Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - July 20, 2012

Shop Talk

RESTAURANTS GOING AND COMING ... Some good news and some bad news for restaurant-goers: Palo Alto is losing three high-end restaurants next month, but gaining three new ones. Gone will be Trader Vic's at 4269 El Camino Real, in front of Dinah's Garden Hotel. The Polynesian-themed restaurant that was known for its exotic tropical drinks with elaborate garnishes is slated to close in late August to make room for The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse. The restaurant will specialize in seafood and is a new venture for the Michelin-starred Alexander's Steakhouse, which has locations in Cupertino and San Francisco. An experienced team has been put into place to manage The Sea; some of the team works at Alexander's, and others have a long working history at both Spago and Fleming's Steakhouse, according to Alexander's chef and chief operating officer Jeffrey Stout, who will be chef at The Sea. "With The Sea sandwiched between our two locations in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, we feel this is the perfect location to support each other as a restaurant group," he said. The new restaurant is scheduled to open in mid- to late-October.

Next out the door is Mantra, an Indian restaurant at 632 Emerson St. that began serving in March 2006. Incoming is the Mexican eatery Tacolicious. Owner Joe Hargrave has big plans for the site. A massive renovation is planned, with Hargrave plunking down $500,000, "and that's just for the construction," he said. "Then there's the new furniture, the new fixtures and the art." The plans call for walls to be torn down to make the kitchen visible to diners. "You'll see a lot more energy here," Hargrave said. A veteran restaurateur who has two other Tacolicious locations in San Francisco, he said: "I've been thinking about coming to Palo Alto for a while. I love this community and I have a lot of friends and investors here." The restaurant is expected to seat more than 100 guests and open in October or November.

The third shutdown is Lavanda, a Mediterranean Italian and Croatian restaurant and wine bar at 185 University Ave., on the corner of Emerson Street. Although owner Bruce Schmidt said, "We will be reopening soon at a location nearby," he did not provide additional information. Replacing Lavanda is Campo Pizzeria, a new concept from the owners of Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay and Osteria Coppa in San Mateo. Sources said that Campo Pizzeria is expected to open in October.

TROUBLE AHEAD FOR TERRITORY AHEAD ... At least two of Territory Ahead's four stores are closing this month, including the one at Stanford Shopping Center. Scheduled to shut down for good on July 28, the travel and casual clothing store is currently offering most merchandise at steep discounts. Territory Ahead opened an outlet store in Midtown Palo Alto in 2004, but that, along with its companion store, Travelsmith, closed several years ago.

NEW SUBWAY FOR SOUTH PALO ALTO ... A Subway is coming to Charleston Center at the corner of Middlefield and Charleston roads. Construction began this week to transform a small office that was home to an insurance company into the sandwich shop. Located near Piazza's Fine Foods and next to Green Elephant restaurant, Subway is expected to open in late summer/early fall.

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 shoptalk@paweekly.com.

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