Shop Talk | November 16, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - November 16, 2012

Shop Talk

DINAH'S QUIETLY REOPENS ... After closing in September after 40 years in business, Dinah's Poolside Restaurant reopened on Nov. 1. Located on the property of Dinah's Garden Hotel at 4261 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, the old-fashioned restaurant had been shuttered after a legal battle between its operator and the hotel's owner. The new Dinah's is decidedly more upscale. It has several updates including new hardwood floors, new tables and chairs and a new menu. Gone are the swivel stools and the counter service. The hotel's other new restaurant, The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse, opened Nov. 9 in the former spot of Trader Vic's, which closed in early August. The high-end seafood restaurant seats 148 diners with an additional 50 seats in its outdoor patio.

MIDTOWN GETS SCHOOL OF ROCK ... Palo Alto resident Hansel Lynn is bringing a new music school to the Midtown neighborhood of Palo Alto. School of Rock, a national franchise, is scheduled to open in mid-January at 2645 Middlefield Road, in the former space of Best Video. The school teaches young musicians to perform like rock stars. School of Rock was made famous in 2003 when Jack Black played a substitute music teacher in the movie of the same name. The film "was loosely based on the school and Jack Black's character was loosely based on the creator of School of Rock, Paul Green," Lynn said. An amateur musician and former singer for a cover band, Lynn was employed in the high-tech industry. "I wasn't looking for a business, but I saw an ad for School of Rock and I made the decision last year to open it," he said. He liked the live-performance aspect. "Although we are a music school, we get the kids up on stage. They will be performing in live venues," he said. Lynn has three young children who he says are not yet musically inclined. "But they will be," he said.

MALL LOSES TWO LONGTIME TENANTS ... Talbots is leaving the Stanford Shopping Center. The women's clothing store has slashed prices on all inventory, including store fixtures and furniture, in an effort to clear out and close the mall store. There is no date yet when it will shut its bright red doors, but a store employee said, "We'll stay open until everything is gone, even though they keep bringing in additional merchandise." Talbots at Stanford is one of the more than 100 stores nationwide to close through fiscal year 2013 as part of a chain cost-reduction program, according to a statement made by Talbots COO Michael Scarpa. Stanford Shopping Center has also lost Haagen-Dazs. The ice cream store is completely dark, although tables are still bolted down and chairs still surround the shop. A peek inside reveals everything is still set up for business. No word yet on a new retailer for that spot.

MORE GONERS ... Papa Murphy's a "take 'n' bake" pizza place in Palo Alto's Midtown neighborhood, is gone. The business closed last month at 2730 Middlefield Road, leaving a small sign in the window advising customers that the restaurant chose not to renew its lease. Also departed is Natalie's Salon, the corner nail spa at 539 Alma St. in Palo Alto. It closed its doors for good on Oct. 29. Its sister store in San Mateo has also closed.

Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out, or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. Email


Like this comment
Posted by Local Family
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm

So sorry to see that Papa Murphy's has gone. We have lots of happy memories of watching them make our pizza before taking it home to cook.

Like this comment
Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Ducatigirl is a registered user.

It just won't be the same: the old employes won't be there, the old ambience won't be there.

New digs and new menu should be interesting, though

Like this comment
Posted by Pleased
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2012 at 9:52 am

They have retained some of the old staff. Ate there last week and had a very good omelet.

Like this comment
Posted by Also Pleased
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I also ate at the new Dinah's Poolside, I like the atmosphere better and the food was better, similiar, but better. I wouldn't call it upscale necessarily, but would say it's nice. I did see a couple people I recognized from the old restaurant plus I think I saw a guy who used to work at Trader Vic's. If that's the case, I give credit to the owner, after all, the building was in her family's name the whole time.

Like this comment
Posted by Pat
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Ok, but did they raise their prices? That's what "upscale" generally means.

Like this comment
Posted by Rachel Kardos
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm

The School of Rock San Mateo location is OPEN! The School of Rock San Mateo is currently enrolling for Winter Guitar Camp!

Like this comment
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Haagen-Dazs closing is a blessing. Some months ago, I went in to buy a pint of ice cream (to go!).

The man working behind the freezers looked very unkempt, and was surly as well. The ice cream was soft, not frozen.

After I paid, he asked me, almost as an afterthought, if I wanted a bag. (!)

I said please.

He ducked into the back and brought out a USED generic plastic bag. Board of Health, where were you?

That night I emailed the Stanford Shopping Center management office. Response was one of dismay, and that they'd forward my email to the franchisee.

Never heard a peep! No reply! None!

Bye-bye Haagen-Dazs.

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


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


Registration now open

Sign up for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here