A&E

The Peninsula restaurants that opened, closed this summer

New, exciting options for sweets, coffee and cocktails

James Ashe, the bar director at Amandine Project, makes a cocktail at the new Los Altos bar. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Summer saw a flurry of closures and arrivals on the Peninsula. While local diners mourned the departure of Palo Alto bakery stalwart Prolific Oven, Portola Valley regained an institution with the reopening of the historic Alpine Inn. Other local cities now have new, exciting options for sweets, coffee and cocktails, with more on their way this fall.

Read on to catch up on what opened and closed this summer.

Palo Alto

This year will go down as the year Palo Alto lost two of its longer-standing food businesses, The Prolific Oven and Round Table Pizza. The beloved Waverley Street bakery closed in August after 39 years due to a "severe" labor shortage and increasing cost of doing business in the Bay Area, the owner said (but not before people overwhelmed the bakery with last-minute cake orders). Round Table, which one diner called "one of the last bastions for blue collar lunch" in downtown Palo Alto, also shuttered. Also in August, Italian wine shop Biondivino closed after four years at Town & Country Village.

Meanwhile, Palo Alto got several new food and drink options this summer. Morsey's Creamery, a spinoff concept from the owners of Morsey's Farmhouse in Los Altos, is now scooping ultra-creamy gelato made from buffalo milk at 125 University Ave. Stanford Shopping Center got a new caffeine option in Blue Bottle Coffee, serving drip coffee and espresso drinks plus liège waffles, sandwiches and savory and sweet toasts. Anyone who can't decide between satisfying their cravings for pizza and Indian food no longer has to choose; Curry Pizza House is now slinging chili paneer pizzas, desi pesto bread sticks and other fusion food at 320 University Ave.

Mountain View

Silicon Valley references abound at Fairchilds Public House, the Peninsula's newest hotel-restaurant inside the Hyatt at 409 San Antonio Road. The restaurant uses as decor interactive QR codes, old Atari game cartridges and the periodic table symbol for silicon; cocktails have names like "the gigabit" and "encryption margarita."

Mountain View this summer also got its own Ike's, the Bay Area cult favorite sandwich shop, at 1020 N. Rengstorff Ave., Suite F. Exclusive to this location is a new, cheekily named roast beef sandwich: "Larry Page & I Have The Same Birthday, So Basically I Invented Google Too."

Taiwanese shaved snow, milk tea and baked goods are on the menu at the newly opened Oh! Honey Snow Ice at 1030 Castro St. Suite A, next to Le's Alterations at the Elan building. Look for several flavors of shaved snow, including strawberry, mango, banana-Oreo, dragonfruit and taro, plus cream-filled choux pastries, madeleines and cookies shaped like ice cream scoops.

Los Altos

Australian-inspired cafe chain Bluestone Lane opened its first sit-down Bay Area location at 288 1st St., the historic train station that last housed Voyageur du Temps. There's avocado toast, vegemite, flat whites, "wellness" spritzes and plenty of beachy Australian vibes.

After losing Honcho Bar, Los Altos gained a new watering hole this summer: Amandine Project, a Japanese-style cocktail bar at 235 1st St. Jean-Luc Kayigire, a Los Altos resident and former bar and restaurant owner, opened the bar to encourage Los Altans to spend more time in Los Altos proper rather than going to neighboring cities for quality drinks.

Menlo Park

San Francisco third-wave coffee shop Saint Frank Coffee is now pouring single-origin espressos from a 250-square-foot outdoor kiosk in Menlo Park. Saint Frank, which sources beans from small growers in lesser-known regions around the world, is located at 1018 Alma St., across the street from the Caltrain station.

A new kind of business for downtown Menlo Park: Green Bubble Cafe opened at 604 Santa Cruz Ave. in late August, serving Taiwanese milk tea as well as Hong Kong egg waffles, mochi waffles and savory rice bowls with teriyaki chicken, chicken curry, unagi and beef.

Portola Valley

August marked the much-anticipated return of Portola Valley's Alpine Inn, better known to locals as Zott's. New owners refurbished the 167-year-old institution, rebuilding the floor, removing asbestos, cleaning old license plates and beer bottles that decorated the walls and adding wood-fired pizza to the menu while still working to retain the treasured restaurant's spirit. Zott's is now open for lunch and dinner every day except Monday.

