THE MORPHING OF CAL AVE. ... A handful of businesses are changing hands in Palo Alto's California Avenue business district. The first change is Anatolian Kitchen, a new Mediterranean restaurant that opened Oct. 8 at 2323 Birch St. in the former location of Oaxacan Kitchen, which had a two-year run. Turkish-born Dino Tekdemir, who co-owns Anatolian Kitchen with his brother and chef, Sahan, is the star of the show. His exuberance for his food and his appreciation for his customers cannot go unnoticed. "I'm here all the time, from opening to closing. This is my life," said Tekdemir, who stands at the door to greet people, then visits each table. His personal touches are featured throughout the small restaurant. Pointing to an assortment of leather shoes tacked on to the wall, he said: "Those are special holiday shoes. Nearly 100 years old." Also adorning the walls are Kurdish rugs and handmade silver plates. "I used to polish these plates with a special cloth when I was a child," he said. Tekdemir's pride is further evident in the food preparation in a tiny kitchen easily viewed by diners. "Everything is homemade here, from the dolmas to the bread to the Anatolian ravioli."
The timing of the opening is important to those mourning the loss of a neighboring restaurant that also served Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant portion of Illusions, the nightclub at 260 California Ave., is now vacant. While the club remains open, the restaurant has been dark for about two months. Word is that the club is seeking another restaurant to occupy the space.
LUGGAGE OUT, CIGARS IN ... Another change on Cal Ave. is the loss of Seifer's Leather at 393 California Ave. The shoe, handbag and luggage-repair store is gone. A banner outside the shop announces that the site will become the "Cigar House." Construction is currently going on to begin the transformation.
ANOTHER BISTRO ... The popular Bistro Elan at 448 California Ave. is expanding. It's opening a second bistro around the corner in the former location of Primo Cleaners. The petite space at 2383 Birch St. is expected to open in a few months, according to observers.
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