Shop Talk: Renowned Indian restaurant expanding; SF Pilates studio coming downtown

The latest in local retail news

In the latest Shop Talk column, read about a modern Indian restaurant and a yoga studio that offers fast-paced workouts coming to downtown Palo Alto, plus the return of a beloved neighborhood eatery.

RENOWNED INDIAN RESTAURANT EXPANDING ... Anu and Vikram Bhambri operate modern Indian restaurants in San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, New Delhi — and come this fall, downtown Palo Alto. They're opening a new restaurant at 473 University Ave. The space was last occupied by Arte Ristorante, which closed temporarily last January and never reopened. The Bhambris, originally from Delhi, started their careers in the tech industry. Both worked at Microsoft in Seattle. Anu said she was always dissatisfied with the Indian dining scene in the United States, which felt unrepresentative of the full breadth and depth of the cuisine. "Most of the restaurants in the U.S. were doing heavy curries. That is not what Indian cuisine is about," she said. "We want to change the perception of Indian food." The Palo Alto restaurant will have a distinct focus on Indian grilling and kebabs, Anu said. Her favorite is the galouti kebab, patties made with different kinds of meat and spices that "melt in your mouth," she said. They're aiming to open in Palo Alto this fall. — E.K.

SF PILATES STUDIO COMING DOWNTOWN ... MNTStudio, the pilates and barre fitness center founded by San Francisco ballerina-turned-pilates-pro Elain Hayes, is opening a new studio in downtown Palo Alto directly across the street from YogaSource. The studio submitted a building permit in May to remodel a 1,447-square-foot space at 145 Hamilton Ave. MNT opened in San Francisco's SOMA district in 2013 after Hayes reportedly developed her own special program that incorporates athletic techniques with traditional pilates moves for workouts that achieve faster changes in the body. She personally teaches all of MNTStudio's instructors. In addition to its fast-paced workouts, the studio also provides onsite childcare and an in-store boutique, according to the MNT website. — L.T.

MIKE'S CAFE IS BACK ... The return of Mike's Cafe, a humble, longtime neighborhood eatery, might be one of Palo Alto's most anticipated restaurant openings of the year. Customers and neighbors stopped by the 2680 Middlefield Road space in Midtown for weeks as it visibly neared opening and called owner Mike Wallau and his other restaurant in Portola Valley, desperate for news. After shuttering for a year and a half for a major renovation and expansion, Mike's reopened for dinner last Thursday, June 20. Two years ago, Wallau took over the former Peninsula Hardware space with plans to expand. He tore down the wall between the old Mike's and the hardware store, adding new bathrooms, an open kitchen, pizza ovens, a communal dining table and a gleaming 18-seat bar made from 100-year-old Douglas fir wood. The former Mike's space seats 40 and the new dining room, 50. "I made a big decision," Wallau said, standing in his restaurant's brand-new dining room. "I did this because I really felt ... Midtown has always needed a place where neighbors can say 'hi,'" where staff and diners know each other by name and gather often over comfort food. — E.K.

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.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Round Table Pizza bites the dust in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 3,707 views

Local Transit to the Rescue?
By Sherry Listgarten | 28 comments | 3,375 views

Eating Green on the Green – August 25
By Laura Stec | 6 comments | 1,349 views

Moral Panic, again on guns
By Douglas Moran | 18 comments | 1,073 views

"The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 757 views


Register now!

​On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

More Info