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By Elena Kadvany

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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Cafe Brioche owner to open Greek restaurant on Cal Ave

Uploaded: Jun 30, 2016
The owner of Palo Alto French restaurant Cafe Brioche is opening a Greek restaurant just two doors down on California Avenue this fall, Caglar Vural confirmed Thursday.

Vural has taken over the lease at 451 California Ave., which has been empty since Uzumaki Sushi closed more than two years ago. He plans to open Kali Greek Grill, which he said will serve a "simple," small menu of organic, casual Greek food made from locally sourced ingredients.

In 2014, after Uzumaki Sushi closed, Robert Lindstrom took over the space and said he intended to open a casual American grill called Evergreen Park Restaurant by Memorial Day of that year. There did not appear to be much, if any, activity at the space until Vural moved in this summer.

Lindstrom did not respond to a request for comment, but is currently working as manager at Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto, according to his LinkedIn page.

Vural said Kali Greek Grill will be distinct from the other Mediterranean options in the immediate area — Mediterranean Wraps on California Avenue and Anatolian Kitchen on Birch Street — but didn’t want to divulge any specific menu items yet.

Kali Greek Grill will also serve wine and beer, mostly from Greece.

Vural hopes to be open by mid-September. Stay tuned for updates along the way.

Comments

 +   6 people like this
Posted by Midtown, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 30, 2016 at 11:29 am

Hope the new owner members the saga of the $15 hot dog...


 +   15 people like this
Posted by Missing our Retail, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Jun 30, 2016 at 1:36 pm

It is pathetic that California Avenue has so quickly become a Food Court, with few to no retail stores, providing the reason to "Shop Palo Alto".

These newer establishments are mostly good only for the throngs of hungry office workers that are also new to that district.

While new restaurants ought not to be begrudged anywhere, this is happening on California Avenue and elsewhere, at the expense of local retailers, and ultimately, this hurts residents and other taxpayers.

The loss of retail has been allowed to happen, due to many years of poor decisions by city councils, promoted and directed by our city staff, most of whom do not even live here, and who do not care what happens to what used to be our "retail districts".


 +   26 people like this
Posted by Teddie, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jun 30, 2016 at 4:14 pm

Missing our retail... think about the dynamics of retail with Amazon and the internet as viable options. I had shopped at Village Stationary for years, buying paper, pens, and the like... however with the ease of ordering on line and receiving products sometimes the very next day it made less sense to shop at brick and mortar establishments. Dry cleaners pick up and deliver now, you can buy your groceries on line, you clothes even. I think Cal Ave will thrive with a variety of unique restaurants not only for those office workers you speak off but for us who live in the community and are so lucky to have a variety of choices.


 +   113 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jul 1, 2016 at 8:02 am

The loss of retail has been mostly driven by changing consumer shopping patterns. Part of it has to do with online sales but there are other things like the decline of physical media sales for music/books as well as the emergence of big box/discount stores (Walmart, Costco, Target, etc.).

Many of the stores who relocate (and don't outright close) do so because of increasing rent in prime downtown districts no longer makes sense for their business model.

Remember Stacey's Bookstore on University Avenue? Do you know what happened to them? They went out of business because not enough people bought books for them to keep up with their expenses.

To put the blame on city councils shows an utter lack of understanding of the free market economy and complete ignorance of the ongoing changes in consumer buying behavior.

I would love to see more quality retail in my town's downtown district, but for sure, the days of Woolworth's, a pet store, and a stationery store are gone. Heck, I'm grateful that my downtown still has a cobbler.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Do not shop in palo alto, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Jul 1, 2016 at 9:16 am

Well stated, reader. I should also point out that most of the retail in Palo alto consists of overpriced stores. Palo Alto has refused to provide the shopping experience that most people (that are not millionaires) need--big box retail and/or stores with reasonable prices. Even with grocery stores, Palo Alto wants overpriced boutique stores. Palo Alto has reaped what it sowed in regard to shopping. I have lived in Palo ALto for 20+ years and even back then there was little to no places for me to shop for my needs. But the retailers have figured it out--build right on the border and palo alto resident's will come


 +   87 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jul 1, 2016 at 11:26 am

@Do not shop in Palo Alto:

Again, today's retail environment reflects on changing consumer behavior and the realities of today's local commercial real estate market. There is no room for a Target or Walmart and its corresponding huge parking lot in any downtown area around here. Thus, the developers/business operators choose a location that is available and makes more sense.

