Shop Talk | March 5, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - March 5, 2010

Shop Talk

by Daryl Savage

SOUL FOOD AT THE TRACKS ... A big change is taking place at 109 California Ave. in Palo Alto, the site of numerous coffee shops throughout the years. The last shop, Plantation Cafe, abruptly closed in June 2008 and the corner of California Avenue and Park Boulevard has sat vacant ever since. Enter Anthony McFadden, a local businessman who had an auto detailing shop for 15 years. "It was time to retire from detailing and open a restaurant," he said of his soon-to-open Mac's by the Tracks. But opening at this particular location was a stretch. "This place had no kitchen so I had to build one, and no natural gas so I had to add a gas line," McFadden said. Mac's by the Tracks is one of the latest restaurants to go into Palo Alto, but McFadden is certainly not new to soul food. "My grandma was a great cook. I grew up with the pressure cooker and the black cast-iron skillets. That's the kind of equipment I'll use here. It will be a newfangled kitchen with old-fashioned ways," he said. And plenty of comfort food. "It's an itch that needs to be scratched. People want greens with meat in it. They want mac and cheese with real elbow macaroni, not the scalloped kind. And they want real fried chicken," he said. As far as a signature dish for the restaurant, he said: "I'll let the people decide. But personally I'm a catfish man. I love deep-fried catfish, made the old-fashioned way."

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Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out, or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. She can be e-mailed at


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