Shop Talk: Halo, La Morenita to close; Verve Coffee to open


Read about the latest retail and restaurant news in this week's Shop Talk column, including a new cafe opening downtown next year and a salon and longstanding Mexican restaurant closing their doors.

HALO CLOSES AT TOWN & COUNTRY... Halo Blow Dry Bar is closing its original salon at Town & Country Village on Dec. 31 after eight years of providing blowouts to customers. Shortly after Los Altos resident Rosemary Camposano launched her chain in Palo Alto in 2010, the salon garnered national attention. The Wall Street Journal featured Halo in an article about the no-cut, no-color blow-dry salon scene emerging along the West Coast. In a recent email to customers, Camposano and general manager RĂșna Magowan explained the Palo Alto closure: "It comes down to rent and parking. Our customers are finding it more and more difficult to park at Town & Country Village and the rent is more than we can afford without raising prices . . . and we are not raising prices. ...We want to thank Town & Country Village for being such a great home for us for all these years." Stylists at the Palo Alto salon will be moving to the chain's three other locations in Menlo Park, Los Altos and Burlingame. Gift cards, memberships and products also will be transferred to the other locations, according to Camposano and Magowan. -- L.T.

NORDSTROM NOW OPEN AROUND THE CLOCK... Night owls, rejoice! Stanford Shopping Center's Nordstrom is ditching its traditional store hours during the final week of the holiday shopping season. Earlier this week, the department store launched a new service that provides around-the-clock curbside pickup through Dec. 24. Shoppers who purchase items through the company's "Buy Online & Pickup In-Store" service can call or text 10 minutes before their arrival and an employee will be ready with their merchandise when they arrive. Customers can also text "gift" to receive a complimentary gift wrap kit with their curbside pickup. Shea Jensen, Nordstrom's senior vice president of customer experience, said the temporary service is part of the company's push to improve the shopping experience. Nordstrom rolled out the program at a limited number of locations. -- L.T.

VERVE COFFEE COMING TO TOWN... Santa Cruz's Verve Coffee Roasters is coming to Palo Alto. Verve has taken over 162 University Ave. and hopes to open a cafe there in mid-2018, said co-founder Colby Barr. Verve was born in Santa Cruz in 2007 and has since grown to 10 coffee shops -- four in Santa Cruz, one in San Francisco, three in Los Angeles and two in Tokyo. The single-origin coffee is still roasted in Santa Cruz and comes from direct-trade relationships with farmers, according to Verve. Barr said that they have been "casually" looking for a location in Palo Alto for years. Verve is already well-connected to the area, supplying local tech companies and several cafes that sell their coffee wholesale. He said they were also drawn by the entrepreneurial allure of Silicon Valley and Stanford University. (According to their new landlord, Mark Zuckerberg signed his first office lease in the same building. It was also where Android started.) The cafe will have the typical coffee offerings and a full food menu, Barr said. -- E.K.

ADIOS, LA MORENITA ... After 23 years of serving Mexican food in downtown Palo Alto, La Morenita will close on Friday, Dec. 29, co-owner Miguel Reveulta said Wednesday. Revuelta, who runs the Emerson Street restaurant with his wife Aurora, said the couple plans to retire. The space at the corner of Emerson Street and Homer Avenue will next become a restaurant called Taverna El Greco, according to a public ownership-change notice. The owner of a local catering company, Hakan Bala of Palo Alto Tavern Catering, is behind the restaurant. Bala did not immediately return a request for comment. According to the company's website, he is a native of Turkey who later became a chef in Miami. Bala previously worked at Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto (which anchors the other end of Emerson Street several blocks away), where he also met his wife, per the website.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Elena Kadvany and Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email shoptalk@paweekly.com.

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Like this comment
Posted by Nick
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 28, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Morenita was never worthy of its location. We've lived in Man View and here in Palo Alto for 7 years and only visited the restaurant three times. We love Mexican food and have enjoyed Sancho's taqueria, Fiesta del Mar, PA Sol, Grullense and others that put La Morenita to shame. The food was always under seasoned, under presented and the menu lacking in imagination. A real shame because we what we always wanted was an awesome neighborhood spot, a local hot spot if you will. La Morenita was never that and it sucked. Hopefully the new Greek place will shine and will draw visitors from University Ave and locals alike.

4 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 28, 2017 at 10:28 pm

We've been going to La Morenita almost since it opened and have really enjoyed the food. The flavors were great, and not dependent on adding hot hot hot like so many other restaurants. I heartily disagree with Nick and his rude expressions. We will miss La Morenita and it's friendly, low-key atmosphere very much. Thanks for so many delicious meals!

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