Menlo Park: Trader Joe's wants to host wine and beer tastings

Monday: Planning Commission to consider Trader Joe's application, plus plans for a new pediatric office in Willows

Trader Joe's wants to host wine and beer tastings at its Menlo Park store at 720 Menlo Ave. The company has applied for permits from the city and state.

Menlo Park's Planning Commission could vote on the application at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 9, which starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Civic Center.

Also on the commission's agenda is a proposal to convert a day spa ("Spa in the Park") at 103 Gilbert Ave. in the Willows into a pediatric office operated by Stanford Children's Health.

Beer, wine tastings

Trader Joe's plans to set up a permanent wine and beer tasting area near the alcoholic beverages section of the store, according to documents submitted to the city. The area would be about 105 square feet and would be enclosed by 4-foot-tall cedar walls.

The company says it has such tasting areas in two Southern California locations: Temecula (Riverside County) and Del Mar Heights (San Diego), according to a city staff report.

Similar Menlo Park tasting licenses have already been approved at the Safeway at 525 El Camino Real, BevMo and Willows Market.

If Menlo Park grants a permit, Trader Joe's would still have to get permission from the state before opening the tasting area.

Pediatric office

According to the proposal for the pediatric office, there would be eight employees: three pediatricians, two medical assistants, a registrar, a clinic manager and a receptionist.

There is expected to be enough parking to meet demand, a city staff report says. Renovation plans include making the interior kid-friendly and converting an accessory building into a staff break room.

Agenda, online viewing

See the the Planning Commission agenda and watch the meeting online.


4 people like this
Posted by MPGrown
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 6, 2017 at 8:22 am

I love the idea of a beer/wine tasting, but it does not seem practical in that store. It's already super-crowded, and it seems that cordoning off 105 sq feet within the store would just make matters worse. It's hard to imagine that it could meet fire safety requirements-where is the safety exit on that far side of the store? What is the limit for the number of people in the store? Does anyone ever check these things?

Another thought, how about using the pop-up park on the side street near TJ's? On a nice day, that would be alot safer. Of course the traffic congestion/parking congestion there south of Santa Cruz Ave is already horrendous, and adding pedestrian foot traffic right near the busy parking lot might be a bad formula.

As I said, I like the concept, but I think the execution just may not be feasible.

14 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 6, 2017 at 9:13 am

I think and Urn of hot toddy or mulled wine next to the coffee would make doing the shopping so much nicer!

Or perhaps there should be a bottle of each whiskey labeled 'tester' on the shelves, like hand lotion.

8 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 8, 2017 at 9:23 am

It's amazing, the "No Birds" come out of the woodwork for everything!

The parking impact is minimal. The impact to space usage inside the store is Trader Joes' problem. The "OMG traffic" argument is beyond tired, please pull your head out of your backside and realize it's no longer then 1970s.

It's not like they're going to be the next K&L, but it probably will help wine sales a bit

6 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 8, 2017 at 12:40 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

oh my god!!! try something new??? NIMBY's delight.

Try it, you might like it.

8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 8, 2017 at 1:53 pm

We have to let stores try new things to compete in the era of Amazon. I doubt this will affect street traffic at all. If parking issues or congestion within the store scare away customers, that is the store's problem to deal with. Will DUI around the store be a problem? I can't imagine it being any worse than near restaurants that serve booze.

4 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 8, 2017 at 2:33 pm

Based on other places that do tastings, I would expect DUIs to be a non-issue - we're talking a couple of sips at a time, not full servings!

7 people like this
Posted by Randy Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 8, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Safeway does wine tastings-- hasn't caused huge lines of folks. Willows Market does tastings and that hasn't caused mass crowds. It's a delightful community centric happening. And drinks aren't interested in getting bombed at the grocery store.

Thank you TJ's this sounds great. Hope you get it. There are XL several wines and beers you have that is be interested in trying - that way I can happily get drunk at home alone

Like this comment
Posted by Al N.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 9, 2017 at 10:13 pm

Great Idea, however, they have totally inadequate parking now. They do not need to attract more folks who will only take longer to get out of their parking spaces. Today at 4:15PM there were no disabled spots available and the lot was full so to had to park a block and a half away on the street.

3 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 10, 2017 at 12:29 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Some peoplejust like ti complain about everything. My god, had to park a block and a half away!!!

1 person likes this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 10, 2017 at 12:32 pm

The fact that you found a space only a block and a half away says there's *PLENTY* of parking.

There may need to be another disabled spot or two, but that's likely a question of local / state codes.

In a downtown (as opposed to an overgrown strip mall), the normal mode of parking / shopping is that one parks in one place, does their shopping at one or more stores, and then drives off.

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