Shop Talk | April 5, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - April 5, 2013

Shop Talk

ELEGANT YOGA STUDIO OPENS DOORS ... Palo Alto's Midtown neighborhood is about to become home to one of the city's more unusual projects. Spanning two floors at almost 7,000 square feet, Samyama is a notably large yoga center with unusual flair. The building at 2995 Middlefield Road gives an outsider few clues as to what goes on inside. Situated on a formerly weedy vacant site that once housed a gas station, the contemporary, artsy glass-and-metal structure took nearly three years to construct, said Samyama's founder, 54-year-old Menlo Park resident John Berg. Add one more year to transform the interior into two yoga studios, a lounge with tea service, a retail store that sells yoga-related items, a massage room and spa-style bathrooms, and the vision that Berg had comes to life. The entrance is graced with lighted wall sculptures that lead into a dramatically curved, bamboo-adorned hallway. "We are more than a yoga center. We are a healing center. We want to build community. We want to encourage people to hang out here," Berg said, adding that the lounge is one area where people may choose to linger. The lounge is sumptuously decorated with what Berg refers to as "Alice-in-Wonderland-type furniture," with chandeliers that are also wind chimes, a purple leather throne-like chair, a long sofa whose back reaches up to form a triangle up the wall, and several sets of sheer curtains that divide the room into small nooks. "I call it tented-Moroccan style," Berg said. Even the elevator is elaborate. It has mood lighting and plush deep-purple curtains adorning the walls for the short trip to the second floor. Berg is most proud of his large yoga studio, named "Ascension." The floors, walls and ceiling are pure white. "People are moved when they enter this room. The space feels sacred. Some people cry. It feels like you're up in the clouds," he said. A former animator for Pixar Studios, Berg was diagnosed with lymphoma several years ago. During the healing process, he said: "Yoga found me. It changed me from 'what can I get' to 'what can I give.'" That was 15 years ago and Berg has been involved in yoga ever since. As a teacher he has found prominence in the local yoga community. "But I don't look at other yoga studios as competition, and I don't want them to view me as competition. ... There's room for all," he said. Samyama's grand opening is scheduled for April 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Yoga classes begin April 8.

CORNER BAKERY COMING ... The Corner Bakery Cafe, a restaurant chain that

specializes in pastries, breads, sandwiches and salads, is poised to move into the former Boston Market site at 3375 El Camino Real in Palo Alto. Boston Market closed in January. "We're looking at a late August/early September opening," Corner Bakery spokesman John Sweeney said. The Palo Alto location will be the third of 32 Corner cafes destined for the Bay Area. Popular in the East, the Dallas-based franchise is heading west in a big way. "It will take about seven years to put all 32 restaurants in the Bay Area and then it will be difficult to travel anywhere in this area without running into a Corner Bakery," Sweeney said. The Palo Alto location will seat about 170 people, including an outdoor patio. "Right now, we're waiting for word from the city to see if our patio will be approved," Sweeney said.

T&C GETS A SECOND ICE CREAM SHOP ... Ice cream aficionados, listen up. In addition to Cold Stone Creamery, a second ice cream shop is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend in Palo Alto's Town & Country Village. Taking over a prime corner location in the middle of the mall, Tin Pot Creamery will replace Honeys and Heroes, a children's-clothing boutique that moved to a smaller space next door. Tin Pot has developed a following after debuting its handcrafted ice-cream-of-the-month delivery service last year in San Francisco, and is known for its unusual pairings and flavors. Pastry chef and co-owner Becky Sunseri, a former Facebooker, calls Town & Country Village her "dream location." The biggest crowd-pleasing flavor, she says, is her salted butterscotch with gooey brownie.

FRESH MARKET NEARING FINISH LINE ... A new player is entering the fray in what some Palo Altans are now referring to as "the grocery wars." Fresh Market is scheduled to open this summer in Edgewood Plaza. The approximately 20,000-square-foot store, which prides itself on its European-style market, has more than 100 stores nationwide. The Palo Alto location will be Fresh Market's second store in California. Other recent grocer activity includes the April 1 closing of Miki's Farm Fresh Produce in Palo Alto's Alma Village, after a mere six months in business; the April 19 grand opening of the 65,000-square-foot Safeway in Mountain View's San Antonio Center; last month's completion of a year-long expansion of Piazza Fine Foods in south Palo Alto; and an unexpected temporary hold for a planned renovation of JJ&F Market in Palo Alto's College Terrace neighborhood.

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 Wow, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 5, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Passed this place today and the blinds are up. It looks very upmarket.

But, there are already so many places for exercise in Midtown. I expect it will be another Mikis. It can be seen from the street but it will need a lot of customers to succeed.

Posted by Whoops,, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 6, 2013 at 8:44 am

Not that many people in this part of town are into yoga. Avalon on Calif Ave already has the best instructors, is open 14 hours a day and 365 days a year.

Posted by Wow, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Did anyone attend the Open House and what did you think?

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Registration now open!

Registration is now open for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here