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Shop Talk: Bill's Cafe comes to Palo Alto, Farmigo adds new pickup location

Business openings, closings and more

In this week's retail news, San Jose's popular breakfast-and-lunch restaurant Bill Cafe comes to Midtown Palo Alto, and Farmigo online farmers market adds a new public pickup location: Gamble Gardens.

POPULAR SJ CAFE COMES TO PALO ALTO ... A popular daytime family-owned restaurant with five locations sprinkled throughout San Jose has decided to venture into Palo Alto. Bill's Cafe, which started in 1977 in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood, is opening a sixth location in Palo Alto's Midtown area. It has taken over the space that belonged to Pommard Deli and Fandango Pizza, which closed Dec. 31 with little advance warning to customers. The owner of the Palo Alto branch of Bill's Cafe, Nick Taptelis, immediately gutted the aging 3,000-square-foot site at 3163 Middlefield Road and is sinking an estimated $500,000 into the new venture. The cafe will be open for breakfast and lunch only. Taptelis acknowledged it's a daunting task. "Yes, it's a little nerve-wracking to open in Palo Alto since this is the first time we've gone out of San Jose, but we love it here," he said. "It's a great location, it's got a real neighborhood feel, we're right next to Philz Coffee and we have a parking lot. In fact, this area reminds us of Willow Glen." Taptelis is a San Jose resident who says he knows Midtown well. "I've worked here for five years. I was the manager of Philz Coffee and got to know the landlord. He told me he wanted to put in a place that had a great breakfast, so that's why he's getting a Bill's Cafe." As for what to expect at the new restaurant, "It's going to be new everything in here, plus we'll have a counter for people to eat at," he said. There will also be patio seating for customers. Taptelis predicts busy weekends once the restaurant opens. "We'll be serving Bloody Marys and Mimosas on the weekends. Big ones. We serve them in what our customers call 'fishbowl cups.'" Each cup holds 17.5 ounces. "And we'll be dog-friendly on the patio," he added. "We'll have a big bucket of dog biscuits outside and if the dogs don't like our biscuits, we'll give them bacon." The restaurant, which will hold 85-90 customers, is focused on an early June opening. Bill's Cafe is the second breakfast-and-lunch-only restaurant in Midtown. The first, Palo Alto Breakfast House, is four blocks away at 2706 Middlefield Road and opened in 2013.

ONLINE FARMERS MARKET COMES TO GAMBLE GARDENS ... Farmigo, an online farmers market that creates farm-to-neighborhood access to fresh food and benefits local farmers, has recently increased the number of its pickup locations in Palo Alto. Gamble Gardens , Farmigo's newest pickup location, is the third Farmigo location for the public -- the other two are Palo Alto JCC on Fabian Way and Palo Alto Community Child Care on Ventura Court. The Gamble Gardens site, 1431 Waverley St., began last month. Palo Altan Scott Saslow was instrumental in securing the Gamble Gardens space. "I'm a neighbor," he said. "My wife and I have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old and we're concerned about what our children eat. Plus this is a great way to build community. This is the perfect way for neighbors to meet." Farmigo is one of several community-supported agriculture (CSA) groups that have sprouted up in the Bay Area in the past few years. There are additional pickup locations in Palo Alto for Farmigo, but those are considered private, with access limited to those who are affiliated with each location.

Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. Email shoptalk@paweekly.com.

Comments

8 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2015 at 9:02 am

I would love this place to serve a dinner time menu and hope they can be persuaded. It would be great to have a meal with a glass of wine or a beer and be able to walk home after dinner without needing a designated driver.


6 people like this
Posted by From a City
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2015 at 10:28 am

Many PAUSD parents frequently talk about the dearth of interesting and inventive neighborhood spots in midtown for a light dinner/appetizers or a beer or glass of wine with friends (at least until 10pm).

A very large population of midtown families - adults in their 30s 40s and 50s - have moved here from large cities (SF, NY, Seattle, London, Tel Aviv) for schools and the neighborhoods. We are parents and may no longer be all that hip, but we still like to get out once in a while without driving.

Any reason mid-town shuts down at 9 on weekends?


7 people like this
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2015 at 10:53 am

KP is a registered user.

