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.
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