds the wildest titles. — Marco Cuerdo

Moe’s Books
Please stay in business! — turenne, coco

Best Brewery
Drake’s Brewing
I know everyone else is voting for Linden Street, but Drake’s is the East Bay’s unsung hero — a great range of delicious beers, and really friendly folks. Ride your bike through the Home Depot parking lot, around the Walmart, and into their barrel house to sample some great local brew. — popijininsky

Linden Street Brewery
Hella local. — Gopal Dayaneni

Triple Rock
Anybody but Pyramid. — Tom Walton

Best Cannabis Dispensary
BPCC on Telegraph
Charlie (I think that’s your name?), you are so hot. And they have organic outdoor sativa for $40. I guess one shop can have it all. — supergail

Best Car Repair
Fifth Street Garage – Oakland
Most friendly and honest!!!! Best car repair for a girl. Stan likes to talk politics — Blanca Aranda

Jason Simms at Kensington Chevron
Jason is the absolute BEST! For the first time in years I feel like I can trust my mechanic. After a brake job about every three months at another mechanic, I stopped and talked to Jason. He did my next brake job and is now doing my next one — 2 years and 21K miles later. He remembers my name and takes superb care of my car, troubleshoots the funny problems I have had on a 12-year-old car until he solves the problem, and it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg. On top of all that he has old-fashioned ethics, stands behind his work, and contributes to the community. He raises money for the school system and is kind to kids and dogs. If he weren’t already married and thirty years younger than I am, I’d be standing in line!! — Eileen Andrade

Best Children’s Store
Toy Safari, Alameda
I love TOOOOYYYYSSSSSS. — supergail

Best Comic Book Store
Dr. Comics and Mr. Games
Always gots whats I needs whens I wants it. — Mary Jane Lawless

Best Community Bank
Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union
While banks robbed people and failed, credit unions just kept quietly serving their communities. — Matt Nichols

Mechanics Bank
They remember my name. — Julia Sheng

Best Dentist
Dr. Andrew Marshall, Walnut Creek
He’s a lefty… so get ready to turn “the wrong direction”! But after you get used to that, he will wow you with his competence, friendliness, and cool devices. State-of-the-art EVERYTHING! His office is out on Ygnacio Valley Road. Worth the drive to “the Creek”! — The Wacky Italian

Dr. Taheri at Berkeley Hills Dental Care
Entire family is seeing Dr. Taheri. He is very friendly and gentle, especially with the kids! I once fell asleep while getting a root canal. This should say enough about his service!!! — Kirstin

Dr. Thomas Zavattero, Pacific Dental group
He is super friendly and his staff are sweet. Plus you get to check our your x-rays in real time, which rules. — David Prosper

Best Doctor
Dr. Shine-Nee Teng
Dr. Teng cracks me up with her humor, truly cares about you (and spends time getting to know you AND your family), and believes in health that starts from within. My only regret is that I didn’t meet her sooner. — Lily Chien-Davis

Dr. Strangelove
Who can afford to go to the doctor? — Greg Keidan

Edie Silber, Nurse Practitioner
You should have a category for best nurse! They deserve more recognition. — Lisa Feldman

Highland Hospital ER
No money, no problem. Highland takes care of everything from gunshot wounds to hangnails. — Michael Terry

Best Edible Cannabis Products
Aunt Zelda’s Carrot Cake
Perfectly dosed every time. — Mara Gordon

Made by my roomate’s “friend,” but I’m pretty sure they aren’t friends, the “friend” is really her “pot dealer.” — Dana Bushouse


Best Eyeglass Shop
Lunettes du Monde
Extensive collection and a woman who will take you through the whole thing until you cry uncle and have found at least three perfect frames. — hellbent_shallot

Phoenix Optical Co.
I get so many compliments on my glasses, it’s a leeeetttle ridiculous. Of course, they did cost the same as a month’s rent, but who cares if you look good, amirite? — supergail

Best Farmers’ Market
Phat Beets Saturday Market
This is a grassroots, totally non-commercial effort to bring fresh produce to the masses who are not lucky enough to live in the fancy neighborhoods where farmers’ markets abound. Just recently moved to their new building at Stanford and Lowell streets in the Golden Gate neighborhood. You may not find morels and kohlrabi, but you’ll find a nice variety of organic/pesticide-free locally grown green stuff. Support this market and know you’re helping get fresh produce into the neighborhoods who need it most. — popijininsky

Best Farmers’ Market Vendor
They pay their workers’ health insurance. — Ana Raz

Frog Hollow Farm
CHERRIES! — Alissa Hauser

Feel Good Bakery
I’ve gain ten pounds in the last year, it’s that good! — Thefieldtrip

