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Scott's Seafood Palo Alto to close in March

Uploaded: Feb 3, 2015
After more than a decade of serving seafood at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto, Scott's Seafood will close its doors for good on March 8.

Owner Steve Mayer said Tuesday that the restaurant, which occupies a massive corner of the shopping center along El Camino Real, hasn't managed to turn enough of a profit. With the loss of the original Scott's founder, Malcolm Stroud, and a general manager in recent years, Mayer was left handling much of the very expensive work.

"We're very loyal to the customers and I tried to make it work," Mayer said. "For us to make any money there, we needed to do $4 million in revenue and we just could not get there."

Mayer made it clear he wasn't pushed out by Town & Country: "I went to the landlord and asked them if they were interested in taking the space back," he said.

"The landlord is great," he added. "We had no issues there. It's been a good relationship."

They had spoken on and off in recent years about the possibility of opening a new restaurant in the space, Mayer said, which has now evolved into a plan to split the 8,500-square-foot, 300-seat restaurant into four retail spaces.


Scott's Seafood Palo Alto at 855 El Camino Real.

The first Scott's Seafood opened in 1976 in San Francisco, with locations later following in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Walnut Creek, Oakland and San Jose. Mayer said he thought the restaurant group was unable to make the jump to a younger generation of diners in Palo Alto.

"We just were never able to attract the young crowd," he said. "If you don't get that, it's just hard to make it."

Scott's Seafood recently closed its downtown Mountain View outpost, which reopened in September under a new partner as casual fusion restaurant Mixx.

Check out two reviews of Scott's Seafood Palo Alto, one from 1994 and another from 2004.






Comments

 +   8 people like this
Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 8:27 am

Of course, Scott's was doomed by very bad management, menu, service - the list is long!!! Visitors and locals saw 'seafood' on the sign- and didn't go in for breakfast.... ditto local, and may not have wanted 'seafood' and the breakfast trade collapsed. (With HOBEE'S run out by T&C management, Scott's had a fantastic chance to change that seafood sign, really serve All-American breakfasts, bring in the pastries, etc. and traditional American food. The old Stickney's had a wonderful menu - anybody remember the 'chicken pot pie', the morning pastries, the 'all-American' food? Service was not that great anymore- some employees were OK, others not. Faithful customers could see the decline. Some, like myself, even discussed it with "somebody' but management was AWOL. It's sad, but some astute restauranteur might see a huge opportunity to bring back the old Stickney's menu or something similar. This was inevitable.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

I remember Stickney's well -- and with it, what a very different kind of place Palo Alto Town & Country Village used to be. Many little family-owned businesses, presumably paying modest rents.

All that changed decisively with the radical makeover a few years ago: this T&C Village didn't vanish in redevelopment like some others, but it got such an influx of new upscale businesses as to completely shift its look and makeup. In effect, catching up to silicon valley's affluence, and courting its disposable incomes. Little sign now of the folksy family-run shops that long defined T&C, and there's little reason to expect them back. The economics have changed: today's tenants need the cash flow to sustain rent levels that the new big-chain and pricey niche businesses are paying there.

Interesting that Scott's owner Steve Mayer commented "We just were never able to attract the young crowd." Similar comments surfaced at Scott's in Mountain View, in a completely different neighborhood, last summer as it re-tooled (with a new investor) to Mixx. White-tablecloth seafood fine dining is a classic American restaurant genre, but it seems to've lost appeal now to the demographic group of younger adult diners. Expenses and customer preference both constrain restaurateurs, so whatever new restaurants today's T&C Village can sustain likely won't resemble either Stickney's or Scott's.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Sue, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Pesonally, I'm really going to miss Scott's. I go there often with my husband and also a group of friends. I find the food delicious and the restaurant very accommodating. If people are complaining then the owner should make the necessary changes. Yet another up-scale Palo Alto mistake.
Make the changes--DON'T CLOSE SCOTT'S.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by EHO, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 3:28 pm

We were so disappointed when our server told us last week that Scott's was closing on March 8th. We enjoy the food, the service and the other diners. Such pleasant surroundings...gone...for retail space. Who needs more retail space?

Scott's was about number 1or 2 and we went there about every two or three weeks for dinner.

Where will we have Thanksgiving dinner next November? SO sad and such a loss. All the staff without jobs.

Very sad and disappointed woman.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Julie Armitano, a resident of University South,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm

I like scott's seafood restaurtant alot.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by alk, a resident of Downtown North,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Sad to hear another restaurant is closing. It is also a shame that they aren't looking for anther restaurant. I think T & C could use another good restaurant. What they don't need is more overpriced shops. I would love to see a restaurant like MIXX to go in. I really enjoyed the bar area to hang in and meet up with other Paly parents as well. Very sad


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Thought, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

I am not a seafood buff so I never went into Scott's. Maybe if they just added "and More" to their name, I would have been curious enough to check it out,

There are some great restaurants like Crepe Vine and Lyfe Kitchen near University Ave, but they are inconvenient for a quick dinner because all the parking/congestion issues. It would be great to see a place like that move to this spot, or open a second location there.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 6:48 pm

We used to go to Scott's when it was out beside Mings. We didn't like it in the new location although I have been there a few times. Sadly they didn't seem to move with the times. I like seafood, but their menu was outdated,as was the décor and the restaurant had no ambience. They appeared not to want to move with the times. This really does not surprise me.

