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Palo Alto wine bar Vino Locale changes hands to customer-turned-owner

Uploaded: Mar 26, 2021
The owners of Vino Locale have sold the downtown Palo Alto wine bar to a customer with a passion for food and wine.

Co-owners JC Andrade and Debra Szecsei will be turning over the charming Victorian house on Kipling Street to Nima Alizadeh, they announced in an email. Alizadeh is a "customer-turned-owner who appreciates the unique charm and potential of Vino Locale," they wrote. He also owns Beta Lounge, a bar in Berkeley. Alizadeh will be refreshing the space and making some changes, the email reads.

The front patio at Vino Locale in Palo Alto, pre-pandemic. Photo by Veronica Weber.

The original owners, Randy Robinson and Harry Johnson, opened Vino Locale 16 years ago. Szecsei and other co-owners took over in 2012. In 2018, they opened a second Vino Locale in Santa Cruz, where Szecsei lives.

Szecsei said it became difficult running the Palo Alto wine bar from Santa Cruz, and she also decided to retire. Andrade left Vino Locale in 2019 but returned during the pandemic to help manage the wine bar.

"We've been through so much this past year, and we really appreciate just how special Vino Locale is to the community," Szecsei said. "Nima plans to continue what Randy and Harry started back in 2005. I really believe that Palo Alto needs a place like Vino Locale: an old Victorian turned into a wine bar, with outdoor garden seating year-round, offering local food, wine, art and music. It's home to so many."

Debra Szecsei, left, and Emily Mathews, right, co-owners of Vino Locale, pictured at the wine bar in 2014. Photo by Veronica Weber.

Vino Locale adapted during the coronavirus shutdown by making food for people in need, delivering 2,600 donated meals to local shelters and low-income people.

The wine bar is open again for indoor and outdoor dining as well as takeout and delivery. Live music will return to the backyard garden patio soon.

For the last few days of the month, before Alizadeh takes over, Vino Locale will be offering 40% off all wine bottles.

You can stop by to say a socially distanced farewell, with wine, to Andrade and Szecsei in the backyard this Saturday, March 27. Paul Renslow, the first musician they hired after taking over Vino Locale in 2012, will be there playing Spanish and Flamenco guitar from 5-9 p.m.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Julie O, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 2, 2021 at 12:34 pm

Julie O is a registered user.

I love Vino Locale. They are off the beaten path of University Avenue and conveniently located down the street from Apple Store on Kipling. It's a charming old house with plenty of outdoor seating and a great wine list. I have been going here now since it originally opened. I love the down home community feel of this establishment.

They not only have great wine but a great menu and delicious brussel sprouts. We've met the new owner, Nima, who is lovely and I think will carry on the same feeling that we got under JC and Debra's care.

Since the weather has been so gorgeous we've been there a few times over the last few weeks. Thursday night's they now have live music. This is a great place to drink and dine and support a local business.

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