Best Green Business
Shotgun Players
Come on, what other theater company has figured out how to run all its lights, sound, and other equipment off the sun? — Crystal Watts

Best Grocery Store
I hate how much I like it. — Matti Klotz

Berkeley Bowl West
Not the original one! That one is hell. — Lisa Feldman

It’s younger and hotter. — supergail

Grocery Outlet
They are providing affordable, quality products (and not so good food) for the 99 percent. — Charlotte Kubiak

Piedmont Grocery
If you ever feel down on yourself and you’re a lady, go to the butcher shop. They will make you feel better in a heartbeat. — tempest40

Best Massage
Be Well Integral Healing Space
Rose Foronda is the stuff that dreams are made of! — Stephanie Cospelich Gerdes

The Kids I Babysit For
They have balancing contests on my back. Nothing like a thirty-pound toddler jumping up and down on your back to release tension … and I’M the one getting paid! — Dana Bushouse

Best New Business
Munchy Munchy Hippo
Not only do they deliver till the wee hours of the morning, they’ll bring you some smokes and a blunt wrap too! — Sam Khandaghabadi

Best Record Store
1-2-3-4 Go! Records
Great vinyl, what else is there to say? — bells & whistles

One of the few left! — Nance Conover

Dave’s Record Shop
Much smaller than its competitors in Berkeley, but packed with gems of records. — Lucas Brandt

Best Recycled or Salvaged Goods
Urban Ore
One time I went here and almost picked up an Atari handheld computer for twenty bucks, and decided against it. I regretted it ever since. I always find an excuse to come here and lose myself in all of their amazing weird junk, imagining different projects that can only be accomplished with this old washing machine or that old record player needle. It’s oddly awesome as a date place. — David Prosper

Best Salon
Charles Hunt Studio on Piedmont Avenue
Odessa Charles is AHHHMAZING. — Elke Barter

Keter Salon
Diana Gordon has been cutting my hair since 2001. She’s a magician with a pair of scissors. — Mara Gordon

La Tour
Nick is, by far, the best hair stylist I’ve had in my life. No one can wash and condition hair better he can. He gives the best head massage as he washes your hair. I’m always happy with the results of my cut and color. — Lily Chien-Davis

TAKE THE WHOLE FAMILY. — ginsuthegreat

Best Sex Shop
One of the only sex shops without a hint of sleaze and doesn’t smell like disinfectant. — Jamie DeWolf

Good Vibrations
They had a great poster recently of a man about to perform oral sex on his partner; it was done in very good taste; not sleezy, and just the kind of woman-focused attitude we would expect from these superstars. — Naomi Alysia

Best Shoe Store
Bill’s Footwear
Formerly known as “Bill’s Men’s Shop,” but they stock women’s shoes too. My best shoes have all come from them. — Lexi Babayan

The Walk Shop
For people who use their feet for walking. — Saill White

Best Toy Store
Dr. Comics and Mr. Games
My three-year-old son loves the ‘comic book store,’ and the sales people will always happily open the vending machines to get him the toy he really wanted. — jim smith

Toy Safari, Alameda
Keepin’ it real in the ‘meda. No junk. No crap. — kiluma

Best Veterinarian
All Paws in Pt. Richmond
Anne Reed has kept my ancient dog walking for two years longer than she had any right to, and held my paw, too. — andrea thach

Dr. Sang Bong Han at Richmond Vet
English isn’t his first language — dog is! He communicates with his patients, both human and canine. A good diagnostician and a person with real heart. — Eileen Andrade

Best Wine Shop
Fun, interesting. Always a good buy here. Owner is easy and fun to talk to, he writes all his own descriptions and will happily engage in conversation with you at whatever level of wine appreciation/vocabulary/interest you have: It’s all about the wine, here. That’s all. — Seena Hawley

Vintage Berkeley
I love picking out affordable wine with old-school rap from the ’90s playing in the background! — Remy Goldsmith

Best Winemaker
Periscope Cellars
Great local wine, and a great evangelist for wine on tap, which is bringing lower-cost, lower-waste, and better products to all of us when we go out for wine. — popijininsky

Viano Vineyards in Martinez
Port, Chardonnay aged in luscious oak, Italian specialties … case discount. Even a sparkling wine! My gosh! So good. You can also rent out the grounds for parties. They have special wine glasses too, for people who want to have a pretty souvenir after wine-tasting! Go visit. Wineries … in Martinez? Who knew? I do now! — The Wacky Italian

Best Company to Work for
The main job consists of playing games with elementary school kids all day. All employees in the office are encouraged to have office recess. — Sam Mende-Wong

Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
Free movies! — kjbbbf9

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