I hope something with fresh salads and a hip idea to attract the younger people and Paly students, to healthy eating. Sprouts would appeal to me.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Mark Toshland, a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road,
on Feb 4, 2015 at 11:06 pm

I really miss Stickney's from my college years (and beyond). Really awesome comfort food and malts with the can (like the Creamery). We all eat carefully at home and throughout the week, but I miss eating good comfort food once a week or so. I know we can't turn back the clock, but I really miss Stickney's.

What else can go there? The younger people don't like dressing up and going to dinner........and the older people don't like noisy trendy places. What kind of place can succeed?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Feb 5, 2015 at 8:51 am

@Mark Toshland:

Well, based on owner Steve Mayer's comments, it sounds like a younger trendier place would be more successful. There simply wasn't enough traffic from older diners to meet Mayer's revenue targets.

Let's face it, today's diners simply don't go out to white tablecloth restaurants very often so these restaurants have been thinned out. Even San Francisco has seen these sort of restaurants dissipate or reinvent themselves.

Ming's, John Bentley's (Woodside), Dal Baffo/Marché, Chantilly, Cafe Maddalena, Lavanda, etc. closures all reflect this general trend.

Diners who prefer upscale, more formal dining experiences will see fewer options and may have to travel rather to reach these sort of places.

That said, Scott's probably had too many seats. They might have been more successful in a smaller space, but that's water under the bridge. It is noteworthy that the landlord intends to subdivide the space into four retail spots.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Sea-SEELAM REDDY, a resident of College Terrace,
on Feb 5, 2015 at 12:06 pm


Sad to see this establishment leave.

One of the reasons:

- Rent hike; costs a lot in Palo Alto

Reason:

- Greedy ownership

No matter what we say market dictates rents; we have a lot of greedy owners in town. They do not pay attention that 2015 is year of 'deflation'.

It seems like it is all about take the money and run.
No values what so ever. Does not impress me. Does any one care?
Obviously not!

So sad to see the restaurant leave us.

Respectfully


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Frank, a resident of another community,
on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm

I loved going to Stickney's Hickory House with my parents in the late 50s and early 60s. My Dad mostly ordered the spareribs which included a bib so as not to drip BBQ sauce on his shirt and tie.

Here's a great post regarding Stickney's
Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by eric, a resident of another community,
on Feb 5, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Mixx wont be far behind. Terrible service and not an interesting enough menu to keep anyone coming back.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Yam Yam, a resident of Adobe-Meadows,
on Feb 5, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Scotts had some good fish options, but just too rich and too salty for me, so I frequented it about twice a year, with a $10 coupon from the mailer and a discount (20% off) gift card from Costco, so it was not that pricey given all the discounts. The service people seemed nice and happy, but not very attentive and their timing was off. Still I liked it and will miss it.

I am hoping for a good Italian in that space. Ever since PASTA? on University Ave. left Palo Alto, I've been searching for a good food at reasonable price replacement. Another option, may be a good New York style Kosher deli and a bagel shop.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 5, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Just want to add, that a seafood restaurant should serve plenty of seafood and not just fish.

I would love to see a proper seafood restaurant serving mussels, crab, lobster, etc. and not "fries with everything" type of dishes.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Mountain View,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 7:32 am

@Resident wrote:

"I would love to see a proper seafood restaurant serving mussels, crab, lobster, etc. and not "fries with everything" type of dishes."

Well, that's what Scott's is. Read their menu yourself: Web Link

Scott's in Mountain View was similar (offered seafood, not just fish) and same with the Fish Market. Even Sam's Chowder House downtown has a selection of seafood items.

So they do exist.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Laurie, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm

I have been going to Scotts T&C for a number of years and have met most of the employees and many other friends there. It is very sad that this good restaurant is closing. Great people work there and the food has always been quite good. Because of Scott's, I have bought shoes, clothing, groceries and prescriptions from T&C stores. Without Scott's, there is absolutely no reason for me to go there in the future, hence, my business with these other merchants is lost.

All the luck to the terrific employees. Let us know where you end up and we will join you there.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Jay Park

I thank you for making me look at the menu and you are right, there is a lot of seafood.

The last few times I have been to Scotts it was in the event rooms with a limited menu. I was judging the whole restaurant on that. My mistake.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 5:01 pm

@Resident:

You can't judge a restaurant by what you eat at a private banquet. Those menus are typically "dumbed down" for maximum appeal to the attendees, as well as minimum cost (the host decides the menu). Fresh seafood is often quite expensive and a bigger group will have more people who are averse to eating seafood.

Whether plated as individual dishes, or offered in a buffet, there are also other challenges in preparing and serving food in a large group setting, many of which do not work well with delicate seafood that must be handled carefully and often fare poorly to overcooking, hot boxes, and service delays.

This is the same with special event menus like New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day, referred to derisively by restaurant staffers as "Rookie Night" or "Amateur Hour."

