Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - January 29, 2010

Shop Talk

by Daryl Savage

BITS AND PIECES ... Newcomers, nearby moves and name changes are popping up all over:

* A newcomer is Pinkberry, the highly successful frozen-yogurt chain. It opened in Stanford Shopping Center over the weekend, and judging by last Sunday's crowds it is a likely keeper in the mall. It is located on the El Camino Real side between Bloomingdale's and Ralph Lauren. Pinkberry began five years ago in Southern California and now has 75 yogurt shops.

* A "nearby move" is the long-awaited, across-the-street-and-down-a-block relocation of Su Hong. After 12 years at 4101 El Camino Way in Palo Alto, the Chinese restaurant moved last month to the former location of Denny's restaurant at 4256 El Camino Real. The move had been planned for years and "we're happy to finally be here," one of the servers said.

* Another across-the-street move is in the Midtown neighborhood of Palo Alto. Best Video, which was at 2770 Middlefield Road, jumped across the street to a slightly larger location and is now next to My Gym at 2645 Middlefield Road. Interestingly, My Gym is the former site of Midtown Video, which closed in 2004.

* The name change belongs to the former Townhouse Inn, a 37-room hotel at 4164 El Camino Real in Palo Alto. After 30 years as Townhouse it is now called the Zen Hotel. The new name came after an extensive remodel that began last year. Changes include new pavers in the parking lot, upgraded beds and linens, and an eco-friendly Asian theme throughout the building. The renovation is still going on. "The landscaping is next. Then we'll make the lobby larger and eventually we'll be serving hot breakfast daily," Manager Ina Fiaui said. The hotel's new Web site says, "The path of enlightenment for travelers to Palo Alto begins here at the Zen Hotel." It sounds like the right path: "Business has definitely picked up around here," Fiaui said.

CONSIGNMENT JEWELRY IN LOS ALTOS ... Los Alto resident Connie May loves jewelry. So much so that she recently opened her own jewelry shop at 331 First St. in downtown Los Altos. Called Estatements, it is a high-end jewelry consignment shop that also sells designer handbags and art. "We used to have parties where we would exchange jewelry with each other," she said. "It is such a great concept that I always thought it would be a great idea to open a shop like that." And the timing seemed just right. "It has a lot to do with the economy. Values have changed," May said. "A lot of items are from my own circle of friends. They're from the 'horse set' and the 'golf set,'" she said. And even though Estatements is located next to another jewelry store, The Diamond Broker, she does not anticipate a problem. "We complement each other," May said.

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. She can be e-mailed at shoptalk@paweekly.com.<$>

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