It's not the city council who should be blamed that there are no Targets in the California Avenue or University Avenue business districts. Let's face it, if middle class Americans want to drive their monster SUVs into huge parking lots so they can wheel their ginormous shopping carts in and out of a big box store, that's not going to happen in a downtown business district anymore.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Do not shop in palo alto, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Jul 1, 2016 at 11:43 am

Reader--but let's be honest, Palo Alto has been against any kind of chainstore/reasonably priced retail for decades. Plus what retailer would actually want to deal with the palo alto process and the unending and sometimes ridiculous demands made (and we all know that many of these demands are orchestrated attempts to prevent the retailer from opening in town). The council put a chain store ban in effect for California Avenue, but do they really expect mom and pop stores to rush to open there???
Look at Edgewood plaza--we had a tiny grocery store built there because no retailer wants such a small location.


 +   113 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jul 1, 2016 at 9:01 pm

@Do not shop in Palo Alto:

Maybe you are living in the wrong town. Palo Alto changed. You didn't.

You are not going to get the Palo Alto of 1976.

You're not going to get $0.50 gasoline or $50,000 houses either.

I will point out that registered voters of Palo Alto elect representatives and key officials. If you want to blame the City of Palo (the government entity) you should start by blaming your neighbors. They're the ones who put those people in office.

You can also blame your neighbors for changing their consumer buying habits as to make certain types of retail no longer viable in downtown business districts. You can blame new neighbors (basically anyone under fifty) for driving up real estate prices which has led to many businesses leaving due to rent increases that don't match their businesses budgets.

Anyhow, enjoy your town.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by so it is, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Jul 3, 2016 at 4:28 pm

it's greek to me!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Marie, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Marie is a registered user.

There could have been a 30,000 sq. ft. grocery store built in Alma Plaza but Lucky's, with a dog in the manger attitude, sold the plaza after the city refused a 40,000 sq. ft. store, and included a deed restriction that the new owner could not put in a large grocery store. A 40,000 sq. ft store was clearly too large for the site and would have eliminated all the convenient small shops surrounding the existing Luckys.

Luckys went on to build a new store in Mountain View, which then went out of business as it had too much competition in the area, between Walmart, Trader Joe's and Safeway.

The new property owner must have had deep pockets. For over 10 years the plaza was closed until finally a developer-friendly council acceded to the demands for a overly dense, under parked housing development with no driveways and a tiny grocery store. If the original zoning had been kept, eventually the appropriate stores would have been built. The development itself, was allowed 20 ft. wide private streets, despite concerns from the fire department. Later, the narrow streets were used to justify higher prices for garbage collection as they have to use smaller trucks in developments with narrow streets. PA Utilities tried to charge the homeowners with narrow streets higher prices but a storm of criticism from the homeowners forced them to back down as PA was the reason for the narrow streets, not the homeowners.

Another taxpayer revolt led the city to change its ordinances so that all new streets must be at least 30 feet wide, under threat of an initiative to accomplish the same goal.

Had the original zoning been maintained, then we would still have a neighborhood retail shopping center, as eventually the owners would have bowed to necessity rather than leave the land empty.

This was a major failure on the part of the then Palo Alto City Council.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Yiasoo, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jul 5, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Let's face it....Cal Ave is heading towards the next mini "Castro" Street. Many restaurants and few retailers. The problem is two fold - 1. High lease rates and a consumer who is now shopping more from home, than in our small business districts. If we truly want to save our retailers, we have to be willing to support these businesses, and yet I am sure many on this thread find it difficult to pay a higher price of a retailer on Cal Ave, when many items they seek can be found at a cheaper price online. Talk is cheap and frivolous when we don't put our money where our mouth is. It's time to step up if we want to save the charm of Cal Ave.

Welcome Kali Greek Grill!



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