Shop Talk | June 18, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - June 18, 2010

Shop Talk

by Daryl Savage

PEKING DUCK OUT, PANDA EXPRESS IN ... Peking Duck Restaurant, a mainstay at 2310 El Camino Real in Palo Alto for more than 20 years, has waddled around the corner and down the block to 151 S. California Ave. "We didn't want to leave. We had to leave. The landlord would not renew our lease. He has chosen to have Panda Express as his new tenant," Peking Duck owner Wai Szeto said. The restaurant is sharing its new location with the existing Jade Palace Restaurant. "But it's still us," Szeto said. "It's the same menu, the same chef and the same prices." And look out for a name change. "We're debating that right now. We might call it Peking Duck Palace or just Peking Duck. We're not sure yet," Szeto said. How about Jade Duck? Or Duck Palace?

CURIOUS CORNER ... With Peking Duck now nesting in on the corner of Park Boulevard and California Avenue, that particular Palo Alto corner has seen tremendous changes in the last few months. Three new businesses have come on scene in rapid succession. Could that corner be recession-proof? First, Baume, the small upscale French restaurant that has quickly become known for its tasting menus, opened earlier this year on one corner; next, Mac's by the Tracks, a barbeque, soul-food restaurant, is targeting an early July opening, and lastly, Peking Duck, which moved to the corner on May 10. But just down the block, 2434 Park Blvd., the former site of Casa Isabel that closed in April after 31 years, is darkened and vacant.

THE AVENUE ARRIVES ... First it was Taxi's, then Abbey's Diner, and now it will be called The Avenue. Major construction is going on inside at 403 University Ave. in Palo Alto behind paper-covered windows. The renovated site will open by the end of June, according to one of the owners, Abdul Lama. The restaurant will now feature breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner, said Lama, who also owns three Mediterranean restaurants in Palo Alto: both Kan Zemans, as well as California Avenue's Mediterranean Wraps. The Avenue will seat 70.

THAI RESTAURANT OPENS ... Siam Orchid, which features "organic fine dining," had its grand opening this week at 496 Hamilton Ave. in Palo Alto. It is in the former location of Robaii Falafel, which closed earlier this year after a 12-year run. Siam Orchid's signature dishes include a version of cashew-nut chicken in a taro nest and tom yum soup with big river shrimp, owner Tony Chotibhongs said. The corner restaurant seats 40 and has a small outdoor dining area.

PALO ALTO DOWN TO ONE QUIZNOS ... Quiznos is gone on Emerson Street at University Avenue in Palo Alto. The buzz is that there was a severe visibility problem. Although the sandwich shop's address was 180 University Ave., it was actually tucked around the corner on Emerson. All that remains is the counter, a couple of tables and a padlocked door. But Palo Alto's other Quiznos is still bustling at California Avenue and El Camino Real.

FAIR TRADE? ... Whole Foods Market at 774 Emerson St. in Palo Alto is hosting a launch party from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 19 for a "Fat Swap" program. As part of a Marin-based campaign to get people to eat less fat, shoppers can bring foods "with too much fat" from their homes, and market staffers will weigh the food and give them an equal weight of fruit substitutes. Info is at

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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