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Shop Talk: Sushi restaurant Miyake closes

Original post made on Oct 7, 2012

Add Miyake and Cafe Renaissance to the growing list of restaurant closings in Palo Alto. Miyake, the noisy, flashy, busy sushi joint at 140 University Ave., ended its decades-long run early last month.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, October 7, 2012, 2:02 PM

Comments (35)

Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Cafe Renaissance was such a lovely little restaurant and the owner was such a nice lady. I'm very sorry to see them go!

Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Did these restaurants voluntarily close or were they forced out of business by greedy landlords who wouldn't renew their leases or were asking for astronomical rent increases?

Posted by Cheryl
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I almost cried when I saw that Cafe Renaissance closed. She made the best artichoke and chicken horesht (sp). None of my Persian friends can make this dish and she was the warmest business person in downtown PA. I can only hope that she finds a different spot for us to enjoy her food. Keep us posted Daryl if you hear something about this possibility.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Now that we have a new Alma stoplight mid-block north of Meadow, when do we get one at El Verano and especially at Loma Verde? We could use a few more Starbucks as well.

Posted by Unimpressed
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 8, 2012 at 7:59 am

Alma Village, AKA Alma Eyesore is ramping up for business. I have been waiting for years for a big blank box to loom over the sidewalk at just this spot on Alma to welcome drivers. What a disaster. i wish there was a shred of accountability in city hall. perhaps we could dress it up by hanging massive JCC banners on the building. McNellis blew it. I hope he enjoys his Starbucks. Urbanization of Palo Alto is something citizens never voted for...and that new light is ridiculous.

Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 8, 2012 at 8:31 am

Our family stopped going to Miyake a long time ago because it was so dirty and run down. I know others felt the same way. It used to be such a great place to dine. Restaurants really need to make an effort to keep their places clean and updated.

Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

Alma "village" - what a JOKE! The only people happy about this place are the investors who don't live in the is sooo UGLY!

So sad to see Miyake's go.
I bet the curry place doesn't last - I bet 1.5 yrs and then bye-bye curry!

Posted by rhody
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 8, 2012 at 10:37 am

That new light on Alma is a real downer. Sorry to see what used to be a gas saving straight shot for 2 miles to/from Churchill is now a pain in the neck.

Posted by success, ahhhh
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

To quote (or at least paraphrase) a "respected" downtown PA commercial real estate developer's prophecy from years back: "Traffic is a sign of success!" Hallelujah, we're really successful PA!

Posted by sad
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 8, 2012 at 10:50 am

I think destroying a few more historical buildings like MacArthur's park and putting in 14 more Starbucks should be just the ticket to make sure Palo Alto is completely engulfed in a downward spiral

Posted by Wasabi Burp
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 8, 2012 at 11:11 am

Miyakis was good if you wanted to eat bad fish but enjoy a frat house party atmosphere. It was the place to go if you didn't like sushi but liked standing on chairs so everyone could see how crazy and outrageous were as you drank a saki-bomb. Problem was, you weren't crazy nor outrageous and also obviously had bad taste in sushi.

Posted by j
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 8, 2012 at 11:17 am

People will whine about anything won't they?

Actually, Alma needs more stop lights on that stretch to University. Have you ever tried to make a turn out of one of the side streets into traffic anytime during rush hour? It is like playing Frogger. Plus people like to drive, oh, 15-20 miles > speed limit there. I would welcome a few more traffic lights there to just slow things down a bit.

More Starbucks though...not so much.

Posted by j
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

"and that new light is ridiculous"

Cry me a river. Some people have real problems.

Posted by Driver Dan
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

The stoplights are GREAT. Anything that will reduce the speed of our out of control selfish driving population will be welcome news. More please!

Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 8, 2012 at 11:32 am

As a neighbor of the new "village" (yeah, right!) I was horrified to see that our "for sale to the highest bidder" council after years of posturing to communicate there concern for our city passed this plan that slapped the BACK SIDE of the strip mall right up against the sidewalk, essentially turning Alma into an alley.

