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Saving Cho's Restaurant

Original post made by Chris Clementson on Feb 1, 2014

As we all know, legendary Palo Alto landmark Cho's Mandarin Dim Sum Restaurant is about to be evicted from its present location on California Avenue, closing the business and forcing owners Cho and Daisy Yu into involuntary retirement.

I was born and raised in Palo Alto and now live in the Los Angeles area. I visit Cho's every time I'm in Palo Alto. Here in Los Angeles, the Food Truck or Catering Truck has become very popular for tiny food service operations the size of Cho's. A Food Truck is the crux of my idea to save Cho's from extinction:

Web Link

Web Link

My idea is that fans and customers of Cho's in prosperous Palo Alto donate to a fund to be established for the purpose of acquiring a food truck which would enable Cho's to remain in business.

Acquiring a food truck is the first prong of the idea. The second prong is to find space for the truck to operate. Perhaps a semi-permanent place could be found along Park blvd or Sherman ave. The truck would thus have access to sidewalk space. Perhaps the city could charge a nominal parking fee of, say, $10 per month. In addition to the ongoing cost of food and supplies which any restaurant faces, the cost of insuring and licensing the vehicle would have to be addressed.

That is my idea. The devil, as they say, is in the details. First, Cho himself would have to be interested. A fund would have to be established and donations solicited for the acquisition of a truck, or some other means of financing would have to be obtained. Insurance is another consideration. Unfortunately, due to my lack of proximity to Palo Alto and the demands on my time, I am not able to become personally involved; someone else would have to take up the cause. I merely throw this out as an idea for saving Cho's from extinction.

Comments (5)

Posted by 3rd Generation Chinese, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 3, 2014 at 12:03 am

Why don't you ask Cho if he is interested before posting here? And ask the city if food trucks are allowed to park indefinitely in Palo Alto - I think they are quite strict.

Frankly, I grew up in Palo Alto and am now raising my children here, yet have never been to Cho's because it doesn't appear clean. There are plenty of Chinese restaurants in Silicon Valley.


Posted by kaye, a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

My family has eaten at Cho's for over 30 yrs. We have never gotten sick from the food or location and various family members have gotten sick from numerous other fancier restaurants. I give Cho's a lot of credit in the food safety department. The food has been hot and fresh during all those 30 yrs. Yes, a very small, crowded,decor-challenged place.


Posted by Chris Clementson, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Posting here merely exposes the idea. Researching Cho's interest and city law can be taken up separately.

The on-line petition to save Cho's had over 1,500 "signatures" last time I looked, so clearly there is an interest. I kind of doubt the landlord will change its decision.

Isn't Cho's subject to health department inspection just like any other restaurant?


Posted by Second Generation Palo Altan, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

This is what Oaxacan kitchen did when they could not make a go of it on Birch St, off Cal Ave. this may be the only option left to the Yu family. Oaxacan Kitchen is very successful as a food truck, now, and the overhead is less.

I hope the Yu family will consider this. There are three generations of our family who will mourn their departure otherwise.


Posted by Chris Clementson, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Cho's place is tiny and he's been getting a break on the rent for many years. The dilemma is, who would rent to him in a satisfactory location at a price he can afford? Does the Oaxacan Kitchen truck roam from spot to spot?

I was wondering who owns the abandoned Southern Pacific right of way that goes behind Fry's and the old cable co-op space. I wonder if there would be a place for him there. That said, you can't beat his current location. Maybe it's time FedEx diversified into dim sum.


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