Telegraph Ave. Ice Cream Wars

by Steed Dropout
Dec. 24, 2013
Berkeley, Ca



Rasputin music’s ice-cream opened squishy, Monday, with its chilly rival to Cream, an ice-cream avenue cult.

Soft openings usually are announced to precede a grand-opening. Rapsputin’s controversial ice-cream challenge to its across-the-street rival–in the midst of Telegraph’s holiday street fair–was more of a happening than an opening.

Cone Soldier: Teley Ice Cream Wars. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Rasputin sold its first Dream ice-cream sandwiched between two plump oatmeal cookies, Saturday, at 3 p.m., ending months of challenges from across the street.

Fifteen employees from both stores showed up March 22 at a city-council zoning hearing to support their employers. Calling Dream, a “predatory big (chain) businessman,” and themselves a mom and pop, Cream owners said the avenue was not big enough for ice-cream rivals.

Dream's 1st Sale. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Dream, cream argued, was encroaching its name and product and would block the Channing Way side walk.

Emotions at the hearing could have melted ice-cream.

Dream's rival. Photo by Ted Friedman.
Big Block on the block. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Proclaiming that Berkeley hosts such name-alikes as Dryer’s and Brier’s (ice-creams), councilmen authorized an in-store Dream but killed Dream’s dream of a server-window–citing side walk blockage.

Photographs and daily monitoring, by this reporter, of Teley side-walks outside both stores reveal blocking infractions mostly at Cream (some now corrected).

Without the 'D'. Photo by Ted Friedman.


Telegraph Avenue’s dozen ice-cream/yoghurt stops mean that ice-cream is never more than a few steps away.

If you know your scoops, you can get a generous mound for $1. Dream and Cream sandwiches are $2.

Big Blocker. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Meanwhile, coffee houses, once plentiful as ice-cream on the avenue, are rare. A planned night-club at Telegraph/Haste is progressing at a snail’s pace.

Dream's Ken Sarachan at City Hall. Photo by Ted Friedman.

But, with a new pizza slice salon (near Teley) and another about to open, Telegraph is about to host yet another food war.

Telegraph pizza wars upcoming. Stay tuned.

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