From Mumbai to Santa Clara: How this family-run Indian restaurant survived during COVID-19

Puranpoli’s vada pav, a fried potato dumpling served with chutney and pav, a soft bun, is a vegetarian street food dish native to the state of Maharashtra, India. (Photo by Federica Armstrong) Meet the family bringing authentic Maharashtrian street food to Silicon Valley. Puranpoli is quite literally a family-run restaurant. Roshan Shivalkar opened the Maharashtrian restaurant in Santa Clara the same day the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order took effect. His older sister is ...

Read More

Indoor dining has returned to San Mateo County, but restaurant owners are split on reopening

Some dining rooms are thrown open while others stay dark. Customers dine outside at Bistro Vida in downtown Menlo Park on June 9. (Photo by Magali Gauthier) Within hours of San Mateo County’s announcement that restaurants could resume indoor dining on Wednesday, Bistro Vida was serving diners inside the Menlo Park French restaurant for the first time in three months. Owner Ali Elsafy said about 20 people dined inside on Wednesday night, some ...

Read More

“The first big exhale…” After months of takeout, restaurants reopen for outdoor dining

Diners enjoy lunch to-go outside Left Bank in downtown Menlo Park on June 6, the first day San Mateo County restaurants were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining. (Photo by Elena Kadvany) “The first big exhale in awhile.” After months of takeout, Peninsula restaurants reopen for outdoor dining Many local eateries embrace the opportunity of open air service, while others are left out. On the first days Santa Clara and San Mateo counties allowed restaurants to ...

Read More

San Agus opens in Palo Alto with Mexico City street food — for takeout only

San Agus opens in Palo Alto with Mexico City street food — for takeout only Owner behind RWC’s La Viga & LV Mar opens newest venture amid an uncertain landscape Tacos al Pastor at the newly-opened San Agus. (Image courtesy of Steven Renteria/La Viga) Manuel Martinez of LV Mar and La Viga opened his latest project, San Agus Cocina Urbana & Cocktails, in downtown Palo Alto last week, though it’s not quite what he envisioned for ...

Read More

John Shelsta’s popular pastry pop-up Love for Butter finds a new home at Zola in Palo Alto

Brioche tarts by John Shelsta: Orange-pistachio with vanilla custard (in front) and berry brioche with vanilla streusel and vanilla custard. (Photo by Nicole Ruiz Hudson) Shutdown opens unexpected (and delicious) doors for local collaboration John Shelsta, whose flaky croissants, morning buns and ganache-filled kouign amann have drawn a loyal following for years, has finally found a semi-permanent home for his Love for Butter pop-up. John Shelsta shows off his baked goods at a pop-up at ...

Read More

A tea house, a speakeasy, a beloved restaurant: The Van’s in Belmont has closed for good

The pandemic shutdown pushed owner Loring De Martini into retirement, ending a century of storied local history (Image via The Van’s website) The Van’s Restaurant On the Hill in Belmont, a local institution that was originally built in 1915, has permanently closed after decades of serving throwback fare from its perch above the Peninsula. Owner Loring De Martini, who took over the restaurant in 1973, shuttered The Van’s on March 14, just before the Bay ...

Read More

Peninsula cities consider closing streets to make space for struggling restaurants during COVID-19

“Every seat outside would help.” Creative solutions surface to aid a beleaguered industry. Two pedestrians walk down Santa Cruz Avenue past Roma in downtown Menlo Park. (Photo by Magali Gauthier) Cities up and down the Midpeninsula are considering temporarily closing their downtown streets to traffic to give restaurants and other businesses more outdoor space to safely serve customers when they’re allowed to reopen. The cities, including Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, ...

Read More

The 650 guide to Peninsula restaurants selling groceries, meal kits and more

Support your favorite eatery and avoid the supermarket crowds. Original Joe’s ravioli, sauces and other foods available for pickup and delivery. (Photo via Original Joe’s FB page) In a sign of the times, Palo Alto’s venerable Sundance the Steakhouse now sells toilet paper alongside filet mignon and ribeye steaks. The 45-year-old steakhouse, closed to in-person dining during the shutdown, has pivoted to serving boxes of raw meat and seafood for customers to cook at home, ...

Read More

From “maddening” to a lifeline: Local restaurants share uneven experience with federal PPP loans

From ‘maddening’ to a lifeline: Local restaurants share uneven experience with federal PPP loans ‘Without help, a lot of restaurants aren’t going to make it.’ Galen Fletcher, owner of Sundance the Steakhouse, received a loan in the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which will help him pay laid-off staff while the 45-year-old Palo Alto restaurant is open only for takeout. (Photo by Magali Gauthier) Galen Fletcher counts himself among the lucky ones. The owner ...

Read More

Once controversial, ghost kitchens now offer a lifeline for some restaurants during COVID-19

Ghost kitchens, fast growing and controversial, offer a lifeline for some restaurants during COVID-19 “It’s been very life-saving for us to have this relationship now” Virtual Kitchen Co. opened a ghost kitchen in Palo Alto in January, allowing restaurants from San Francisco and Oakland to deliver on the Peninsula. (Photo by Magali Gauthier) Long before the coronavirus hit the Bay Area, the owners of San Francisco Indian restaurant Dosa partnered with Virtual Kitchen Co. ...

Read More