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La Panotiq shutters in Mountain View

Uploaded: Nov 29, 2017
Facing increasing competition on Castro Street and a prohibitively small space, La Panotiq closed its downtown Mountain View cafe on Nov. 22.

Paulette Trauty, La Panotiq's director of operations, said the 331 Castro St. cafe, which opened in 2015, was the company's highest-volume location, but its growth was limited by a small back-of-house area. The location had maxed out in terms of retail sales and wasn't able to accommodate catering, which Trauty said is the "fastest growing portion" of the company.

The decision to close was also influenced by a fast-approaching minimum wage increase that will go into effect in Mountain View on Jan. 1, Trauty said, and a growing number of French bakeries on Castro Street.

"To grow a business you have to have the ability to consistently increase your volume, especially in a busy location like Castro Street," she said. "If you have inhibited yourself with your own space and you cant do that, that really does become a problem."

La Panotiq at 331 Castro St. Photo by Elena Kadvany.

A family — father Mikhail Guterman, wife Natalya and daughter Maria — were inspired to open La Panotiq by trips to France. They opened their own version of a French cafe first in Campbell. Additional locations came later in San Francisco, Livermore and Burlingame. Both San Francisco cafes have since closed and the company is in the process of closing Burlingame, also due to space limitations, Tauty said.

She said when the company first started, catering was not a big part of the business model, but that has changed as corporate catering has exploded in the Bay Area.

The larger Livermore and Campbell outposts do the most catering and will remain open as a result, she said. La Panotiq is also looking to open a commissary kitchen next year to do more catering.

The company is not moving away from the brick-and-mortar retail model, Tauty insisted, but rather focusing on how to be a "more versatile brick and mortar and have that room for growth."

La Panotiq Mountain View opened after French bakery Alexander's Patisserie arrived on Castro Street in late 2014.

Three other bakeries -- Maison Alyzee, C'est Si Bon and Paris Baguette -- also plan to open on Castro.
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 +   7 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Nov 29, 2017 at 10:43 am

As a frequent customer, I'm very disappointed. These were the best desserts for the price on Castro St. There are other places which are either more expensive, or not as good.

 +   7 people like this
Posted by Customer, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Nov 29, 2017 at 11:12 am

We will really miss this place! I loved the fresh flowers on the tables. The optional contribution for employee healthcare was unique and thoughtful. The desserts and coffee were delicious and reasonable. It was such a great place to relax, work, people-watch.

 +   5 people like this
Posted by Chris, a resident of Rengstorff Park,
on Nov 30, 2017 at 6:30 am

Very sad to see them go. The desserts were delicious and the staff friendly. Thanks for being part of our community!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Old Mountain Viewan, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Dec 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Samson, a resident of another community,
on Dec 2, 2017 at 4:09 pm

I am not surprised by the news. I had wanted to patronize there, but just couldn't as it was the most expensive of all the cafes along Castro Street. $10.50 for a panini? That's way too much. Their other menu items was way too much. Especially their coffee and their desserts.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Quilly, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on Dec 4, 2017 at 11:17 am

Very sad to hear this!! I had the pleasure of visiting La Panotiq a couple of weeks before it closed and I had such a pleasant experience. I had been planning on going again in the next couple of weeks and then saw this article! :(

I guess I will have to start driving to Campbell to get my La Panotiq fix... I just hope it's as good as the Mountain View location!

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Kevin Foley, a resident of Mountain View,
on Dec 23, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Glad to see it go!! $4 for a cup of coffee!! More outrageous than Starbucks or Peet's. And the snotty attitude from both the workers and customers there, this isn't Hollywood. It is downtown Mountain View!!

We need more places like the Books Inc cafe--relaxing, reasonably priced and low key.

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