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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Santa Barbara restauranteurs take leap to Palo Alto

Uploaded: Jan 15, 2015
A husband-and-wife team that gained local fame for their culinary and physical revamp of a historic restaurant in Santa Barbara wine country is turning their eyes north, with plans to open a restaurant in downtown Palo Alto this summer.

Chef Robbie Wilson and his wife, Emily Perry Wilson, of Mattei's Tavern in Los Olivos, have, interestingly enough, partnered with Chamath Palihapitiya and Brigette Lau, a Silicon Valley power couple (they're behind The Social+Capital Partnership, a venture capital firm based in Palo Alto) to open the restaurant at 420 Ramona St., the longtime home of Mandarin Gourmet. Mandarin Gourmet closed its doors in October after more than 20 years of business. The two couples were introduced in late 2013 by Charles Banks, a Southern California investor and partner on the Mattei's Tavern revamp.

"They really 'got it,'" Emily Wilson said of Palihapitiya and Lau. "It's the type of restaurant that we would all want to frequent, several times per week. The more we discussed it, the more it became evident that it would be a superb fit for Palo Alto."

Emily said her husband has been developing the concept for this restaurant for several years, though she's a bit cagey when it comes to details.

"Without disclosing too much at this juncture, I can tell you it will be reflective of Robbie's culinary history (Nobu, Craft [New York, extensive travel)," she wrote in an email. "It's also a celebration of simple ingredients, and will be a partnership with the finest ranchers, farmers and artisans."

Robbie Wilson's culinary training took place in France. As noted above, he has since worked in many renowned kitchens, including The French Laundry in Napa. In 2013, the Wilsons and the Banks restored the 1886 building that housed Mattei's Tavern and reopened with a modern, seasonal menu that draws on the bounty of the Santa Ynez Valley. ("Essentially, the Valley is the menu," the restaurant website reads.)

The Palo Alto restaurant will be called B+B (no answer yet on what that stands for). The team is planning an extensive renovation for the 4,400-square-foot space with a goal of opening this summer, Emily said.


Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by paloaltofoodie, a resident of Midtown,
on Jan 23, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Dropped in unannounced on a weekday several weeks ago and was welcomed by a rather unpleasant and unfriendly maitre d. Coldly stated that it was only by reservations only and that the earliest seating was at 7pm. It was around 5pm when me and a friend excitedly dropped it and the place was pretty empty unless everyone had invisibility cloak worn that late afternoon! He hurriedly suggested the bar. Told him graciously that we'd rather dine somewhere else. The haughtiness of this person was simply appalling. The new restaurant on the block obviously has got some attitude. Never, ever experienced anything like it in any of the restaurants in Palo Alto. Kudos to the maitre d. Informed all my friends the treatment I got from you! Well played, NOT!!!


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