Usually I report quarterly in the printed Newsletter of my neighborhood (Old Mtn. View, which includes the downtown area). After two 2016 quarters with almost no local restaurant changes, news began accumulating just as the Newsletter missed an issue (from loss of a key contributor). Below is a round-up of downtown restaurant news since Summer 2016; the final item (about Morocco’s closure) is not in the current Newsletter article.
In order of latest news at each address:
• 420 Castro (previously Mixx) began remodeling last Summer, reverting to two business spaces (Cantankerous Fish had merged them in 2006). One pending new tenant is Sweetgreen (a salad restaurant), the other has been identified as Peet’s Coffee.
• Pokēworks, a compact take-out restaurant for the Hawaiian fish salads, opened at 211 Castro (former home of Alpine Books).
• Popular vegetarian eatery Yam Leaf Bistro (699 Calderon) closed in August with a note “New Operation Coming Soon.”
• Midtown (formerly Yoogl Yogurt Cafe) closed in September at 260 Castro. A site of the Korea-based Bonchon (“Hometown”) Fried Chicken franchise (which I’ve heard good things about) is in construction.
• Venerable locals’ favorite Los Charros was renamed La Espuela (both the downtown taqueria and breakfast place at 854 W. Dana, and the El-Camino “Restaurant & Cantina” at 89 W. ECR).
• In December, the Paris Baguette chain announced plans to move into the subdivided former Bookbuyers storefront (315-319 Castro), pending permits and remodeling to repurpose the premises as a bakery.
• 246 Castro: First, Izzo Asian-Fusion Tapas, which opened April 2016 as an expansion of a San José original, closed after only five months. In December Shalimar Sizzle, a new Indian restaurant featuring non-buffet lunches, opened there. (Its cooking has stood out to me against local competition.)
• Fu Lam Mum, the 153-155 Castro custom-built dim-sum restaurant, closed in January for long-planned conversion of upstairs seating floor to office space. Reopening is now projected for August or September.
• Oyster bar Shell Shock (124 Castro) converted in January to East Street Tacos under the same owner, an “international” taqueria offering diverse (including vegetarian) fillings and wraps.
• Verde Tea Kitchen, 210 Hope at Villa, closed in February after a year in business. It was a large expansion sibling of longtime nearby Verde Tea Café (852 Villa), and had remodeled the dormant corner restaurant property (last occupied by Spice Islands in 2009).
• Notable local restaurateur family Poon had opened a second location of its popular, unique Srasa Kitchen in July at 292 Castro, but closed it in April. Tentative plans are for a new handmade ice cream rolls shop, Pushcart Creamery, at the address.
• Under review by City Hall: a redevelopment proposal to replace Chez TJ and Tied House with a 4-story floor office building and ground floor restaurant, in which both current restaurants’ owners could partner.
• A new “coffee shop” is coming soon to 833 Villa, next to Song Pa Korean restaurant.
• Morocco’s at 873 Castro, facing uncertainty since 2016 due to planned redevelopment of its building (and City Council’s decision not to favor the site’s existing businesses with the sort of “community benefit” finding granted previously at 801 W. ECR and elsewhere) could not come to terms with its landlord, and shut its doors. Co-owner Jay Essadki writes “from Morocco’s family to the entire community: We love Mountain View and thank you all for your ongoing support and love.”