Redwood City

Coffeebar is enjoying enormous success after opening its first Peninsula location in Menlo Park in January 2018. The Truckee-based coffee company is set to open at 2020 Broadway St. in downtown Redwood City next week, followed by a third outpost in November on the Facebook campus (it will be a public cafe). The Redwood City Coffeebar will have the same core menu items as Menlo Park -- coffee and espresso, avocado toast, baguette sandwiches, pastries -- but will also serve fresh handmade pasta and tasca, or ciabatta stuffed with fillings like meatballs, chicken or tomato, basil and mozzarella.

More coffee for downtown: Coupa Cafe opened its 10th cafe in August at 695 Main St., in the ground floor of the new Marston Building apartment complex. Beyond Coupa's popular Venezuelan coffee and espresso, tea and other drinks, the Redwood City location serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus beer and wine.

After nearly four decades of serving frozen yogurt and ice cream, Yumi Yogurt announced this week that the 947 El Camino Real shop will close on Sunday, Sept. 15. "Our ultimate goal was to provide a service, experience and product that was unique, memorable and unlike anything else," an announcement reads on Facebook. "It is through our great team here and loyal customers that we have had such a tremendous run." Disappointed Yumi Yogurt fans can still visit the San Mateo and Santa Clara locations.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

1 person likes this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 12, 2019 at 10:58 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Morsey’s gelato is no bull.


4 people like this
Posted by Larry
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 13, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Another (re)opening in Palo Alto was Mike’s Cafe! Great to have a another refreshed restaurant in midtown, and finally a spot to get quality cocktails in the neighborhood!


6 people like this
Posted by Renter's Blues
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2019 at 6:12 pm

If you don't own the building, don't expect to be around forever regardless of the business. Simple as that.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 13, 2019 at 9:38 pm

Alpine Inn was busy this very warm Friday evening. I parked way out on Arastradero. A security guy was directing parking lot traffic. Good time had by all.


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 14, 2019 at 7:46 am

What is up with the new Vietnamese place on University Ave and High St. that was supposed to open this month? Is that still on track? What is the name of it?


3 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 14, 2019 at 7:54 am

Does anyone remember Liddicoats where there was one large building and many different food places all together.

The food scene in Palo Alto is so bad, it would make a lot of sense for the City to buy a buildling like that and then rent out spaces or stalls to restaurant entrepreneurs at a reasonable rate to undercut and put some rent price competition on our bloodthirsty landlords in this town from the public sector.

That or pass pass laws that office buildings have to devote their ground floors to stores at a reasonable rent, or surrender them via eminent domain to the city to rent out for small business.

"Renter's Blues' up there is right, if you do not own the building you are working to put most of your efffort and money in the hands of a lazy rentier class that does nothing but try to pick the pockets of everyone who lives in our town.


11 people like this
Posted by Old & In The Way
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 14, 2019 at 12:03 pm

> Does anyone remember Liddicoats where there was one large building and many different food places all together.

I remember when Liddicoats was an ACTUAL grocery store.


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 14, 2019 at 10:13 pm

> I remember when Liddicoats was an ACTUAL grocery store.

Where was Liddicoats - the market? I didn't think it was in the same building?
I thought after Liddicoats market there was Zeit Gallery?

Someone should go back and keep track of all the old businesses that lived
in Palo Alto, and where they were and what they looked like at the time. Is
there anything like that in Palo Alto?

I still remember opening my first bank account on the BofA on University, and
going to see the Midnight Movies at the Varsity when it was a theater, before
it was a bookstore.


3 people like this
Posted by Old & In The Way
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Where was Liddicoats - the market? I didn't think it was in the same building?

^^^Yep. Same building with display windows to boot!


17 people like this
Posted by Old & In The Way
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2019 at 4:07 pm

>> Someone should go back and keep track of all the old businesses that lived
in Palo Alto, and where they were and what they looked like at the time. Is
there anything like that in Palo Alto?

PA old timers will remember Thoits Shoe Store, Roos Brothers, University Creamery, Crescent Bakery, Adolph's Bakery, Rucker's Uniforms, Dick Felt's, TC Christies, The Camera Store, Palo Alto Mutual Savings & Loan, Dana Morgan & Son, Swains House of Music, Howards (a children's store), Webb Camera, Wideman's, Vaughns of Sather Gate, The Poppycock, the original St. Michael's Alley, The Alley, Smith's Sport Shop, Eyerly's Hardware, Palo Alto Hardware, The Paris Theater & Bistro, the Greyhound bus station...the list goes on.

Town & Country used to have some interesting sites as well, like the Masserati dealership and the amusement park.


