Shop Talk | June 22, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - June 22, 2012

Shop Talk

SAY CHEESE; PIAZZA TO EXPAND ... Piazza Fine Foods at 3922 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto's Charleston Center is in the midst of growing another 4,000 square feet, an increase of about 20 percent. "We've always been limited for space here, so we've been thinking about expanding for a long time," said Gary Piazza, who shares ownership of the 25-year-old market with his two brothers and father. Piazza is expanding into the space next door that became vacant following the departure of Gentle Dental earlier this year. The new space will be dedicated to increasing the size of the store's cheese shop, and will also house an expanded meat and deli department. "We expect to have about 500 varieties of cheeses," Piazza said, noting that he will be paying particular attention to adding local options. "There are so many new cheese makers around here. People keep asking me about more local items, so now I can bring in these small boutique cheeses from areas like Petaluma and Fort Bragg." Piazza also plans to increase seating to about 20 seats both indoors and outdoors. The expected opening is Oct. 1. "But if everything goes well, we could open by mid-September," Piazza said.

EAST PALO ALTO GETS AN IZZY'S ... As Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels celebrates its 16th year in Palo Alto at 477 S. California Ave., it has opened a second shop in East Palo Alto. Located at 2220 University Ave. at Bell Street, it sits behind Three Brothers Tacos in a small strip mall. Izzy's general manager Diana Arzate said she was thrilled with the new venue. "We have been looking for a second location for at least five years, but we were having trouble finding a spot nearby with reasonable rent," she said, adding that she has lived in East Palo Alto for 13 years and not found any healthful options for breakfast in town. The 2,000-square-foot bagel shop has scheduled a grand opening, with free bagels, for July 4.

SHOKOLAAT SHUTTERED ... Shokolaat Restaurant at 516 University Ave. in Palo Alto served its last truffle on June 16. The building's landlord plans to convert the downtown building to retail and office space in another year, and though he offered Shokolaat one more year of life before the conversion, "We weren't interested in taking it," said co-owner Shekoh Moossayi, who shared ownership of the restaurant with her husband, Mark Ainsworth. The couple plans to move to France.

NEW RESTAURANTS AT STANFORD ... The fast-casual Mexican grill Chipotle opened this month at Stanford Shopping Center, next to Pinkberry. Although the menu is identical to those of other restaurants in the chain, the interior has a different look, with a long, sleek contemporary style. Also newly opened in the mall is Yucca de Lac, a tropical-looking indoor/outdoor Asian-fusion restaurant. Located near California Pizza Kitchen, Yucca de Lac hails from Hong Kong, where it has been a mainstay for 50 years.

BETSEY GOES BANKRUPT ... The news is not so great for Betsey Johnson, whose unconventional, high-end clothing and accessories store is no more. The company has filed for bankruptcy, forcing all of its 63 stores to close, including the one at Stanford Shopping Center. The only items that remained were the black-and-white checkered tile floor and a handwritten sign on the window that said "Closed Forever." But even those remnants were covered recently when the space was boarded up, awaiting a new tenant. Betsey Johnson fashions can still be found at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.

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. Email


Posted by A Winner., a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm

So, the BIG question is HOW and WHERE are they expanding???? How much further should i expect to be walking inside the store? This is difficult to even take in right now, I am short so too much stress on my legs will make them weak and sore. Can they add chairs in the store for people that want to sit and think about what products to purchase? All the standing NEEDS to GO! I am so gosh darn upset.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 25, 2012 at 6:25 am

Looking forward to Piazza's expansion. I remember when it was Mayfair Market.

Posted by Carny worker, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2012 at 7:17 am

I am happy Piazzas is getting more space and hopefully bigger aisles.

Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

Piazza's adding more square footage --

Lovely that they will support local businesses, but expanding the meat and cheese departments undoubtedly will serve to increase the abuse and death of factory-farmed animals.

I wish the defunct dental office had been on the opposite side of Piazza's so that they could have expanded their produce section.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 25, 2012 at 8:29 am

Yayy! Piazza's is a great store, where I regularly shop - a special store and I am pleased they are expanding their offerings.

Posted by danielle, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

agree, Piatti's should expand their produce section, not meats and cheeses. the western diet is a killer!

Posted by bigger grocery stores, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2012 at 8:39 am

We badly need bigger grocery stores in all parts of town. The selection at the existing stores is terrible. This is a diverse city that enjoys diverse menus and the grocery stores need to stock a diverse selection of fresh foods.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

What an amazing bunch of illogical and irrelevant comments?

Don't expand the supermarket because it might lead to the meat section getting bigger and more animals being hurt and killed?

Don't expand the store because short people will have to walk too much?

Don't expand the store because the Western diet is a killer?

Is Palo Alto putting something funny in the water or are some of us really so stupid?

This has got to be someone's prank idea of entertainment.

My only problem with Piazzi's is the high prices and the fresh squeezed orange juice that I like to buy is occasionally so sour and bad tasting it is not worth it.

Posted by Phil, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I recall that Piazza was one of the stores that sponsored the "Hold the Line" petition to limit Lucky/Abertson's to 20000 sq feet. Now that the replacement at Alma Plaza will be a rather small 19000 sq feet market (half the size of the original Berkeley Bowl), I guess they've decided that a little bigger is just fine (24000 sq feet if my math is correct, based on 4000 being a 20% expansion). I have nothing against Piazza expanding, but I wish they hadn't helped kill what would have been a larger, more traditional market. I hope Berkeley Bowl's Alma Plaza version will at least provide a good alternative for shopping in Palo Alto (as opposed to driving to Mt View) and that their prices are better than Piazza's

Posted by Sam, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm

When that Ranch 99 opens, I'll be their first customer.

Other than that or a Lion market, I'll never shop in Palo Alto.

Prefer to get value for my grocery money, not fad-driven yuppie foods at 10 times their intrinsic value.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

Glad to hear about the expansion, and do hope they are able to increase the produce section as well. Great store, friendly people.

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