Installing another Starbucks just about 3 blocks from the one on El Camino near El Camino Way, and the drive through version just up the road is further clarification that insanity is the norm these days. There are so many wonderful coffee places around Palo Alto that would have been much preferred! Even Peets!

The only upside to this double-decade long train wreck is Miki's Farm Fresh Market which I'm really excited about.

I've already had a couple strolls through and conversations with Miki and this is definitely a win for the neighborhood.

At last report I heard they've only sold one of the many $1.5M homes. Why does this not surprise me? If I had $1.5M for a home I'm sure the first place I'd look would be across the street from the railroad tracks where we may be further tortured soon by the high speed rail.

Has anyone written a book "Real Estate Development for Morons" yet?

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

They've turned the light on way too early. We just sit there and no one is around to benefit from the light. Kinda silly.

I second the sentiment regarding Alma Plaza -- it's AWFUL! What is up with this new drive to build with no setback from the street? And why does city hall keep touting "urbanization"? People choose the suburbs to avoid urbanization. Someone needs to take leadership on the council an din the planning to stop the pattern.

And of course there is a demand for affordable housing, but why not require Stanford to do some of the building on their land to accomodate the new employees hired after the expansion? Why should we change our lifestyle to over-accomodate. Don't get me wrong, I'm a belever in affordable housing, but it's reached a point where it's changing our neighborhood feel. What's the limit?

Posted by need less cars, less noise
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

No More cars on Loma Verde, please!! It's noisy enough.


Posted by j
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm

"Installing another Starbucks just about 3 blocks from the one on El Camino near El Camino Way"

It reminds me of that Simpsons episode where every store in the mall is a Starbucks.

Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm

The Alma Plaza is looking like another target of conversation. It seems that for all of the talk, the PA City Council is not really making an evident string of good decisions. Sometimes things that are really "future forward" don't seem right in the present, so I'm willing to see. HOWEVER, the concrete edifice is not just ugly in an imposing manner, it's unfriendly as well - I shopped the old Alma Plaza for years and it didn't seem to suffer from street noise. That was even before quiet hybrid cars! Why did the city need to spin it around to create more traffic for the internal neighborhood? Just wondering. This note isn't an attack on change or damaged memories, just asking why Palo Alto has not adopted some kind of master plan regarding architectural design themes. Didn't we learn from the 1990's monster home days?

Posted by John Galt
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 8, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Reality check: Hybrid cars are no quieter than real cars. A Prius, after depleting its battery in a mile or so, runs on gas like everyone else. Then it has to waste gas recharging its battery.
High Speed Rail is ELECTRIC. It won't run any faster than the current Baby Bullet until it gets out into the country side. You antis have no conception of how quiet these trains are. I have lived and worked in Japan and the are almost silent. Across Alma, inside your $1.5M house, you won't hear a thing.
There should be no need to change any of the current rail structure since they will be less intrusive than the current diesel electics and won't be going any faster through the penninsula.
Anyway it is moot. We will NEVER see any high speed rail through Palo Alto.

Posted by Mr. Ed
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I don't understand all this talk about Alma plaza. It's a done deal. Get over it. So there's another Starbucks. It looks like it's already busy, so there was evidently a need for it.
If you're upset, call your citycouncil people about it. They're the ones who approved all of this.

Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I'm waiting for a driving accident to occur where a car crashes into one of the new buildings that is built so close to the road. The new Starbucks will truly be a drive-through coffee shop.

Posted by palo altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I'm in agreement with the recent letter to the editor in the Weekly complaining about the spate of construction with no setbacks at all. I'm not sure I agree that the JCC is such a problem because it's not like it's out of character for the neighborhood, but the new (mountain view) construction at the San Antonio Mall site, the Alma center, just create such a claustrophobic feeling. It's very strange, too, that they would create these structures in the middle of town that wall people off from the retail inside rather than inviting them in.

El Camino and Alma aren't freeways where the buildings should double as sound walls and the drivers can expect to drive through a tunnel of walls. How do we get this addressed in the building codes? Has someone been getting waivers, or is this really allowed? I generally don't complain about much when it comes to development, but this is ridiculous. We need setbacks. No more of this building right up to the road.

