Shop Talk | September 6, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - September 6, 2013

Shop Talk

GOURMET DOGS UNLEASHED ON CAL AVE ... It's not easy turning an old, used bookstore into a new, modern restaurant, but Jacquetta Lannan is apparently up to the task. The 33-year-old former attorney and recent culinary-school graduate has taken over the former site of Know Knew Books at 415 California Ave. in Palo Alto. She has big plans for her eatery, Chez Franc, which will serve gourmet hot dogs and sausages. "I've always wanted to open my own restaurant. I have wonderful memories of my grandparents' restaurant in rural Nebraska. I used to sit near the kitchen and I always wanted to play there," said Lannan, who grew up in Lincoln, Neb. Her dream came true this week, when she officially took over the 2,300-square-foot space on Sept. 1. "I had been looking for a spot for six months. I knew I wanted to find something in Palo Alto because I live here. This is my community. In fact, I live less than a block away and I can see the space out of my window," she said. The construction of Chez Franc is expected to take eight to 10 weeks. "I know that sounds pretty fast, but that's what the contractor told me. So I expect to be open in December or January," she said. Calling her 49-seat restaurant a "modified, fast-casual" affair, Lannan said customers will place their orders at the counter and food will be served at tables. "Most of the hot dogs will be in the $13 to $17 range. That may sound high, but we're making almost everything in-house and we're using organic and local produce as much as possible," she said, emphasizing that many of the "dogs" on the menu are not at all traditional. "We're creating the cassoulet dog, which is made with duck confit and beef cheeks and a bean puree. We also will have what I call an elevated take on the chili dog, made with Bolognese sauce with a burrata (cheese made with mozzarella and cream) basil topping," Lannan said. A hot dog flight is also on the menu, with three smaller dogs, and customers will be able to peer through a viewing window to watch how the hot dogs and sausages are made.

DAY ONE MOVES OUT OF T&C ... Day One, the popular Palo Alto center for expectant and new moms, has closed its doors in Town & Country Village and plans to reopen downtown with a new name in October. "We've been acquired by another company so we'll be changing our name and location but our team will stay the same. This is actually wonderful news for us," Day One president Nancy Held said. Day One, which has been in the spot for about seven years, has services including classroom instruction on breastfeeding, and parenting workshops. The new location is 522 Waverley St. in the former site of Congdon and Crome, a stationery store that closed after nearly 110 years in business in Palo Alto, the last nine at the Waverley location. The new Day One will be about the same size, 5,000 square feet, on two floors instead of one. "Our first floor will be retail and the second will be where our classes are held along with seating areas for new moms," Held said. Day One's second location in San Francisco is also planning to relocate, Held said, adding that other Day One stores may be coming soon.

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


Posted by Nice idea, but, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm

It is a nice idea, but not too many people around here eat that kind of fare.

Might work for people with children who have fussy appetites, though.

The only other Jacquetta I have ever heard of was from Luxembourg. Her family housed Joan of Arc as she awaited trial by the English in the 15th century. her eldest daughter married King Edward IV.

Posted by Nice idea, but, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm

It is a nice idea, but not too many people around here eat that kind of fare.

Might work for people with children who have fussy appetites, though.

The only other Jacquetta I have ever heard of was from Luxembourg. Her family housed Joan of Arc as she awaited trial by the English in the 15th century. her eldest daughter married King Edward IV.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I disagree. Ever heard of "Top Dog" in Berkeley? Does amazing business. I wish the new enterprise the best of luck!

Posted by Berkeley '68, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:15 pm

I loved Top Dog and look forward to a hot dog and sausage restaurant with top quality ingredients!!

Posted by foxymoron, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:51 pm

>> gourmet hot dogs

Military Intelligence ... Jumbo Shrimp ... Palo Alto Online Editorial Competence ... all contradictions in terms.

Posted by Francois, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Checked out the old Know Knew Books location. There was a sign on the door stating that French-style hot dogs would be served. Grew up in Auvergne; ne er had a hot dog until I went to Germany. never had a BAD hot dog until I came to America!

Posted by businessdecision, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

It is high time to recognize that this newspaper is ill serving this community by opening these fora and then having to close them down because of the awfulness of the comments.
4th estate, shut this whole thing DOWN. Please.

Posted by Midtown, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2013 at 10:16 am

$17 hot dog? Ok only in Palo Alto, but hey $20 burgers are selling like hot cakes so who knows. What was it they said about fools?

