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Popular Albany Cafe Gets Roomier

Albany's compact Cafeina cafe on Solano Avenue, where the few tables were often taken, has expanded into the space next door, adding more seating and, to the relief of many customers, a restroom.

If you're a patron of Albany's Cafeina Organic Cafe on Solano Avenue, you'll be glad to know that your chances of finding a seat have increased as of Wednesday, when the popular cafe expanded into a former hair salon next door.

Owner Maria Myers told Patch the expansion not only helped relieve the seating shortage but also added another comfort. "It has a restroom," she said.

The added space is next door in the former Sunny's Hair Stylist. Part of the wall between the two businesses was removed so that customers can move between the two inside.

Cafeina, located at 1389 Solano near Carmel Avenue, features a friendly staff along with a creative menu of sandwiches, soups, salads and homemade desserts.

Sherry February 02, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Just noticed this yesterday, while we were walking down Solano ... the extra space looks great!
JW February 02, 2013 at 05:26 PM
"Owner Maria Myers told Patch the expansion not only helped relieve the seating shortage but also added another comfort. 'It has a restroom,' she said." Comfort? I thought a sit-down restaurant was required to have a restroom. Good luck with the new, bigger space.
Dover February 02, 2013 at 05:42 PM
It depends on size and date of construction. CA Health and Safety Code section 114276, subdivision (b)(1): "A permanent food facility shall provide clean toilet facilities in good repair for consumers, guests, or invitees when there is onsite consumption of foods or when the food facility was constructed after July 1, 1984, and has more than 20,000 square feet of floor space."
Ross Stapleton-Gray February 02, 2013 at 07:09 PM
That paragraph reads ambiguously; if you truncated it right before the "or when the," it would seem to require a toilet facility if foods are consumed on premises; if the 20K square feet applies to the first clause, then no. I certainly know a lot of smallish food places (e.g., the late, lamented Gelateria Naia) which are big (but smaller than 20K feet) and don't.
Dover February 02, 2013 at 07:22 PM
It's code written by petty bureaucrats, of course it's ambiguous.
Ellen Hershey February 02, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Cafeina is one of my favorite lunch spots in town. The food is fresh, healthy, and creative. I always go to locally owned shops and restaurants when I can. The nice new space was a big pleasant surprise when I walked in last Thursday. Congratulations to Maria Myers! I'm sure the expansion will be a success.
Dean C. Rowan February 02, 2013 at 08:45 PM
It's not ambiguous at all, although the correct reading doesn't answer why Cafeina was not required to provide a public restroom. The antecedent to "...has more than..." can only be "the food facility...constructed after July 1, 1984." The parallel condition from the earlier clause is "there is onsite consumption," which can't be taken as the subject of "has more than..." Therefore, the section states a food facility must have a restroom if either 1) there is onsite consumption; or 2) it was built after July 1, 1984, and is larger than 20K sq. ft. Cafeina, regardless of size or date of construction, satisfies 1.
D. Mehrten February 03, 2013 at 02:55 AM
My interpretation: Any place food is consumed on premises regardless of size or date of construction must have restroom facilities for customers. An older place of any size need not IF food is NOT consumed there. A newer larger place must have regardless. A newer smaller place need not IF food is NOT consumed there. I do see common sense behind these requirements and also see that Cafeina was in violation until the expansion.
Ross Stapleton-Gray February 03, 2013 at 03:13 AM
As would be many, many other places, e.g., Peet's at top of Solano has no restroom facilities for customers (though the Andronico's refit across the street turned two ratty gender-designated restrooms into nice unisex ones) despite serving food and providing counter space for its consumption.
D. Mehrten February 03, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Maybe they are not "permanent food facilities." But if they function as such... (Quacks like a duck.)
JW February 03, 2013 at 04:15 AM
I see a difference between an ice cream store (G. Naia) or a coffee joint that sells primarily food and drinks "to go" (Peet's) vs. a cafe that makes and sells full meals (Cafeina).
D. Mehrten February 03, 2013 at 04:17 AM
"A food facility constructed before January 1, 2004 with onsite food consumption is not required to provide toilet facilities for consumer, guest or invitee use as long as a sign stating that toilet facilities are not provided is prominently posted in a public area." Found this for San Luis Obispo county, but it's probably the same here.
D. Mehrten February 03, 2013 at 04:36 AM
"Primarily?" Over 50%? Over what period of time? Average over all seasons? Imagine the recordkeeping. And a "full meal?" What would that consist of? The law is confusing enough already.
JW February 03, 2013 at 04:44 AM
Perhaps. But the presence of tables and chairs vs. a counter is one difference in my mind. If someone buys an ice cream cone and stands in my shop to eat it, do I have to provide a restroom? Iffy. But if someone sits down at a table after ordering soup, salad, coffee and a muffin, I think they should expect to find a restroom on site.
Ross Stapleton-Gray February 03, 2013 at 06:50 AM
Especially if it's a bran muffin. I'm just sayin'.

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