Shop Talk: Guild Theatre closes; Women's boutique expands to Palo Alto

Also, Tamarine opens new Vietnamese restaurant downtown

In the latest Shop Talk column, Menlo Park's longtime single-screen movie theater draws its curtains for good, Town & Country Village has a new women's luxury apparel store and Tamarine opens its more casual, Tam Tam in downtown Palo Alto.

GUILD THEATRE CLOSES ... Landmark's Guild Theatre, a single-screen movie theater that's been in Menlo Park since 1924, officially closed its doors on Thursday. Landmark spokeswoman Laine Kaplowitz confirmed the closing of the 225-seat theater, which was first announced on Facebook on Sept. 20. The Menlo Park City Council approved plans in May 2018 to transform the vintage movie theater into a nonprofit live music venue. The new theater is also expected to host occasional film events. The Guild was constructed in 1924 and began offering "moving pictures" around 1925, according to a historical report by Bonnie Bamburg, excerpted on the Imagine Menlo website. According to the report, the theater, initially called The Menlo, started out showing silent films accompanied by a live organist, but by 1929 had upgraded its sound system to offer "Movie-Phone" sound. The lobby was forcibly shortened by about 30 feet in 1942 when El Camino Real was widened. The theater changed names to the Guild when a newer theater in town took the name "The Menlo." Ownership changed hands several times. In the late 1980s, the theater was remodeled in the Art Deco style, and it developed into its current niche in the local theater-scape as an art house theater. — K.B.

OAKLAND BOUTIQUE EXPANDS ... Oakland's McMullen Boutique has expanded into Palo Alto. The women's luxury apparel store opened in the former Intermix space at Town & Country Village on Sept. 14. This is the second store fashion retailer Sherri McMullen has opened since launching her flagship boutique in Oakland in 2007. McMullen, whose shop features emerging designers from around the world, said she decided to open the Palo Alto store after seeing a growing clientele from the Silicon Valley, according to a press release. Named one of the top boutiques in the country by Women's Wear Daily, McMullen has become well known for its commitment to supporting African and African American apparel and home decor designers who have limited resources. Sherri McMullen is actively involved in the Bay Area, regularly holding fundraisers for organizations focusing on women, children and the arts. — L.T.

TAMARINE SPINOFF OPENS ... Banh khot, bo luc lac, goi ga and other traditional Vietnamese dishes are on the menu at Tam Tam, which opened Sept. 23, in downtown Palo Alto. Tam Tam (140 University Ave.) comes from the owners of Tamarine, the more upscale Vietnamese restaurant located at the other end of University Avenue. It's an attempt to be more casual, less expensive and "strictly Vietnamese" (no fusion dishes), co-owner Tanya Hartley said in a previous interview. She has run Tamarine with her sister Tammy Huynh since 2002. Both were born in Vietnam; their family is from from Vung Tau, a fishing village in South Vietnam. The menu describes Tam Tam as "a regional Vietnamese restaurant created to introduce our guests to the heart and soul of traditional Vietnamese cooking." The menu identifies which region of Vietnam each dish comes from. Banh khot, crispy coconut rice flour pancakes stuffed with crab meat, uni and scallions, is from the South, while ca chien, fried whole branzino topped with sauteed onions, bell peppers, pineapple, dill, celery and tamarind sauce, is from the North. Tam Tam serves a Northern-style pho with slices of beef tenderloin and brisket and fried breadsticks on the side. Starters range in price from $8 to $12 and entrees, $19 to $28. Tam Tam will be open from 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant will open for lunch (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) starting Monday, Sept. 30. They hope to prove that "you don't have to go to downtown San Jose or East side San Jose to have real Vietnamese food," Hartley said. — E.K.

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

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4 people like this
Posted by Genuinely Curious
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 1, 2019 at 8:10 pm

I am genuinely sincerely curious how a new women's luxury apparel store in T&C can attract customers and make money in the close vicinity of Stanford Shopping Center full of women's luxury apparel stores ...
Can someone explain it to me?

Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2019 at 10:46 am

Posted by Genuinely Curious, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove

>> Can someone explain it to me?

It is the fourth law of thermodynamics: the number of clothing stores is non-decreasing.

Like this comment
Posted by Big spenders
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2019 at 11:05 am

We need to make it convenient for the competitive big spenders to out-spend their peers.

The super-rich have destroyed the humane culture we once had here.

2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 2, 2019 at 8:48 pm

We need to make it convenient for the competitive big spenders to generate sales taxes.

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