CROISSANTS, ANYONE? ... A San Francisco-based French patisserie and cafe chain that has been eyeing Palo Alto for months is opening a new La Boulange in mid-May. The cafe will be on one of the prime corners of downtown Palo Alto at 151 University Ave. at Emerson Street. Construction is now in full swing for the 2,600-square-foot eatery, which will seat 75 customers indoors and another 25 on the outdoor patio. "We love this location and we love the patio. And we're happy we can bring new jobs to the neighborhood," La Boulange CFO J.P. Lachance said, adding that he is planning to hire 30 employees. La Boulange has 20 cafes in the Bay Area, 12 in San Francisco. The company recently opened one in Burlingame and is planning to keep moving farther down the Peninsula, Lachance said. The company is not to be confused with fellow restaurant chain Le Boulanger, which also has bakery cafes dotted throughout northern California.
GORDON BIERSCH TO STAY IN P.A. ... Some observers were shocked last week when Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant announced plans to close its San Francisco restaurant this month after 20 years in business. But that will not affect Palo Alto's Gordon Biersch at 640 Emerson St., John Burgess, regional manager, said. "No way in the world would we ever close Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto. That's where we were born. I love that store," he said. He added: "We are currently re-investing in that restaurant. We've already spent more than $100,000 in the last three months putting in new equipment, new walls, new floors and a new staircase. And we're not finished," Burgess said. Future plans call for additional upgrades and a new patio in front.
SUSHI AT FACEBOOK ... Fuki Sushi at 4119 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, which was established in 1978, is among only a few local establishments opening satellite locations at the Facebook headquarters at 1601 Willow Road near the Dumbarton Bridge in Menlo Park. The restaurant is expected to start serving sushi, tempura and other dishes in July. Another Palo Alto fixture, Philz Coffee, which has two locations in this city, also has a branch at the new Facebook. These on-campus businesses are open only to Facebookers.