Posted by 35 year resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 9, 2013 at 11:35 am

If there's an authentic Chicago Style dog on the menu, I'm there.....

Posted by Wayne, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

If the gourmet hot dog concept doesn't fly, try gourmet haggis. I guarantee it hasn't been tried before.

Posted by SSHS, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Chicago hot dog with steamed poppyseed bun and good relish (not that bright green stuff!) within walking distance...I'm there too!

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I already miss the bookstore.

Posted by Midtown Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm

This place will only do really well if they served high-end hipster beers (single engineers) and are open late, so the folks from that Nut bar down the street have a place to eat.

Also make sure to have a spot for strollers for all the new parents with kids who want a laid back place to hang. They want to feel like they are in SF again.

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:10 am

Hey, Jacquetta-
Not too late to change name from Chez Frank to Confederacy of Dunces.
Feel free to use that or you can enterprise it for .25 per unit.

Or as the Buddha would say, make me one with everything...

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I don't notice the specialty burger place doing that well. I went there and it was nothing spectacular ... in fact it was sub-par for the money. These kind of places are gimmicky ... hot-dogs are like the poster children for junk food.

Though I do have to admit one time I do eat hot dogs about once a year still, I take some sesame oil and slice up a couple of Hebrew National Jumbo hot dogs about 1/4" thin and fry them until the slices are brown on both sides, then I get pork & beans and add the drained hotdogs to the mix with some onions, peppers, corn, etc ... now, that is a real taste treat .... it might even make a nice mix to put in a bun.

I keep meaning to try this with veggie hot dogs, but have not done it yet.

Posted by Chris Lowman, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I like Top Dog in Berkeley - but part of their appeal is that the hot dogs are inexpensive. I go there after class and get a good meal (and yummy bread) for less than $5.

Posted by not a yuppie, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

$17 for a hotdog? Good luck with that. California Ave is the family friendly part of town where no one is going to pay prices like that. How much does Top Dog charge?

Posted by Yuppie Puppy, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm

This should be on University Ave, near the Umami Burger place that sells the pretentious $25 hamburgers.

Posted by Eddy H., a resident of Atherton
on Nov 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

You did it! You had said it was your plan long ago and you followed through. I wish you the best. I can't wait to eat there.

Posted by ineedahotdog, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

I think its an awesome idea. Any entrepreneur willing to sacrifice a career which they worked hard for deserves nothing but success....Good luck with your endeavors. i will definitely be submitting your restaurant to for photos and ratings...Good luck

Posted by Whoop-Dee-Doo, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2013 at 11:46 am

One does not always get what one deserves, good or bad. A $17 hotdog should be sold on Univeraity Ave where there are more suckers just dying to be impressed.

Posted by DanHarper, a resident of Mayfield
on May 20, 2014 at 6:49 pm

I think that 13.00 to 17.00 for a hot dog is just too much .
I think that there are plenty of eating places California av.
I liked Know Knew Books. The Bargain Box is closing at the and of June.
it sounds like thair trying to make California Av. a place with upscale shops and eating places.
one of my faverite places to eat is just afew doors away (Meditarenian Wraps)

Posted by No Show, a resident of Southgate
on May 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Peeked in the window recently, and after eight months there is still not one piece of restaurant ( or any other kind) of equipment in there. Sounds like it's a no-go.

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 6, 2014 at 4:45 pm

I have to say I met Jacquetta today - and by the way its pronounced pro nuanced I should say JOCK WET AH -- and I got two dogs for $20, at Mitchell Park grand opening, plus she posed for a snap shot. Instead of the proverbial "make me one with everything" om having Chicago Dog with bacon. Chez-cago they called it. I called it yummy. Lets play two as Ernie take her to the Banks would say.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm

@Mark, I too saw Jacquetta with the Chez Franc-mobile at the Mitchell Park grand opening today. Someday I'll probably spring for one of her creations, but today I made do with Ada's cookie handouts and Moksha's free coffee samples.

Must say I'm thoroughly confused by the date of this thread. Did I miss a year on the calendar?

Posted by Sillyness, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Good hot dogs without the royal provenance are $1.69 at Costco. Soft drink is included. And it's good. But you can't flaunt your wealthy status eating there.

Posted by Expiry, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Liquor license in the window expired three months ago. I would dare say this is not gonna happen.

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