Village Cheese House, which has been serving deli sandwiches at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto since 1959, suddenly closed this week.
A public relations company announced on Monday, Dec. 30, that Village Cheese House would be closing on Dec. 31 but that Ellis Partners, which owns the 855 El Camino Real shopping center, hopes to find a new owner to "continue Village Cheese House's heritage at Town & Country Village."
On Monday afternoon, however, the deli was already closed, the space completely emptied out and dark. A note on the front door said it would be closed until the end of January for remodeling.
The current owners of Village Cheese House, Bernard and Joni Pailma, took over the longtime business from Lindsey Hiken four years ago. (Hiken's family bought the deli from the original owners, Frank and Donald Staehnke, in 2007.) On Tuesday, Joni Pailma declined to answer questions about the closure.
The PR company said only that the Pailmas closed "to focus on other ventures."
The Pailmas opened a second Village Cheese House in San Jose in February, telling the San Jose Mercury News that they planned to franchise the deli. That location appears to have closed as well.
Village Cheese House has long drawn a loyal following — particularly Palo Alto High School and Stanford University students — for its housemade spread, imported cheeses and generously sized sandwiches, such as the "Double Decker" (a half pound of smoked ham and roasted turkey on three slices of sourdough bread).
Village Cheese House appears to have been the oldest food business at Town & Country Village, which has changed vastly over the last 60 years, with restaurants such as Stickney's, Hobee's and the Cook Book giving way to the likes of Gott's Roadside, Boba Guys and Telefèric Barcelona.
Jim Ellis, co-founder of Ellis Partners, which has owned Town & Country Village for over 10 years, stated in the announcement that "Ellis Partners enjoys being able to support and partner with small businesses in the Bay Area, such as Village Cheese House. ... We hope to bring new ownership to Village Cheese House Palo Alto and continue bringing the beloved proprietary recipes and menu items to the Palo Alto community."
Anyone interested in taking over the deli can contact Town & Country here.
This story will be updated if more information becomes available.
View the city's most notable openings and closings during 2019 on an interactive map, which can be viewed here.