News


Korean restaurant set to take over old Apple Store in Palo Alto

Maum wins praise -- though not approval -- from Palo Alto's architecture board

A Korean restaurant with a rooftop terrace is setting its sights on the former Apple Store in the heart of downtown Palo Alto.

Maum, as the new restaurant is called, would occupy 451 University Ave., on the corner of Kipling Street. The city's Architectural Review Board held its first review of the project Thursday morning and while it didn't formally approve the application, most members were enthusiastic about the project and the changes proposed by Maum. These include new exit doors along Kipling Street and modifications to the second floor to provide access to the roof. A new "pedestal-type wood deck surface" would be included on the roof and the roof structure would be raised, increasing the building's overall height by 4 feet 6 inches, according to a letter from BCV Architects, the project architect.

Along University Avenue, the plan is to relocate the entry door and install glass sliding panels and brick pavers and add a new entry canopy all along the storefront.

Board Chair Randy Popp called it an "exciting project" and said it would fit in perfectly on University Avenue. He called the design "terrific" and said he was particularly enthusiastic about the rooftop terrace.

Vice Chair Robert Gooyer said he was concerned about the placement of the stairs and, based on that, said "he can't support the project as it stands now."

Board member Kyu Kim was more enthusiastic and said he likes the idea of "bringing new life" into a space that has been vacant since Apple moved its operations to the other side of University Avenue.

"I can definitely see a lot of people coming here and re-activating the site on University Avenue," he said.

But Kim also shared some of the concerns expressed by residents about the project's impacts on the neighborhood. The board had recently approved a four-story development on University and Kipling, across the street from 451 University., and SAP is now preparing to open Hanahaus, a cafe aimed at high-tech professionals at the Varsity Theatre. The context, Kim said, makes the project a bit more complicated than it otherwise would be.

"I do worry a little bit about some of the surrounding conditions," Kim said.

Some things, he said, "would need to be massaged." Yet he also praised the project for having a "lot of heart," a nod to the restaurant's Korean name.

The board continued its review to a later date and requested that the Planning and Transportation Commission also weigh in on the proposal, which would result in an overall increase in square footage because of the roof modifications. One question that remains unresolved is the impacts that these adjustments should have on the building's parking requirements.

These reservations did little, however, to diminish the board's appetite for the new restaurant.

"We do have this clear message to preserve the vitality of downtown," Popp said. "Frankly, what can be better than a restaurant on University Avenue?"

Comments

23 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

Residents want to preserve ground floor retail space around downtown. Please don't make these restaurant owners business any more difficult with unnecessary roadblocks.


16 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2015 at 11:24 am

It's a miracle that this isn't being converted into 4 story offices. hurry up and approve it. It's going to be a lot less crowded as restaurant than it was as the Apple store.


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 6, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Woohoo. Another alcohol permit.


1 person likes this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:57 pm

> "We do have this clear message to preserve the vitality of downtown," Popp said.
> "Frankly, what can be better than a restaurant on University Avenue?"

Wonder what these sorts of comments have to do with the architecture of the project? Seems that the ARB does have too much to say about its core mission, and a lot to say about the politics of "keeping downtown vibrant".

It's a shame that thee isn't someone, like the Board chair that can be trusted to rein in these kinds of comments and keep the focus on these reviews tightly linked to the charter of the specific Board/Commission reviewing the project.

The POST's article on this meeting reported on parking issues brought to the Board's attention by neighbors. The response of the ARB was that "parking is not our charter". Well, if the ARB recognizes that it has a charter, then many of these comments would see to be well outside that charter and the Board needs some reminding of its primary role--rather than a cheering section for project owners.


2 people like this
Posted by Hooray!
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Personally, I strongly dislike Korean food, but a restaurant of any kind is preferable to an office of any kind.

Start the construction already!


7 people like this
Posted by j
a resident of University South
on Mar 6, 2015 at 6:01 pm

If it has to be another food joint, why not a nice bakery downtown. I'd just go for a regular ole banana muffin, myself.


5 people like this
Posted by Jenny
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2015 at 11:43 pm

Could we just have a good old American-style restaurant, ala the old beloved Stickney's with a good take-home bakery? And maybe 'chicken pot pie'. Please.


8 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 7, 2015 at 1:41 am

@j - If you want a muffin, you have options: Prolific Oven, La Boulange, Cafe Epi, Paris Baguette, plus most of the coffee places.


2 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 7, 2015 at 1:44 am

And the Creamery has great muffins too..


