<B><B>PIZZERIA DELFINA TO REPLACE EMPIRE TAP ROOM ... </B>The unexpected closing last month of the <B>Empire Tap Room</B>, a Palo Alto fixture for 21 years, has made way for a new restaurant. <B>Pizzeria Delfina</B> will move into 651 Emerson St. after remodeling. The pizzeria has a long history in San Francisco. The original Delfina restaurant opened in 1998 in San Francisco's Mission District; seven years later, Pizzeria Delfina opened next door. It became known for its Neapolitan-style, thin-crust pizza. In 2008, the second Pizzeria Delfina opened in Pacific Heights. Palo Alto is the third location, and downtown Burlingame will be the fourth. Both Palo Alto and Burlingame are looking at late September/early October openings, according to Craig Stoll, who owns the restaurants with his wife, Anne. The couple also owns <B>Locanda Osteria</B>, a two-year-old Italian restaurant/bar on Valencia Street in San Francisco. "We've been coming to Palo Alto for years and looking for locations for a restaurant, and then lo and behold, we got the call that Empire Tap Room was closing," Stoll said. He plans to renovate the aging building. "But we don't know to what extent yet. We'll see what we can afford," he said.
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