PALO ALTO BREAKFAST HOUSE GONE; GLUTEN-FREE BAKERY TO OPEN IN MIDTOWN ... When the Palo Alto Breakfast House opened in Palo Alto's Midtown three years ago, it was heralded by neighbors as a shrewd business decision. There was a paucity of restaurants in the area that served morning meals. Peninsula restaurateur Tom Hsu acknowledged that void in the Midtown area and acted on the opportunity. "I didn't see a lot of places for breakfast in the neighborhood," he said at that time, so he opened the Palo Alto Breakfast House, 2706 Middlefield Road. Serving only breakfast and lunch, the small, unpretentious restaurant attracted the morning crowd and the little restaurant quickly established a brisk business. This was Hsu's second venture. The first, My Breakfast House in San Carlos, was already a going concern. But few could have predicted that two years later, a well established San Jose restaurant chain, also serving only breakfast and lunch, would move into Midtown, just four blocks from Hsu's Palo Alto restaurant. Bill's Cafe, 3163 Middlefield Road, opened its doors in November 2015. The location, just steps away from the popular Philz Coffee at the corner of Middlefield Road and Loma Verde Avenue, along with its reputation earned in the South Bay, helped fuel the chain's popularity in Palo Alto. Although Hsu could not be reached for comment, Midtown insiders consider the success of Bill's Cafe proved too much competition for the smaller Breakfast House, and the restaurant closed in April. Hsu's former business partner, Kakey Chang, who now is the sole owner of My Breakfast House in San Carlos, said she will gladly honor all unused gift certificates issued by Palo Alto Breakfast House.
But wait. With the dust barely settled from the closing of Hsu's Palo Alto restaurant on Middlefield Road, there's already a new business preparing to open in the space. The name, however, is a bit of a conundrum. There were initially two signs on the building; one of them was Miss Jones (GF) Bake Shop, which was removed earlier this week, and the other, Pied Piper, is still there, which HBO viewers may recognize as the fictitious startup in the television series, "Silicon Valley". The actual name of the establishment, when it opens, is reportedly Gracie Jones Gluten Free Bake Shop, according to a local source.
A June 17 report from a city code enforcement officer identifies the business owners as Chuck Imersom and Chad Newton from Asian Box, the health-conscious "fast-casual" restaurant at Town & Country. Coincidentally, the name "Miss Jones" that appeared on one of the signs is a menu item at Asian Box.
Asian Box founder and CEO Frank Klein said business partner and executive chef Grace Nguyen is opening a gluten-free bakery in 60 days.
More details as they become available.
SEVENTY YEARS AND COUNTING ... As Edwards Luggage prepares to celebrate its 70th year in the Bay Area, it has rebranded itself as Edwards Everything Travel and is offering free packing demonstrations next month at its Stanford Shopping Center store. The family-owned-and-operated business opened in the Stanford mall in 1956, following a 10-year run in both downtown Palo Alto and San Mateo. The packing demonstrations are scheduled for July 6 at 6 p.m.and July 23 at 10 a.m. "Our business is proudly woven into the fabric of our family life. Each family member lives in Palo Alto or Portola Valley and is hands on ... in the buying, marketing and sales training," store co-owner Mary Reininger said.