Oh, I am so looking forward to the new Bill's! I hope they can start dinner service also.
How nice to walk over there and sit outside for brunch, lunch or dinner in our own neighborhood. Forget downtown!


4 people like this
Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:32 am

Hah! They just think they have a parking lot. It's already full all of the time from Philz coffee customers. Just try to pick up your dry cleaning.


2 people like this
Posted by joinpa
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:33 am

I just started using Farmigo, it's so convenient and great food! The combo box gives you everything to try. I made fresh Kale chips last week - super easy!


4 people like this
Posted by Old but wise
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:36 am

Super, love the idea of a GOOD brealkfast/lunch place. Do agree would be lovely to have an evening meal too. Yum on serving mimosas. Hopefully it won't be too loud. Location is great! Wish we did not have to wait til June!!!


Like this comment
Posted by LocalToo
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:37 am

Local and KP - don't forget Mike's Cafe for dinner, just a walk up the block!

I look forward to trying Bill's for breakfast.


Like this comment
Posted by LocalToo
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:38 am

mutti - parking should be at the other end next to the liquor store.


1 person likes this
Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2015 at 11:51 am

For anyone interested in the Farmigo @ Gamble service, the link is as follows:

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2015 at 1:07 pm

KP is a registered user.

LacalToo - I'm on the E Meadow side of Loma Verde...I LOVE Mike's, but I have to drive up there!


Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 3, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Didn't know about Farmigo. Might give it a try, but I notice they don't provide the source for the meats. I've been using Goodeggs for some time. Goodeggs has much, much more offerings, delivery to your door, and every product specifies the ranch, farm, baker, etc.


Like this comment
Posted by What about......
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Whatever became of the French hotdog restaurant on Cal Ave? Jacquetta's liquor license expired five months ago.


Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 3, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Chez Franc (Jacquetta's restaurant) opened a few weeks ago! They are only open for lunch. It's great! You should try it. But be prepared, it can be busy with no tables available. Take-out is always an option though....The food is delish!!


4 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Mikes Café, which is a much longer walk for us, has sadly gone downhill so much that it is no longer a place we want to go. They reduced the menu, installed tvs and the service was very poor. We miss several favorites from the old menu and the tvs are a distraction even if we do our best to ignore them. The poor service, due to less buss staff, was the last straw.


Like this comment
Posted by JoAnn
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 3, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Sorry to hear Mike's has gone down. Does Mike still own it, or is it a new owner cutting corners?


3 people like this
Posted by bp, no not that BP
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 3, 2015 at 8:14 pm

As a neighbor of Philz, I am less than thrilled to hear about another restaurant opening in this very small strip mall. Parking on the 700 block is almost never available ( I wonder when the street sweeper is ever able to clean that block) and patrons of Philz have been known to use our private small (5 car) lot while purchasing coffee.

I hope that this cafe will not drive out the Cleaners/Laundry that has been a useful service for our neighborhood.

I assume that this new restaurant owner has done a survey and knows that a new restaurant will be successful in spite of cafes located less than a mile away, at Colorado and Middlefield.





































1 person likes this
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2015 at 9:21 am

KP is a registered user.

BP - Hopefully those that actually drive there, will park on the liquor store side parking lot. Other than parking, it's going to be great to have a restaurant in our neighborhood.

Our neighborhood has NO nightlife! We need some nighttime spots for our neighborhood...Not crazy nightclubs, but a lounge for a glass of wine or just a restaurant to get a drink before, with and after dinner!

I Love, Love, Love our Midtown Neighborhood and I hope that the City Council forgets we even exist! LOL!


Like this comment
Posted by Angela
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 5, 2015 at 11:47 am

We often drive to San Jose on Sunday mornings so that we can eat brunch at Bill's. That's amazing news that Bill's is coming to Palo Alto!!!!!!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Any News?


2 people like this
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2015 at 4:13 pm

KP is a registered user.

I've been wondering the same thing...I thought they would be open by now! Did they run into problems? I have seen the "now hiring" sign, but no action inside.


2 people like this
Posted by Eggs and Bacon
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm

City records don't show any permits have been applied for or issued for that address (3163 Middlefield). Maybe architect is still designing?

Permit History by Address:
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by JSD
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm

I emailed Bill's Cafe this week and got a reply that they are working with the city on permits and hope to be open mid-September.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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