Almanac

News - February 12, 2014

First look at plans for BBC renovation

by Sandy Brundage

A three-floor restaurant, including a rooftop deck, will replace the BBC in Menlo Park, if all goes according to plan.

Rob Fischer, who owns the Palo Alto Creamery along with Reposado and, in Mountain View, Gravity and Scratch, added the BBC to his roster last July. The Planning Commission was scheduled to review the architectural details of his plan for the historic Menlo Park restaurant, located at 1090 El Camino Real, during its Feb. 10 meeting.

The new restaurant would operate on three floors, with an expanded mezzanine for indoor and outdoor dining on the ground floor. According to the city, Mr. Fischer wants to add an exterior staircase, create an outdoor dining area with a bar and grill on the roof, and switch the main entry from El Camino Real to Santa Cruz Avenue.

The changes would not expand the restaurant's square footage beyond the current 7,800 square feet, as a basement level would be closed off.

It will be open seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., with on-site alcohol sales and no live entertainment, according to the staff report. Background music in seating areas will be provided via speakers. Parking would continue to be provided via the 275-space underground garage shared with other Menlo Center businesses.

Before any of that can go live, however, the structure requires seismic upgrades as well as other modifications to get up to code, which Mr. Fischer said he expected to take at least until the summer, as well as the Planning Commission signing off on the architectural details of the renovation.

The historic building housed Menlo Park's administrative and police departments before becoming the BBC. In more recent years the rowdy nightspot gained a checkered history after a busboy and a cook were arrested for sexually assaulting two women in an upstairs room at the club in 2010. Both pleaded guilty to related charges.

Former owners Lance White and Richard Eldridge first claimed the BBC had shut down for remodeling in January 2012 before announcing online that they were no longer in business.

A few months later social media executive Owen Van Natta stepped in to reopen the club, but abandoned the plan when the financial aspects appeared unviable.

See AlmanacNews.com for updates. The Planning Commission meeting was held after the Almanac's press deadline.

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