PIAZZA EXPANSION COMPLETE ... A sigh of relief has swept over Piazza's Fine Foods at 3922 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto's Charleston Shopping Center. The nearly $2 million, year-long expansion has finally come to an end. The remodel added 4,000 square feet to the grocery store, putting the finished product at 24,000 square feet. "The job turned out to be much bigger than we thought," said store owner Gary Piazza, who shares ownership with his two brothers, John and Rick. "We moved walls, added refrigeration; we got new freezers (and) new milk cases; and we remodeled our two bathrooms," he said. The aisles in the store were also transformed. "People were angry about the size of our aisles; they said they were too narrow. So we made them bigger. They are now 6 feet wide, even more in some places," Piazza added. Another brand-new feature is the burrito bar. "I got the idea from our Hispanic cooks. We're using their family recipes for some of the items like chicken mole and barbacoa. We've had a great response so far and we only opened two weeks ago," he said. But the success of the grand remodel is bittersweet for Piazza. His father, Sicilian-born John Piazza Sr., who founded the grocery store in 1987, passed away last September. "I only wish my dad was here to see this," he said.
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posted Friday, March 22, 2013, 12:00 AM