2 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2015 at 7:48 am

The Creamery also has a great chicken pot pie...


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 7, 2015 at 8:18 am

I've seen only Turkey pot pie at the Creamery.
You'll see me there when I'm in a cheeseburger mood.
Or French Toast for breakfust [sic]. Always a treat.
Uncertain whether I'd try Korean unless friends coaxed me in.


15 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2015 at 11:04 am

We're looking forward to trying this restaurant. Korean is a very diverse cuisine that can be very different from the Chinese and Japanese restaurants that you find in Palo Alto. The tofu soup place out on El Camino is really Korean street food. Upscale Korean restaurants serve a lot of different dishes, that are hard to find unless you drive down to Santa Clara.


2 people like this
Posted by Yum
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

An open market with fresh fruits and vegetables, a salad bar, and a great deli would be great.


2 people like this
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2015 at 3:56 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

> We're looking forward to trying this restaurant. Korean is a very diverse cuisine

[Portion removed.]

Americanized Asian food includes adding a lot of sweeteners--such as in sweet-n-sour sauce, or BBQ sauces.

Real Korean Kimchi is very potent stuff, and hard to deal with. American style Kimchi isn't as bad, but it still takes some getting used to. Everyone should try Kimchi--as it is a part of the Korean daily diet.

[Portion removed.]

Will be interesting to see if this restaurant survives.


Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

As an American born, I like Korean food and look forward to trying this restaurant.

One thing I wish more Korean restaurant owners would do, (and some of these people are running Chinese and Japanese-themed restaurants) is embrace and experiment with "Asian fusion" dishes on their menus.

For example I think "Korean Tacos" you can get from a food truck are great. Why can't a restaurant try that?

Han's Hibachi use to have a Kimchee Roll on the menu. It was an egg-roll with a little bit of kimchee in it and a sour-sweet sauce to go with it. I though the contract of the spicy kimchee with the sweet sauce was great.

One thing that I've never seen but would like to try is a "bulgogi burger". Take the Bulgogi meat with cooked onion and put is it with an American hamburger bun and some Korean side dishes on the side. I think that would be a good thing to attract some American customers.

I haven't been downtown recently. When will this place open?


Like this comment
Posted by CrecentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2015 at 11:37 pm

I like Korean food every once in a while. It is often way too
spicy hot for me, pretty wimpy when it comes to real hot
spicy food, but it can be very tasty too!.

How is the Korean Barbeque place in Menlo Park doing? Is
that still there. While I likes the food, the prices are so high and
the portions so small I just will not put up with that kind of
ridiculousness anymore.

I hope this place will not be equivalent to that, it's just so much
for so little that it I feel insulted just to walk in the door. There
was, maybe still is a Korean place called Korea House way down
in Santa Clara I think. It was great, reasonable prices, but that
was decades ago I used to go there while I was going to school.
That kind of reasonably priced place would be a real benefit to
Palo Alto ... just go easy on the hot stuff!



11 people like this
Posted by Garden Gnome
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

Dear Neighbors who are suggesting other food-oriented venues:

Perhaps you will put your money where it belongs, and open your own bakery / open market, etc?

Kudos to the owners of Maum for their effort to bring forth a new restaurant to our town. Best wishes to them - may they be successful.

I, too, appreciate having an alternative to yet another office building.


2 people like this
Posted by Korean Palo Altan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2015 at 1:24 pm

I got very excited about this after hearing the news and checked out the blueprints: Web Link

To me, it looks a little more upscale and oriented towards people that may not be as familiar with Korean food, which I think is a great thing for a city like Palo Alto, especially our downtown. Maybe something like Tamarine or Rangoon Ruby but Korean food.


Like this comment
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

I like to try foods of all kinds and I love to cook, but eating out is more fun and sociable. I will probably eat there occasionally. I think it has a chance of being successful, but that might require us locals to develop a taste for the food or get Koreans from other areas to come here for their food. Santa Clara has a pretty good sized Korean population and there are many Korean restaurants and supermarkets on El Camino there. I've made recipes for food of many countries and ethnicities and Korean is one of them. I've made kimchi soup:Udon with braised pork, greens, kimchi, poached egg, and tofu; and Korean beef (bulgogi). I shop at a supermarket in Santa Clara. I always buy the kimchi in jars. You can get mild or hot. I think Muam will stay with the mild. The 'hot' will bring tears to your eyes.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

To people looking for cheap American fast food - you have to be realistic. The rents that landlords charge on University Ave effectively prohibit low-end restaurants. If you want to open a lower priced restaurant, you have to do it on a side street where the rent is cheaper [portion removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 9, 2015 at 3:15 pm

I agree with the comparison to Tamarine. Palo Alto has far fewer Vietnamese residents than some other parts of Silicon Valley, but Tamarine's high-quality Vietnamese food has been popular for years with a diverse clientele.


