In a sign of the times, Palo Alto's venerable Sundance The Steakhouse now sells toilet paper alongside filet mignon and ribeye steaks.
The 45-year-old steakhouse, closed to in-person dining during the shutdown, has pivoted to serving boxes of raw meat and seafood for customers to cook at home, along with household items and to-go cocktails.
The coronavirus forced restaurants across the Bay Area to change their business models overnight. While many turned to takeout and feeding healthcare workers, others have transformed themselves into pseudo-grocery stores, selling cartons of eggs, milk, fresh produce and household items. Others are offering the products we love to eat in their dining rooms directly to customers to cook at home. (Imported Italian pasta from Terun! Georgian sauces from Bevri! Mademoiselle Colette take-and-bake croque monsieur!) Some restaurants have become pickup sites for boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms.
This helps restaurants stay afloat while offering customers who want or need to avoid crowded, picked-over supermarkets a way to support their favorite restaurants.
Galen Fletcher, owner of Sundance The Steakhouse, said the groceries are helping the restaurant break even and keep a few staff members employed. He might even continue doing it post-coronavirus, seeing it as an opportunity for a new revenue stream.
For now, with the steakhouse's moody, wood-paneled dining room closed, it's "more of a spiritual thing for us than financial," he said. "It keeps our brand alive."
Below is a running list of Peninsula restaurants and coffee shops where you can buy groceries, fresh produce, specialty products and meal kits to cook at home.
1 Oz. Coffee, Mountain View, Santa Clara: 1 Oz. Coffee is selling milk (regular and alternatives like almond and oat milk) for pickup and delivery. Order online and pick it up 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or get it delivered 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon.-Sat.
The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse, Palo Alto: You can now order raw, high-end steaks and seafood to cook at home as well as eggs, produce, frozen croissants and other items for pickup and delivery from The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse. Open Tues.-Sun., noon to 8 p.m.
Alhambra Irish House, Redwood City: Pub essentials like A1 Steak Sauce, malt vinegar, black pudding and cigarettes are available for pickup and delivery as well as staples like flour, meat, dairy and fresh veggies.
Asa, Los Altos, Los Gatos: Asa is selling fresh meat, dairy, produce and specialty items -- everything from eggs, butter and paper towels to jamón Ibérico and Valencia rice to make paella. At Asa's Los Gatos location, the parking lot has been transformed into a drive-through grocery store. Open Tues.-Thurs. 4-7:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 4-8 p.m.; and Sun. 4-7 p.m.
Belcampo, San Mateo: Belcampo has made its quality, organic meat products available for pickup and delivery, plus fresh dairy, eggs, bread and household items. Organic vegetable boxes are also available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Open Mon.-Fri., 4-8:30 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bevri, Palo Alto: Georgian restaurant Bevri is selling frozen khinkali (dumplings filled with broth and beef, mushroom or lamb and mint); spices; pickled garlic and peppers; and bottled sauces, like tkemali, a Georgian sour plum sauce, in addition to its takeout menu.
Boba Drive, Sunnyvale: Try your hand at making boba tea at home with Boba Drive's D.I.Y. kit, which comes with all the necessary ingredients (enough for five drinks) and instructions. To purchase a kit for pickup, email [email protected]
Bushido, Mountain View: This downtown Japanese restaurant is selling groceries, including panko, Koshihikari rice, bleach and toilet paper, plus meal kits for cooking suriyaki and ramen at home.
Cafe Venetia, Palo Alto: Cafe Venetia is selling some grocery staples and produce as well as imported Italian olive oils, vinegars, chocolate and coffee for pickup. Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Camper, Menlo Park: Camper has reopened for takeout, plus a selection of housemade goods -- sourdough bread, fresh pasta, pizza dough, salad dressings and more -- and a produce box from Tomatero Farms for weekly pickup.
Coffeebar, Menlo Park, Redwood City: Coffeebar is now making coffee, bread, milk, hand sanitizer and other goods available for pickup and delivery within 5 miles of the cafes.
Coupa Cafe, Palo Alto: Coupa Cafe recently launched Coupa Grocery, through which customers can order a wide range of groceries, fresh produce and prepared foods, like Coupa's carne mechada, Venezuelan shredded beef stew -- plus nitrile gloves and face masks. Pickup and delivery is offered Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; place your order the day before by noon. "We have been able to add a few more staff members to our schedule for Coupa Grocery and that is the bottom line: good for the customer and good for the staff to be able to work," said co-owner Nancy Coupal.
