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.