PAMPAS REPORTS IT'S STAYING OPEN ..."Pampas is not closing and we look forward to providing the great food, service and ambience to the Palo Alto community for many years to come." That's Pampas owner Tim Reynders' e-mail response to recent news reports that Pampas Restaurant at 529 Alma St. in Palo Alto is closing after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. The "closing" reports are wrong, Reynders said. "Yes, it's true that we did file Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, but that was to protect us from some litigation. It has absolutely no bearing on the daily operations of the restaurant," he said. "We're open and it's business as usual."
ZITUNE CLOSES ... The 4-year-old Zitune, the Moroccan/Mediterranean restaurant at 325 Main St. in Los Altos, closed its doors last week. Despite consistently good reviews, including a recent recommendation from the Michelin Guide, "Timing was not on our side — the economy slowed and the Los Altos downtown revitalization we had hoped for never materialized," owner Kim Auerbachand and chef Chafik Larobi wrote in an e-mail to customers, in which they also thanked patrons for their support.
AND ZAO'S NOODLES, TOO ... Also recently closed is Palo Alto's Zao's Noodle Bar, the eclectic little restaurant at 261 University Ave. The tables, chairs, fixtures, glassware and silverware have remained untouched and in place as if it is business as usual since Zao's mid-November closing. A bit spooky.
TWO NEW SIDE-BY-SIDE RESTAURANTS TO OPEN ... It's a busy time for new businesses at University Avenue and Ramona Street. The historic red-brick building that formerly housed Mills the Florist is about to become a restaurant, with a particularly appropriate name. The Red Brick Cafe is planning to open at 235 University Ave. Directly next door will be a hamburger place called The Workshop, which is taking over the former location of Bella Luna Ristorante. (The Italian restaurant suddenly went dark last year after 11 years.) And wrapping around the corner is Hookah Nites Lounge, formerly called Da Hookah Shop, recently under new ownership.