Cuisinett, San Carlos: Cuisinett has French mustards, cornichons, butter rolls as well as the restaurant's sauces, from coq au vin to poivre, available for pickup and delivery.
Donato Enoteca, Redwood City: If you've always wanted access to Donato Enoteca's pantry, now is the time. You can buy fresh nduja, guanciale, prosciutto, housemade ricotta, anchovy-stuffed olives and imported Italian flour (and yeast!) from the restaurant. Or, order from the "you be the chef" menu and get all the ingredients to make Donato Enoteca's pasta and pizzas at home, instructions included.
Dumpling City, Palo Alto: Head to Dumpling City to stock up on bags of frozen dumplings -- pork with dill, lamb with radish, chicken with chives, zucchini and egg -- that will keep you well-fed throughout the shutdown.
Eng's Zongzi, Mountain View: Eng's Zongzi remains open for takeout and is also selling frozen wontons and jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) that can be boiled, steamed or pan-fried. Call 650-397-5957 to order.
Harley Farms, Pescadero: Harley Farms is offering fresh chevre, goat cheese ravioli and other local goods, including Duarte's Tavern's famous olallieberry pie and Arcangeli Grocery Co.'s equally famous artichoke bread, for pickup and delivery. The dairy farm will deliver from Santa Cruz to Pacifica on the Coast (minimum order $50) and from Palo Alto to San Francisco (minimum order $100). If you need an excuse to get (safely) out of the house, you can head to the coast and pick up your order at the farm as long as you order three hours in advance.
Johnston's Saltbox, San Carlos: Johnston’s Saltbox "provisions" menu includes milk, cheese, eggs, bacon, fresh bread as well as hand sanitizer, playing cards and other goods. Open for pickup Tues.-Sat. noon to 7 p.m.
Kitchentown, San Mateo: Food-business incubator Kitchentown has meal kits, prepared foods, fresh bread and pantry items available for pickup Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Konjoe, Santa Clara: Konjoe's D.I.Y. burger kits come with buns, frozen Cream Co. Meats patties, cheddar cheese, butter lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and Konjoe's special sauce ($50, feeds eight people). Pickup and delivery available Wed. 5-9 p.m. and Thurs.-Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Love for Butter/Howie's Artisan Pizza, Palo Alto: Local baker John Shelsta's Love for Butter pop-up now includes meal kits alongside his popular pastries and bread. The kits change weekly; an upcoming one includes all the ingredients to make chicken fra diavolo at home for two to three people, for pickup at Howie's Artisan Pizza. To get notified about future pop-ups, email [email protected]
Mademoiselle Colette, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Palo Alto: Make like a Parisian and order Mademoiselle Colette's take-and-bake croque monsieur, or a kit with everything you need to make moelleux au chocolat (molten chocolate cake) at home. Available for pickup and delivery, Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Maum, Palo Alto: Maum has reopened for takeout and is selling its kimchi, Korean pickles, roasted sesame biscuit dough, buckwheat snickerdoodle cookie dough and other pantry items. Available for pickup only at scheduled times Thursday-Saturday.
Oak & Rye, Los Gatos: Oak & Rye is selling at-home pizza kits -- including one that comes with a 15-inch pizza stone, peel and scraper -- or just the ingredients you need to make the Los Gatos pizzeria's "Scotty 2 Hotty" pie (two dough balls, crushed tomato, house mozzarella, spicy soppressata, basil, honey, chili flakes and spicy pepperoncini oil). Take-and-bake pasta is also available. Pickup and local delivery available daily from noon to 8 p.m.
Original Joe's, Daly City: Stock up on Original Joe's frozen ravioli, meat sauce and Boudin sourdough baguette, plus groceries -- and to-go Manhattans. (The Westlake restaurant is also open for takeout.)
Pizzeria Delfina, Palo Alto, Burlingame: Pizzeria Delfina is offering several pizza and pasta kits, plus dried Rustichella d'Abruzzo pasta and pints of frozen bolognese, amatriciana and pomodoro sauces to squirrel away in your freezer. Pickup and delivery available Sun.-Wed. 4-8 p.m. and Thurs.-Sat. 4-9 p.m.
