'MOST ROMANTIC' RESTAURANT CLOSING . . . Maddalena's Continental Restaurant at 544 Emerson St. will serve its last veal scaloppini on May 19, when the restaurant officially shuts down. The quietly sophisticated restaurant was a frequent winner of the "most romantic" category in the Palo Alto Weekly's annual "Best of ..." contest. "The landlords had other plans, so they didn't renew our lease," said owner Fred Maddalena, who opened his restaurant in 1976. Cafe Fino, also owned by Maddalena and adjacent to the original restaurant, will remain, however. "We have the only cabaret in town and we're going to continue," Maddalena said of Cafe Fino, which will undergo a brief remodel. The spirited Maddalena started in the cabaret business in 1950 in Toronto, where he owned his first club. "Bob Newhart was my emcee. We even had a chorus line," he reminisced.
PARTNERSHIP LAUNCHES HAIR SALON . . . After being vacant for nearly two years, major construction has begun at 334 California Ave., the former site of Draper's Music Center. The storefront is now completely hidden from view by 7-foot-high wooden planks, as workers inside transform the former music store into a hair salon. Local stylists John Leach and Jaime Garcia, of Bocca's Hair Specialists, 2426 Park Blvd., are jumping ship and moving around the corner to create their own shop. The name of their salon, Legar, is the combination of the first few letters of each of their last names. And just for the record, Legar is supposed to rhyme with "cigar," not "beggar."
CALIFORNIA PAINT SHRINKS . . . More changes are taking place just down the street from the Draper's site. California Paint and Wallpaper, 360 California Ave., halved itself. It was more than 20 years ago that CP&W took over two storefronts in one building. One of the storefronts was the paint side, the other the wallpaper/drapery side. Now it is back to the original plan — everything in one storefront. The other half sits vacant until a new tenant can be found.
HOT MANGO PICKLE . . . Sounds like a condiment or a restaurant or a non-sequitor. Wrong on all counts. It's Bryant Street's latest offering in the home-decor market. Opened last month, downtown's newest boutique is located at 539 Bryant St. Hot Mango Pickle offers a range of products for the home, everything from Indian artifacts to Persian rugs. The shop has managed to carve out a unique niche for itself. Owned by cousins Ushi Patel and Rupal Patel, the unusual name of the boutique refers to their Indian heritage. "Hot Mango Pickle is the ... sweet and spicy relish often served with Indian food. Like the relish, Hot Mango Pickle is the coming together of opposites — a look that is chic and edgy, bold and functional," Ushi said.