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2019 at 7:59 pm

Lots of businesses ...
Jeans West or American Jeans? on University
Wenzit Burger ??
Woolworths
World's Indoor Records
Chimera Books
Town and Country Records
Hobees in T&C
Machismo Mouse
Pizza A Go Go
Univeristy Creamery
House of Pies
Varsity Theater
Bijou Theater
Festival Cinema
T&C Records
T&C Market
Stickney's
Channing Market
World Wraps
Radio Shack
Liddicoats Market
Lucky Market
Albertson's
All the little fast food joints in Whiskey Gulch
Stacey's Books at San Antonio
31 Flavors on University ... and now Round Table
Pacific Stereo or similar on Lytton
Fine Arts Cinema on California
Togo's on Meadow at El Camino
42nd St.
Jocelyn's Midtown Bike Shop
Co-op Markets
Mrs. Field's Cookie / Liddicoats
Zeit Gallery
??? There used to be a huge garden nursery on El Camino, not sure what it was called.
so many I cannot even remember them all ... feel free to add.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 15, 2019 at 10:12 pm

Since we've meandered off-topic, somewhere in the clutter I have a few old telephone books. Don't know whether our Palo Alto Library has retained any of those. Still looking forward to my 50-year Cubberley reunion, if we organize one.


11 people like this
Posted by Old & In The Way
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2019 at 8:42 am

Forgot to add Werry Electric on the corner of University Avenue where North Face once had a store).

@ CrescentParkAnon.

^^^ You're a relative 'newbie'...we're talking downtown PA businesses that were here from around the 1950s-early 1970s at best (although some of your listed were).

BTW, it was Harmony Stereo on Lytton...Pacific Stereo was on San Antonio Road/MV.

42nd Street (behind the alley) was the old PA Hardware warehouse.

Mac's Smokeshop is still around...they used to have a barbershop in the back.

Montgomery Wards on the corner of University & Emerson.

And one store that MOST Palo Altans never heard of or remember...The Pacific Store on Hamilton. It was a workingman's outfitters that later became a bike store...decades later.


1 person likes this
Posted by elisabeth
a resident of Addison School
on Sep 16, 2019 at 1:45 pm

Yea, Liddicoat's, the grocery, was there on University before it became an early version of a food court. There also was once a Woolworth's "five and dime", with a counter where you could get a soda or a shake. Palo Alto was like many towns in its time, with family stores like Swain's House of Music and Rapp's shoestore, and chains like Woolworths and Baskin-Robbins on its main downtown street, University Ave. As for who keeps track of all of this, aside from us old timer fans ... SUPPORT THE PALO ALTO HISTORY MUSEUM! The team there is striving to create just the kind of resource this thread seems to be asking for. The Palo Alto History Association (not sure of the name) has been collecting and archiving photographs and stories for years. Their enthusiasm and patient, steadfast work have fueled and will continue to feed into the museum project. If you want to share this picture of Palo Alto's past lives with your neighbors and children and grandchildren, support this resource when you can.


3 people like this
Posted by Old & In The Way
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Downtown PA USED to be a shopping district & a place to go see a movie...now it's predominantly dining.

You could buy a car in downtown PA as well...Paddleford Olds/Cadillac, Keyes Pontiac, Lutz Ford & H&E BMW (before BMWs got tacky).


2 people like this
Posted by Laura Bajuk
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 16, 2019 at 4:33 pm

What a great list! Thanks for the heads up Elisabeth!

The Museum is indeed collecting stories like these which will be part of our opening exhibits... you can write yours at Web Link

The Palo Alto Historical Association has been collecting images and artifacts for a century or so, and the new Museum will house that archive in cooperation with PAHA. Many of those photos have been digitized: check them out at PAHistory.org - and maybe add your own.

The new Museum has "only" $750k (of $9.2M) left to raise to start construction, but we're so close we can taste it. We have limited artifact storage now, but will have more when we open about a year after construction starts. Keep us in mind as you find things that record our past.

As this conversation thread shows, it's better to collect while we still remember what they are and where they came from.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


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?

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.

Squid ink paella & patatas bravas: Barcelona natives bring Spanish tapas to Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 3,510 views

Lights Out! Foods to Snuggle With in the Dark
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,964 views

What to do with all those cardboard boxes
By Cheryl Bac | 2 comments | 1,948 views

Premarital and Couples: The "Right" Way to Eat an Artichoke
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,380 views

Some answers, please, PG&E
By Diana Diamond | 10 comments | 1,088 views

 

Race Results Are In

Thank you for joining us at the 35th annual Moonlight Run & Walk! All proceeds benefit the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday fund, supporting local nonprofits serving children and families.

Click for Race Results