Judge a restaurant by its regular bill of fare in a typical situation because that's what 99% of diners will be experiencing.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 5:01 pm

@Resident:

You can't judge a restaurant by what you eat at a private banquet. Those menus are typically "dumbed down" for maximum appeal to the attendees, as well as minimum cost (the host decides the menu). Fresh seafood is often quite expensive and a bigger group will have more people who are averse to eating seafood.

Whether plated as individual dishes, or offered in a buffet, there are also other challenges in preparing and serving food in a large group setting, many of which do not work well with delicate seafood that must be handled carefully and often fare poorly to overcooking, hot boxes, and service delays.

This is the same with special event menus like New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day, referred to derisively by restaurant staffers as "Rookie Night" or "Amateur Hour."

Judge a restaurant by its regular bill of fare in a typical situation because that's what 99% of diners will be experiencing.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 5:01 pm

@Resident:

You can't judge a restaurant by what you eat at a private banquet. Those menus are typically "dumbed down" for maximum appeal to the attendees, as well as minimum cost (the host decides the menu). Fresh seafood is often quite expensive and a bigger group will have more people who are averse to eating seafood.

Whether plated as individual dishes, or offered in a buffet, there are also other challenges in preparing and serving food in a large group setting, many of which do not work well with delicate seafood that must be handled carefully and often fare poorly to overcooking, hot boxes, and service delays.

This is the same with special event menus like New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day, referred to derisively by restaurant staffers as "Rookie Night" or "Amateur Hour."

Judge a restaurant by its regular bill of fare in a typical situation because that's what 99% of diners will be experiencing.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Ugh, this comment server sucks.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:02 pm

In addition to my comment above, our family really loved Hobee's at T&C. Now we go to Hobee's down on El Camino about twice a month or more. Great menu, nice service......love the breakfasts served at all hours, and "Kids eat free on Wednesdays". Grandkids love it. Same great coffee cake and varied menu. Used to close on Monday nights - so call ahead. Not everybody can afford expensive restaurants, (not that any restaurant is really cheap - except McD''s etc.). Marie Callendars is gone. Hobee's at T&C is gone, and the first T&C casualty was the beloved "CooK Book" which residents pleaded for a reprieve. But the owners of T&C wanted upscale, high priced stores, hair salons, etc. Anyone have good family places to recommend??? Our family hasn't set foot in Stanford Shopping Center in seven years.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center,
on Feb 6, 2015 at 11:02 pm

In addition to my comment above, our family really loved Hobee's at T&C. Now we go to Hobee's down on El Camino about twice a month or more. Great menu, nice service......love the breakfasts served at all hours, and "Kids eat free on Wednesdays". Grandkids love it. Same great coffee cake and varied menu. Used to close on Monday nights - so call ahead. Not everybody can afford expensive restaurants, (not that any restaurant is really cheap - except McD''s etc.). Marie Callendars is gone. Hobee's at T&C is gone, and the first T&C casualty was the beloved "CooK Book" which residents pleaded for a reprieve. But the owners of T&C wanted upscale, high priced stores, hair salons, etc. Anyone have good family places to recommend??? Our family hasn't set foot in Stanford Shopping Center in seven years.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 9, 2015 at 9:03 am

Jay Park.

You are right of course. Eating a meal at a private function is not the way we should judge a restaurant, but unfortunately, for most of us that is exactly what happens.

For many people, a private function is the first introduction to a "new" or unfamiliar restaurant. If people at the function enjoy their meal they are likely to return to the restaurant proper. If however, the meal is only so so, why should they then return.

A private function should be the chance for the restaurant to deliver a great dining experience to a large number of potential new customers. Yes they should be able to offer a reduced number of choices but with some forethought and perhaps ordering in advance (something that many restaurants do for private functions), a showcase experience can be offered. I have done this at many restaurants when I have first attended a function and was impressed with the meal.

Scotts obviously missed the boat when it came to doing this and definitely lost my repeat patronage.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Anciana, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 9, 2015 at 11:43 am

We are so disappointed that the T&C Scott's is closing. We also ask for Nancy to be our waitperson, and she knows us, knows what we like, takes wonderful care of us. She has worked there for 30 years. Where is she going to go now? I can't think of another restaurant where we could drop in on a Sunday night have such good food and service.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Not surprised, a resident of Barron Park,
on Feb 10, 2015 at 8:44 am

As much as I hate seeing local business fail, I'm not surprised that this place is closing down. The few times I've been there I never found anything special about the place: food was so-so, service was regular. However, prices were above average. Just not a good combination.

Maybe people on a biz trip wouldn't mind if they have no other choices, but don't think many of the 'locals' that I know frequented this place.

Great location for a great restaurant. Maybe a decent grill/steakhouse like the ones we find in other parts of the country where it's not hard to find excellent steakhouses at reasonable prices.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by vincdejuanhk, a resident of Mayfield,
on May 4, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Too bad could have been a good restaurant. Hopefully they could start anew. There are a few good seafood restaurants in the business and here in my area at Repulse Bay in Hong kong , Limewood Restaurant is among it. Check out their website Web Link



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