BIGGER KITCHEN ... Dino Tekdemir, the effervescent owner of Anatolian Kitchen, has big plans for his business. He is taking over the former space of Ramona's Pizza, located next door to his restaurant at 2323 Birch St., Palo Alto. Ramona's closed May 1, leaving a trail of pizza lovers surprised and dismayed. Tekdemir plans to create a bar, lounge and private dining room in the additional 1,000 square feet of space. "We're hoping to be ready and finish all construction by late October," said Tekdemir, who sent his building plans to the city this week for approval. "When they approve, we start," he said. Anatolian Kitchen opened about three years ago, and Tekdemir said he did not expect the success. He recently opened a second restaurant and wine bar in San Francisco's Union Square, called First Crush. "I now split my time between the two restaurants, but I'm mostly here in Palo Alto," he said. As for Ramona's owner Carmen Tejada, she said Tekdemir's offer to buy her space was somewhat of a relief. Her son, Mario, had worked long hours with little vacation time to manage the restaurant, and she said the family couldn't afford to hire someone to help manage it. "I was very emotional — selling the business when we had such wonderful, loyal customers who we'd served for such a long time."
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