Allied Arts Guild

Post image for Events Manager Tiana Wong is operator of Cafe Wisteria at the Allied Arts Guild

In the decade that Tiana Wong has been Events Manager at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, she’s seen half a dozen cafes come and go on the property. “I observed what worked and what didn’t,” she said matter of factly.

So when the space became available again at the beginning of the year, she decided that rather than find a new tenant from the outside, she’d operate the space herself. The result is Cafe Wisteria, a fitting name for a restaurant that’s graced by old and gnarled wisteria.

In putting the menu together, she drew from some of the favorites from when the Palo Alto Auxiliary served meals for what was then called the Allied Arts Restaurant over a period of 70 years. Many of them were captured in the cookbook, Tastes, Tales and Traditions, published in 2005. “For example, there’s the Chicken Cranberry Salad and the Grilled Cheese,” said Tiana. “Others we’ve used as inspiration and added a twist, such as the Grilled Peach and Brie Panini.”

Today the menu also includes a good assortment of starters, salads, sandwiches and entrees, such as Watermelon Caprese Salad and Waldorf Chicken Salad Croissant pictured here. The community has embraced this latest occupant of the historical space; Cafe Wisteria  was voted best new restaurant in the Almanac News 2018 poll.

That Tiana ended up in event — and now restaurant management — is not what she expected when she came  north from the southland to attend UC Santa Cruz, where she got a Masters in History. “My plan was to go to law school,” she said. “But I’d worked at a hotel when I was in grad school and came here soon after when the Allied Arts Auxiliary hired me. I celebrated my 10th anniversary in February and have been involved in all kinds of events, parties and weddings over the years.

“It’s been a great way to connect with the community, and I’m hoping that Cafe Wisteria will further cement that!”

Photos by Betsy Sergeant Snow (c) 2018

{ Be the first to comment }

Ashley Mozart Fey launches Teen Rising Project to give teens a chance to talk in a supportive environment

Thumbnail image for Ashley Mozart Fey launches Teen Rising Project to give teens a chance to talk in a supportive environment

Ashley Mozart Fey is listening to teens in a cozy upstairs room at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. She calls her endeavor Teen Rising Project. “I worked in commercial real estate for many years at the company my father started. But at the back of my mind, I always thought, ‘If I could […]

Click to read more →

Former Menlo Park Fire Battalion Chief’s art is featured in August at Portola Art Gallery

Thumbnail image for Former Menlo Park Fire Battalion Chief’s art is featured in August at Portola Art Gallery

Paintings by artist Jerry Peters are featured in August at the Portola Art Gallery in Menlo Park in a show titled “On the Road in Nova Scotia.” There will be a reception for the  artist on Saturday, Aug. 4 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. The primary paintings in this new show are done from photos taken […]

Click to read more →

Linda Salter’s flower paintings are featured in July at Portola Art Galley

Thumbnail image for Linda Salter’s flower paintings are featured in July at Portola Art Galley

A Summer Bouquet, a collection of flower paintings in pastel and oil by Linda Salter, is the featured exhibit at the Portola Art Gallery through July 31. A reception for the artist will take place on Saturday, July 21 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. This exhibit features a new style of painting for the artist. […]

Click to read more →

Jared Sines is featured artist at Portola Art Galley in June

Thumbnail image for Jared Sines is featured artist at Portola Art Galley in June

Jared Sines is the featured artist at the Portola Art Gallery in June with an exhibit titled “Home and Away.” There will be a reception for the artist on June 16 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. The show presents colorful depictions of subjects with special meaning to him: reflections in the canals of Venice, scenes […]

Click to read more →

Misako Kambe’s “Beauty of Wood Fire, Vol. 3” is on display at Portola Art Gallery

Thumbnail image for Misako Kambe’s “Beauty of Wood Fire, Vol. 3” is on display at Portola Art Gallery

Beauty of Wood Fire, Vol. 3, – carved ceramic creations by Misako Kambe is on display during the month of April at the Portola Art Gallery in Menlo Park The exhibition includes Misako’s recent ceramic art works produced at two wood fire kiln sites: “Hikarigama-kiln” in Elkton, Oregon and “Richard Carter Studio” in Napa, California. Misako begins by […]

Click to read more →

Teresa Silvestri exhibits animal paintings at Portola Art Gallery in March

Thumbnail image for Teresa Silvestri exhibits animal paintings at Portola Art Gallery in March

“Art & the Animal,” an exhibit of new animal watercolor paintings by  Teresa Silvestri in on display at the Portola Art Gallery in March. Teresa receives her inspiration from our long time companions — the animals who share our homes and are part of our families, as well as the sentient beings that populate our […]

Click to read more →

“Small Works – Mini Treasures” is theme of December Portola Art Gallery exhibit

Thumbnail image for “Small Works – Mini Treasures” is theme of December Portola Art Gallery exhibit

In December, the Portola Art Gallery is presenting “Small Works – Mini Treasures,”  a group exhibition of smaller works for the holiday gift-giving season. Throughout the month of December, the award winning artists of the gallery will showcase original works of art that are smaller in size but large on value and creativity. The diminutive original paintings and fine […]

Click to read more →

“Kind of Shy” is theme of oil paintings on display at Portola Art Gallery in November

Thumbnail image for “Kind of Shy” is theme of oil paintings on display at Portola Art Gallery in November

During the month of November, the Portola Art Gallery presents “Kind of Shy,” expressive oil paintings by award-winning artist Marsha Heimbecker of San Mateo. Marsha’s paintings are known for their bold brushwork and color, resulting in a unique vitality. This latest collection of work, inspired by the orphaned elephants of Tsavo, hopes to capture the […]

Click to read more →

Artist Terry McMahon draws on her love of folk art for her bold and vivid paintings

Thumbnail image for Artist Terry McMahon draws on her love of folk art for her bold and vivid paintings

Former Hillview and Encinal schools art teacher Terry McMahon is coming home to Menlo Park, so to speak. She is the featured artist at Portola Art Galley in October with an exhibit of her arcylic paintings titled Bold Color…Brilliant Design, which includes vibrant still life, landscape and city scenes. Terry, who resides “next door” in […]

Click to read more →

Shalini Bitzer continues a textile business that her grandfather started

Thumbnail image for Shalini Bitzer continues a textile business that her grandfather started

Shalini Bitzer unlocks the door of a rather nondescript building at the back of the Allied Arts Guild. Nothing indicates the beauty that lies behind — a cornucopia of textiles in a variety of colors, patterns and textures that Shalini sells at her India Silk studio. Her business is mostly retail and often with interior […]

Click to read more →