Shop Talk: Palo Alto loses iconic Phyllis Boutique, Round Table Pizza

Also, New Zealand men's clothing company Rodd & Gunn opens

In the latest Shop Talk column, read about the departure of two longtime Palo Alto businesses — Phyllis Boutique and Round Table Pizza — and the arrival of a new clothing store.

BOUTIQUE ENDS 44-YEAR RUN ... Phyllis Newhouse and her family have a long history as business owners in Palo Alto's downtown. Her father, Mose Newhouse, ran his own secondhand and Navy surplus store on Emerson Street starting in 1935, and when he retired in 1975, she took over the family business, moving the store a block over and exchanging the rentable tuxedos and vintage outfits for designer women's clothing. Now in her 80s, Newhouse has decided to retire. She closed down her iconic Phyllis Boutique, located at 540 Ramona St., on Saturday, Aug. 31. The shop underwent many changes under Newhouse. She stopped selling used clothes and military outfits, choosing instead to scour stores in Berkeley that offered interesting, quirky styles that would be hard to find elsewhere in Palo Alto. She also stopped selling men's clothes altogether, focusing exclusively on women's attire, particularly garments with Asian and European influences. — M.H.

ROUND TABLE LEAVES UNIVERSITY ... The 263 University Ave. restaurant closed on Sunday, Aug. 19, according to an employee. The Round Table Pizza signage was quickly replaced by large "for lease" signs. An employee at Bayside Realty Partners -- which has listed the whole building for rent at a base rate of $18 to $36 per square foot per year, not including operating expenses like taxes, property insurance and maintenance -- declined to provide further information about the closure. It advertises the ground-level Round Table space as "perfect location for a boutique restaurant; plenty of foot traffic from high-income community and tourists." Locals who had dined at the Round Table or worked there as teenagers lamented the loss of another longtime local business on Facebook group Our Town Palo Alto. A post publicizing the closure gathered more than 200 comments. Joel Johnson called Round Table Pizza "one of the last bastions for blue collar lunch in downtown PA." Round Table is now a franchised chain, but got its start locally. Bill Larson opened the first location in Menlo Park in 1959. — E.K.

RODD & GUNN EXPANDS ... The New Zealand-based men's clothing company Rodd & Gunn opened its newest West Coast store across from Banana Republic at Stanford Shopping Center on Aug. 3. The company, which has more than 100 stores across Australia and New Zealand, has been rapidly expanding its reach around the globe and is on target to have 10 locations in the United States by the year's end, according to the company's website. While the stand-alone store is new to the area, Nordstrom has been carrying the company's lifestyle brand online and at its Stanford location. The company's roots date back to 1946, when the brand's English Pointer logo was used on a boutique line of New Zealand-made shirts. The current form of the brand launched in 1987 with its first stand-alone store in Auckland's Queen Street. The brand is known for its relaxed, classic designs, such as sweaters and sports coats that feature pure New Zealand merino wool woven into the fabric. — L.T.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Maya Holman, Elena Kadvany and Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Legends Pizza Co. replaces Palo Alto Pizza Co.
By Elena Kadvany | 10 comments | 2,759 views

What is a "ton" of carbon dioxide anyway?
By Sherry Listgarten | 14 comments | 2,366 views

Do city officials ever consider giving taxpayers a break?
By Diana Diamond | 18 comments | 1,237 views

Living as Roommates? Not Having Much Sex?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,053 views

By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 1,048 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 26 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $7 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. When you make a donation, every dollar is automatically doubled, and 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.