Shop Talk

This week's retail news from the Palo Alto area

PIZZA STUDIO RESURRECTED! ... It was there, then it was gone; now it's back. The Pizza Studio in Mountain View's San Antonio Center has been resurrected. After a sudden closure last January, when the restaurant went dark with no warning, it is now wide open for business. "We were very fortunate to have been able to repurchase the location," said Pizza Studio CEO Ron Biskin, explaining that the fast-casual restaurant was owned by a franchisee who opted not to continue in the business."We remodeled it, we put in a different menu that has a strong emphasis on new salads and new pizzas, and we're back," Biskin said. Some of the menu changes were described as "cheffy touches," by Don Cravalho, who is the general manager of the Mountain View restaurant. "We have some elevated flavors, such as a chipotle-roasted pineapple instead of just plain pineapple," he said. The restaurant, which re-opened June 6, is the second Bay Area location to be company-owned and operated by the Calabasas-based Pizza Studio. "We just opened one in Concord," Biskin said. Two other Pizza Studios also closed without any notice back in January, one in Palo Alto on California Avenue and one in Los Gatos. "We are currently evaluating several locations for new Pizza Studios in the Bay Area," according to Biskin, but no word yet if those plans will include any other Peninsula sites. The company currently has 35 locations across the country.

CAFE OPENS AT JCC ... A restaurant that serves a variety of Jewish cuisine officially opened in mid-July, and if the opening crowds were any indication, it appears to have filled a real need for Jewish food. Nourish, A Newish Jewish Cafe , is located in the Palm Court section of the Oshman Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. The crowd on July 17 was estimated at about 2,000 during the JCC's three-hour open house. "It was a real surprise that so many people showed up, and we were thrilled," said JCC CEO Zack Bodner. Also officially opening at the same time was the Oasis Play Space, a new playground constructed directly next to the restaurant. The layout of the kid-friendly space is based on a Jewish theme of a desert oasis that provides refuge to wanderers. It features faux grassy hills, an interactive water feature, an open-sided tent, and giant papyrus and pomegranates. The design firm that created the playground is the same company that created the giant baseball mitt at San Francisco's AT&T Park. Bodner, remarking on the unanticipated throng of people that showed up for the grand opening, said, "That tells us that we have created a real neighborhood here. We're hoping Palo Altans will consider us a home away from home."

KUDOS TO RESTAURANTS ... A few congratulatory shout-outs to three Palo Alto restaurants that made the list of the "10 Most Exciting New Restaurants" in the current issue of Modern Luxury Silicon Valley. Included are Bird Dog, the minimalist-decorated restaurant that features an eclectic assortment of California cuisine with Japanese influences, 420 Ramona St.; La Boheme, a decidedly French restaurant that offers some classic French dishes, while being committed to organic and sustainable farming practices, 415 California Ave.; and Thyme, a cozy, charming restaurant with a small and seasonal menu, based on locally sourced and fresh ingredients, 496 Hamilton Ave.

Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? Daryl Savage will check them out. Email shoptalk@paweekly.com.

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