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm

> John Galt, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood
> Reality check: Hybrid cars are no quieter than real cars.

The hell!

> A Prius, after depleting its battery in a mile or so, runs on gas like everyone else.
> Then it has to waste gas recharging its battery.

If it's wasting it's gas recharging its battery how are they averaging 40-45 MPG ... i.e. the most efficient car I think there is. Maybe the Leaf might be more efficient, but there's range problems with an all electric car.

Answer is they are not. While your gas car IS wasting gas at a stop light or idling the efficient engine of the Prius is recharging the battery and not wasting gas.

The new Pri??i that are pluggable are even more efficient.

Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Since Palo Alto seems so determined to become Anywhere, USA, with all the boring chain restaurants, perhaps they could lower our utility rates and property taxes to those of, say Des Moines.

We really need more Starbux and CVS's.

Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2012 at 11:29 am

The only answer to stopping this ridiculous growth in Palo Alto is to vote out all Council
Members - election time is coming up....... do what is right.

Posted by Phil
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 9, 2012 at 11:30 am

Not to worry! There are plenty of good restaurants in Mountain View. And have you been to downtown Redwood City lately? What a transformation! Its the entertainment capital of the Peninsula, for sure. And more and more good restaurants there too.

With MV and RWC so close, Palo Alto is still a pretty good place to live.

Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2012 at 11:33 am

John Galt:

I'm not sure you are addressing the point of my post, but no matter. High-speed rail? Who mentioned that before your comment? As for hybrid cars, any Toyota engine, pistons and all, is quiet - sorry to use a bad example, just pointing out that Alma Plaza didn't seem to suffer from car noise even when our parents all drove larger cars of the era.

I'll go with Mr. Ed on this topic; done deal. If we have a problem with how city council measures setbacks, then we put the pressure onto city hall. If they envision a "tunnel of walls" or from earlier boards, an "urban canyon" (along El Cam), then be ready for that reality.

Too bad about high-speed rail, by the way. That would have been cool!

Posted by Jan H.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Jan H. is a registered user.

I have to say, we have been going to Menlo Park, RWC, and Mtn View a lot for dining, since so many of our favorite restaurants here are disappearing or have been overtaken by obnoxious or intoxicated Stanford students ( the Counter and Miyake come to mind; good riddance to Miyake, it had become quite foul).

But just last night, my son and his wife wanted to order take-out from Renaissance, and I had to break it to them that it was gone. We mourn the great cuisine, and the wonderful, friendly owner. What a loss!

Posted by Facts, please
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

"have been overtaken by obnoxious or intoxicated Stanford students"

Way to tar an entire group with a broad brush.
I thought that the problem was intoxicated and obnoxious long-time Palo Alto residents.

Posted by Jan H.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Long-time Palo Alto residents are not usually under 21 and wearing Stanford hoodies.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm

NEWSFLASH: The local kids, from Palo Alto and surrounding towns, drink downtown (and many wear Stanford shirts).

Posted by Kat
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 10, 2012 at 9:28 am

Oh just wait until the cool little market opens in the Alma Complex. We'll need that light all right ;} and I suspect there'll be quite a back up on Alma!

Businesses come and go. I really love some of the newer restaurants in town like Lyfe Kitchen and Oren's Hummus!

Posted by Donna
a resident of Los Altos
on Oct 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

The McArthur Park building is NOT being destroyed. It will be disassembled and moved to a Stanford campus location, then reassembled and re-appreciated. Historical landmarks cannot be simply torn down.

Posted by Dave
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 8, 2013 at 11:06 am

Miyake was GREAT (both food & atmosphere) in its original hole-in-the-wall location in the 200 block of University. But when they moved to the corner of High street, quality took a nosedive and it lost it intimate charm (turned bright and loud), and that was the beginning of the end.
I was sad to see the original Miyake lost in the move, but the current incarnation was long overdue for closure.

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