Around the block | May 17, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- May 17, 2013

Around the block

A RITUAL CHEESE CRACKING ... The new gourmet grocery store The Fresh Market will forgo the usual ribbon cutting in favor of a cheese-cracking ceremony when it opens its new store at Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center in Palo Alto on June 5. Perhaps befitting a gourmet store, the cheese cracking will follow an age-old Italian tradition of breaking open a 95-pound wheel of Reggiano Parmigiano cheese using traditional cracking rather than cutting tools, Rachel Booker, hiring manager, said this week. A possible boon to summer-job-seeking students, the store plans to hire 95 employees, she said. The store is the first phase of redevelopment at the shopping center, which will preserve historic Eichler retail buildings and add 10 new homes. The opening takes place at 9 a.m. Store hours are Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

PICNIC IN THE PARK ... The College Terrace Residents Association will hold its annual neighborhood spring picnic on Saturday, May 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Werry Park, 2100 Dartmouth St., between College and Stanford avenues. Magician Steve Koehler will perform at 4:30 p.m., and there will be hot dogs, veggie burgers and drinks. Neighbors are asked to bring a dish to share, reusable plates and utensils and "good cheer."

EDGEWOOD EATS REDUX? ... Food-truck foodies might get another chance to enjoy gourmet comestibles back at the original haunt of Edgewood Eats, the weekly food-truck event that used to take place at Edgewood Plaza in Palo Alto. The event had to move when the defunct shopping center was demolished to make way for a redeveloped center and housing. Organizers have had trouble finding another suitable location. But Rachel Booker, hiring manager for the new grocery store, The Fresh Market, said the company is considering inviting Edgewood Eats back to the plaza. Store officials were impressed by Palo Alto's avid foodie culture, which was one reason it decided to locate its second California store at the shopping center, she said. Booker said she had just received a contact for Edgewood Eats organizers, and would be ringing them up soon.

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Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Is this Fresh Market going to be another 6 month wonder?

Do they have enough money to allow for at least a year of getting customers to their store?

Or, are we going to have another closed shop before Christmas?

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Well we shall see. It's n the small side-- but we cannot have too much competition in palo alto. Anyway with ant safeways in menlo park and MV I have no further use for any palo alto grocery stores

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm

We are looking forward to it. It'll be great to not have to cross Middlefield for a store run, whether just to pick up milk or do a bigger shop. We can cycle on side streets or drive - & avoid 7-11!

Posted by shopper, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Does the city really need another expensive Euro-style grocery store? If they were smart, they would sell products that are not currently available in Palo Alto. Supposedly, there is a huge influx of rich Asian-American homeowners in this city. Why are no merchants trying to cater to that demographic?

Posted by Capetian, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2013 at 8:44 am

Although it sounds like a fun place to me, realistically I would worry that it would go the way of Miki's! The location may seem cool, because it is new, but it truthfully is not a good location at all, hidden away as it is and basically being in EPA. I hope they have a big advertising budget....something Miki's needed, but did not have, as all of Miki's cash went into just getting the store opened.

Speaking of the vacant Miki's building.......since all of the whopping four families that have bought houses in the development behind Miki's are Asian, why can't there be an Asian grocery in that building??? It is ridiculous that Adian residents of Palo Alto have to drive to Mtn View or RWC for Asian specialties. There is a gap that needs to be filled here!

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 18, 2013 at 8:50 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Capetian, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

'Zackly! Considering that there are a really significant percentage of Asian and other minorities moving into Palo Alto, why are the stores not following the demographics???? If they want to make money, it is the financially wise thing to do?

What would happen if the white population had to drive to Mtn View or Redwood Coty for all their shopping!? Obviously, some entrepreneurial person would rush on to fill the gap! Why the lag here?

Again, I think the cheese shop would be fun (for me, as a wine and cheese lover), but I truly do not think there is enough local interest to support it, and I think it another sucky location for such a place

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Capetian - what planet are you from? The new market is not practically in EPA, nor is it hidden away. It's adjacent to a major freeway entrance/exit & locals are well aware it's being built. It's strange to read all of the sudden criticism, when this market has. It's been in play for AGES.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Speaking as someone who is within walking distance of the new store in Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, I and my neighbors are THRILLED about the new store opening and welcome to them! This is part of an expanding chain, so it is unlike MIKI's. I expect them to be a wonderful success and will shop there!

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I see that my previous post was deleted. The question still remains why there are no ethnic grocery stores in palo alto, but we have plenty in mountain view (I.e mi pueblo, nijiya, ranch 99 etc) . Instead we have european style stores opening - but the demographics of Europe are changing-- and so are the demographics in PA. Maybe time for an ethnic store here-- think of the potential advertising revenue.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Anyone else shocked about Safeway, Piazzas, Whole Foods, etc. being called white people's stores!.

Last time I was cruising the aisles I found plenty of non white people in these stores. They buy meat, veggies, fruits, and there are shelves with Indian, Chinese, Hispanic, Thai, etc. ingredients.

If there was a demand for Sheeps eyeballs, (or whatever), I am sure that Piazzas could be persuaded to carry them. (ps please do not take me up on this, it is meant to be a light hearted comment).

