STEALTH FITNESS STUDIO ... A casual walk past the new Xercise Lab in Palo Alto's Town & Country Village doesn't begin to tell the story of what goes on behind the glass doors. A small retail shop that sells fitness items is all that is visible from the front door. But Xercise Lab's space may surprise visitors who step farther inside. "It does look deceptive," said Jenny Rowe, who opened the fitness center in June. The back portion of the 2,000-square-foot space is dedicated to a modern fitness studio. Although the fitness studio is a roomy 900 square feet, Rowe allows only 15 students per class to give everyone ample space. Another feature in the studio is the sprung hardwood floor that is built to be shock-absorbing. "It's bouncy. We have springs underneath the floor, just like the springs in a mattress," she said. A Los Altos native and Palo Alto resident with three young sons, Rowe said she saw a need for children's fitness as well as adult's. "There's hardly any P.E. in schools any more. They get one P.E. class a week for 30 minutes. That's it," she said. So part of Xercise Lab's mission is to offer fitness to kids. One non-dance program, appropriately named Recess Lab, offers 45 minutes of intense cardiovascular and strength training "disguised as fun," Rowe said. A 25-year veteran of the fitness industry, Rowe saved her money over the years so that she could create Xercise Lab. "I don't have any investors. I started this from scratch. I guess I'm an entrepreneur at heart."
SURVIVOR: MACARTHUR PARK ... MacArthur Park
, one of Palo Alto's oldest and grandest restaurants, has shown its determination to survive throughout its 31 years. While the restaurant was once considered a Peninsula hot spot, its future is now uncertain. "Our 99-year-lease with Stanford is coming to an end on June 30, 2013," restaurant assistant manager Matt Lavery said. But he remains hopeful. "We're optimistic we'll find a new location, either at the Stanford Shopping Center or somewhere nearby," he said. Lavery, who has been affiliated with the restaurant since 2003, admitted that it has seen better days. "We definitely don't get the crowds the way we used to," he said. The restaurant stopped serving lunch at the end of March and is now open only for dinner. But it continues to be a popular destination for parties and celebratory events. "We actually do a lot of big events. Many of them take place on our patio," he said. And it's one of the few restaurants in this area that can accommodate as many as 300 diners at one time across its six rooms. But Lavery acknowledged that there remains confusion about the future of the restaurant. Recent news mentioned the possible demolition of the historic Julia Morgan building, with a large theater complex replacing it. There's also talk that the historic building could be moved to another location. "Because of the confusion, we're doing different promotions to keep people aware of the restaurant, especially our happy hour. We also do a prime rib dinner on Friday and Sunday for $19.18, which is the year this building was built," Lavery said.
BAKERY CLOSES ... Anko Bakery, which was previously known as Alison Bakery, closed its doors last week at 4131 El Camino Real, Suite 104, in Palo Alto. Neighbors in nearby Barron Park expressed concern that the nearby Cold Treats ice-cream and frozen-yogurt shop would also close, but a woman who answered the phone at the business would not comment on the possibility. A man at the bakery also declined to answer the Weekly's questions.
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