The Post, Los Altos: The Post has several meal kits that provide a set of ingredients to make brunch, tacos, flatbreads, burgers and ribs, plus cocktail kits. The restaurant plans to launch this week grocery items for curbside pickup and delivery. Open Wed.-Sun. 3-8 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sam's Chowder House, Half Moon Bay: Sam's is selling family-size portions of prepared foods to reheat at home or freeze for later, including 6- and 12-packs of chilled blue lump crab cakes and meatballs, plus smore's kits.
Sapore, Burlingame: Sapore is offering a dinner kit with a package of dry pasta; your choice of tomato, meat or pesto sauce; a mixed green salad; and bread ($50, feeds four).
Shake Shack, Palo Alto, San Mateo: Shake Shack has started offering D.I.Y. burger kits with everything you need to replicate the popular burgers at home. For $49, you get eight servings of Angus beef patties from Cream Co. Meats, Martin’s potato rolls, Shake Shack's special sauce, American cheese, lettuce and tomato. Available for pickup and delivery.
State of Mind Public House & Pizzeria, Los Altos: You can order boxes of fresh produce to pick up at State Of Mind on Fridays only from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The boxes include a variety of vegetables and fruit from California and Washington farms, provided by wholesale distributor Greenleaf. State of Mind is also doing frito pie meal kits with chili, cheddar cheese, Fritos and onion.
Stella Alpina Osteria, Burlingame: Stella Alpina has eggs, ciabatta, toilet paper and bake-at-home pastas, including lasagna bolognese and cannelloni stuffed with braised short ribs.
St. Stephen's Green, Mountain View: St. Stephen's Green is selling groceries and household essentials for pickup and delivery daily, noon to 7:30 p.m.
Sundance The Steakhouse, Palo Alto: Sundance's "butcher box" comes with your choice of raw meat, seafood, side dishes, to-go cocktails and grocery items. The restaurant provides cooking instructions. Available for curbside pickup Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Taishoken, San Mateo: Taishoken is selling its popular tsukemen and abura soba for at-home assembly. Meal kits include the noodles, broth, toppings and instructions. The kits are only available for pickup at the restaurant during business hours.
TAP'T Beer & Kitchen, Sunnyvale: TAP'T has pantry items (eggs, milk, butter, yeast and the like) plus family meals for cooking at home.
Taverna, Palo Alto: Taverna is open for takeout and also selling Greek olive oil, wild oregano and tea through a new "market" offering. Open for pickup and delivery (free within 5 miles or orders over $60) daily 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Telefèric Barcelona, Palo Alto: Telefèric Barcelona has moved its adjoining market full of imported Spanish goods online, including D.I.Y. paella kits, gazpacho, cured meats, olive oils and more. Available for pickup and delivery within 10 miles.
Tender Greens, Palo Alto: Tender Greens is offering boxes of fresh fruit, vegetables and pantry items for pickup and delivery, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Terun, Palo Alto: Terun is selling imported Italian products including dried pastas, olive oil and jams in addition to its normal takeout menu for pickup and delivery. Open daily 5-8 p.m.
Vina Enoteca, Palo Alto: Vina Enoteca was the first restaurant on the Peninsula to serve the meatless Impossible burger in 2017, and the meatless burger remains on its limited takeout menu -- either fully cooked and assembled or in patty form to cook at home (five quarter-pound patties for $19). The restaurant is also offering Greenleaf produce boxes. Available for pickup and delivery, 5-8 p.m.
The Village Bakery, Woodside: The Village Bakery now has pizza kits available on Mondays and taco kits on Tuesdays for pickup or delivery. as well as several kinds of flour, yeast and butter. Open 4-8 p.m. daily. Ordering starts the night before at 8:30 p.m.
Wursthall, San Mateo: Wursthall sous chef Erik Drobey is selling handmade charcuterie, including 10-day cured pancetta, pork rillette and salt pork as well as hot sauce for pickup at the San Mateo restaurant.
Zareen's, Palo Alto: Stock your freezer with Zareen's chicken biryani, naan samosas and other frozen Pakistani goods, available for delivery or pickup from the restaurant's Palo Alto location.
Where to find starter
If you're in need of sourdough starter, check your local bakery. You can buy starter from The Midwife & The Baker in Mountain View, Backhaus in San Mateo and Little Sky Bakery in Menlo Park (which is also selling naturally fermented pizza and challah dough!).