Like this comment
Posted by Office Park
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Palo Alto will soon have no retail downtown. [Portion removed.] Name a town that is considered swanky when its downtown has no retail, and most of the residents of the town are foreigners? [Portion removed.] The evaporating downtown will soon turn Palo Alto into another ordinary, bland, California town.


Like this comment
Posted by A Single Guy
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm

@Gale:

Since you like to cook, I suggest you try your hand someday at making your own kimchi. It's pretty easy, keeps well, and makes a fun gift to those who appreciate it. Plus, you can easily tweak the recipe to adjust for flavors, seasonings, spiciness.

If you're making your own kimchi soup, you might as well make your own kimchi, rather than buying jars of it at Hankook or where ever.

I would expect that Muam will make their own kimchi, probably in a couple levels of spiciness and likely some flavor variants (including a vegetarian version).

Anyhow, best of luck to the restaurant's owners. The permitting process in Palo Alto is quite rigorous, I expect their doors won't open for another year or so.


1 person likes this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Mar 9, 2015 at 10:17 pm

> The permitting process in Palo Alto is quite rigorous, I expect their doors won't open for another year or so.

Why do we put up with such an absurdly wasteful process?


5 people like this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 9, 2015 at 11:29 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

I very much miss the Korean cafe at Town and country whose owners were ousted after 19 years during the upscaling of T&C. It was delicious, popular, and reasonably priced. Ah, memories of old Palo Alto.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 10, 2015 at 8:25 am

@Joseph E. Davis:

Well, some would say that the city's permitting process is there to protect the health and safety interests of the restaurant's employees, diners, and neighbors. We wouldn't want a poorly constructed kitchen to burn the place down and those of the neighbors, now would we?

It's worth pointing out that the building was not a restaurant before (Apple Store, cookware shop, music store), so there is additional work in routing electrical conduits, plumbing, etc. The new owners plan to put a rooftop patio, so it's highly possible that the HVAC unit will have to be put in an unobtrusive location, plus roof access would need to be provided.

Even after the initial plans are approved, my guess is that construction will take well over a year.


3 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 10, 2015 at 9:09 am

@Jay Park - the city's feared architectural review board is more about style and beauty than health and safety. Engineering and health inspections are separate.


Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 10, 2015 at 9:34 am

@parent:

Well, it all adds up, a business owner can't dodge any part of the process: ARB, Planning & Transportation, engineering, health code, etc.

I think the city should have the ability to review design proposals. Whether or not they meddle too much or have poor taste are separate discussions.

Palo Alto has a long-standing reputation of being a challenging place to develop in.

Based on comments posted here and similar Peninsula forums, it is clear that a certain percentage of local residents care very strong about how buildings look, traffic/parking considerations, etc., so thoughtful discussion and consideration seem to be in order rather than telling the developer "do what you want, we only care about your fees."


Like this comment
Posted by sea seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2015 at 12:03 pm

It is a good thing.

Korean food is very delicious.

I want this restaurant to have Japanese Curry.

I can't find one in south bay.

Please let me know if you have a Japanese curry place you recommend.


2 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2015 at 6:07 pm

It seems like "retail" has now become a euphemism for "restaurant" in Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Retail. I could eat for a year on what they wanted for a suit in Jos A Bank.


Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 11, 2015 at 9:03 am

@sea seelam Reddy

Well, you're not going to find Japanese curry in a Korean restaurant, just as you won't find Peking duck in a Japanese restaurant.

Heck, you won't find Japanese curry at most Japanese restaurants on mainland USA, it's considered mundane home cooking. There might be more Japanese curry in Japanese restaurants in Hawaii, maybe SoCal, but that's because of the demographics.

Anyhow, there's a relatively new Japanese curry restaurant in downtown Mountain View, in the alley behind the Shabuway restaurant (100 block of Castro). I haven't tried it myself, but then again I don't eat Japanese curry in restaurant, very easy to make at home, the roux freezes well.

www.kobecurryus.com

Their basic curry is eight bucks, so if you don't like it, it won't break the bank.


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

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