We need a decent full service market in Palo Alto. Not another clique market.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

[M]y comment was meant to emphasize the fact that we have no ethnic markets and the ethnic selections in our small stores are very limited. Of course non caucasians shop here, but one has to wonder how much shopping they do in ethnic stores outside of the city
You are correct about needing a full service market, but it will never happen. No store wants to go through the usual PA crap ( too much traffic, too big, too close to the street, too ugly, too much competition for our local stores etc). But we do have big stores on nth sides of PA ( safeway MP, Safeway in MV , whole foods in Los altos etc)

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm

anonymous - we're with you on being thrilled, my spouse & I, that is. We know at least half a dozen people just on our block who're also thrilled it's opening. Some of them are Palo Alto natives & all of them are long-time residents of the area.

I'm curious to know what the prices will be like - that will partially determine how much of our shopping is done there. We're different from a lot of folks who are more into quantity for their money than quality - we try to balance both AND buy organic. I think this store will dovetail nicely with the mini food/nutrition revolution going on here in EPA & what we grow for ourselves. I just wish that more of our residents could afford organic food.

Does anyone think that if Miki's were successful folks would still be comparing them? I think it's short-sighted - & far too late to knock this place, given it got the go ahead some time ago. If you all want an ethnic market, lobby for one! I'd love to patronize (matronize?) a market w/choices for many ethnic foods. Which cuisines should be featured? Indian & Chinese? All of Europe?

Posted by shopper, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm

If you drive around Silicon Valley, the "ethnic" grocery stores that are the most successful are the ones that specialize in once cuisine. There are many long-time markets that specialize in Korean or Japanese or Chinese or Mexican foods. Some of these markets are huge and still draw enough customers to be profitable. These markets all have large sections of fresh herbs and vegetables that the generic supermarkets don't carry and without these basic ingredients, you really cannot cook authentic "ethnic" recipes.

No reason that one or two of these would not succeed in Palo Alto, unless NIMBYs try to shut them down because they don't want lots of "ethnic" customers in their neighborhoods.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 19, 2013 at 9:41 am

We cannot wait for the new market to open. Biking distance, easy access. We love TJ's - but until the intersection gets fixed, we avoid going there during weekday afternoons when school is in session.

As for the ethnic store rants - if someone thinks they can make a profit, then they'll build a store. Obviously that is not the case. It's that simple.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Miki thought he would make a profit, so it is not that simple. I think we all know hard it is to get anything built in palo alto. Look at the library!!!!

Posted by shopper, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

There are so few "ethnic" businesses in town, aside from a few highly Americanized restaurants. Makes me wonder if the landlords, planning commission, and NIMBYs are trying to redline these types of businesses into Mountain View.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Crescent Park Dad - despite the very obvious socioeconomic disparity between our neighborhoods, we're right there w/you. Supporting local businesses matters to us & the closer to home the more business from us they'll get, especially if they're walkable, cyclable or driveable (w/out fighting major traffic if we just need milk). The less people hawking loogies we have to see (as happens all too often at 7-11), the better. Maybe my memories of walking to Menlo's Draeger's w/my grandmother as a kid are too rosy, but good memories they are!

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Shopper, Check out some the other threads. Someone named Corey Sommers is pushing a petition to prevent a grocery outlet from opening in alma plaza. One of his points is that it will be a destination place-- I.e bring in people from outside of palo alto.
Could be related to your point

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 20, 2013 at 7:29 am

@ Hmmm - have always enjoyed reading your posts on various subjects over the years.

I'm not a grocery/retail expert. But I would bet that the revitalized Edgewood Center will get plenty of business from both the local neighborhoods and those who are driving by. Especially if the center adds a coffee house (e.g., Peets, Starbucks, etc.). Please let's not start a coffee debate on this thread however!

I was at the Shell station last week - noted that they have modified W. Bayshore at Embarcadero...a good thing, no more left-hand turns towards 101. You'll have to use Francis and the light - much safer. Won't stop left turns out of the gas station, but definitely a safer situation than before.

Posted by Michelle, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm

As a nearby resident, I plan to shop at The Fresh Market very often. I love the thought of being able to easily buy fresh produce and other groceries when needed. I've shopped at TFM in Florida, and it was like a cross between a Safeway, Whole Foods and Draeger's as I recall. They have national brands, but they do have a lot more unique and natural/organic offerings than your typical Safeway. They also have more reasonable pricing vs. WF and Draeger's from what I remember. It was kind of like a big open, indoor marketplace of produce/meat/cheeses with grocery aisles in the middle, similar to Draeger's and Sprout's.

Anyway, my big question is what are they doing about parking? From the images online, it seems they're building 10 single family homes on the lot, and parking appears to be very limited. I don't think I saw any reference to underground parking. Anyone know?

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Crescent Park Dad - I'm sorry that I didn't see your post until now.

I'm glad you're looking forward to the market opening as well. Having a place for coffee would be lovely. I think the market will stay quite busy & hopefully won't go the way of Miki's. I have a friend who commutes from Los Gatos & since it's near her job & her kids' school, she's looking forward to using it for grocery runs - perfect example of commuter business.

We've been using St. Francis for years & encourage visitors to do the same. That left hand turn was so dicey! Thanks for the update & I'm glad that you're looking forward to it, too.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2013 at 8:33 pm

So how was the opening? My work schedule prevented me from attending, but it was a novel sight to see a crowded parking lot, with people coming & going, on my way home today. I'm sure I'll get used to seeing that, but for right now it's refreshing.

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