Sunday was the eatery's last day of business at the original location. Owner Mario Navat said he decided to close after struggling to turn a profit against numerous pressures: a lack of foot traffic, insufficient parking, the rising cost of using third party delivery services like DoorDash and the increasing number of companies offering in-office lunch to employees. (Rent, amazingly, was not among his reasons for closing, Navat said.) Sales have been decreasing for more than a year, he said.
"I had to cut my losses before it got worse," Navat said Monday.
The Ace of Sandwiches ownership announced the closure of the original location on Instagram.
Navat said the Stanford School of Medicine approached him about seven months ago and asked if he wanted to operate a cafe out of an off-site research center at 1070 Arastradero Road. The appeal of business from about 700 university employees, not to mention the potential from surrounding businesses (Tesla, SAP and Pivotal are all close by) was too good to pass up.
Navat opened a new Ace of Sandwiches there with a limited menu in May. By the end of this week, the full menu from the original location will be available. He also plans to add "healthy fare" like salads, carb-free options and wraps.
The eatery is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting later this month, Navat plans to stay open for dinner until 7 p.m.
Navat said in an ideal world, he'd be running a storefront in Palo Alto, but acknowledged that "would be very costly as far as rent and overhead."
It felt "bittersweet" to close the original outpost, which he said has been fueled over so many years by strong community support.
"It was like our baby," Navat said. "But if we're not open to change, then we won't be able to survive."