SAY CHEESE; PIAZZA TO EXPAND ... Piazza Fine Foods at 3922 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto's Charleston Center is in the midst of growing another 4,000 square feet, an increase of about 20 percent. "We've always been limited for space here, so we've been thinking about expanding for a long time," said Gary Piazza, who shares ownership of the 25-year-old market with his two brothers and father. Piazza is expanding into the space next door that became vacant following the departure of Gentle Dental earlier this year. The new space will be dedicated to increasing the size of the store's cheese shop, and will also house an expanded meat and deli department. "We expect to have about 500 varieties of cheeses," Piazza said, noting that he will be paying particular attention to adding local options. "There are so many new cheese makers around here. People keep asking me about more local items, so now I can bring in these small boutique cheeses from areas like Petaluma and Fort Bragg." Piazza also plans to increase seating to about 20 seats both indoors and outdoors. The expected opening is Oct. 1. "But if everything goes well, we could open by mid-September," Piazza said.
SHOKOLAAT SHUTTERED ... Shokolaat Restaurant at 516 University Ave. in Palo Alto served its last truffle on June 16. The building's landlord plans to convert the downtown building to retail and office space in another year, and though he offered Shokolaat one more year of life before the conversion, "We weren't interested in taking it," said co-owner Shekoh Moossayi, who shared ownership of the restaurant with her husband, Mark Ainsworth. The couple plans to move to France.
NEW RESTAURANTS AT STANFORD ... The fast-casual Mexican grill Chipotle opened this month at Stanford Shopping Center, next to Pinkberry. Although the menu is identical to those of other restaurants in the chain, the interior has a different look, with a long, sleek contemporary style. Also newly opened in the mall is Yucca de Lac, a tropical-looking indoor/outdoor Asian-fusion restaurant. Located near California Pizza Kitchen, Yucca de Lac hails from Hong Kong, where it has been a mainstay for 50 years.
BETSEY GOES BANKRUPT ... The news is not so great for Betsey Johnson, whose unconventional, high-end clothing and accessories store is no more. The company has filed for bankruptcy, forcing all of its 63 stores to close, including the one at Stanford Shopping Center. The only items that remained were the black-and-white checkered tile floor and a handwritten sign on the window that said "Closed Forever." But even those remnants were covered recently when the space was boarded up, awaiting a new tenant. Betsey Johnson fashions can still be found at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.
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