Faces of Menlo

Post image for Oysterette is new dining option at Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series spotlighting the special features of local restaurants that may not be obvious or well-known. If you think one of your favorite Menlo Park restaurants qualifies, please email us at tips[a]inmenlo.com.

While not an employment criteria, there does seem to be a trend for servers and chefs at Jesse Cool’s Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park: They grew up eating at the restaurant.

We’d stopped in to experience the newly-opened Oysterette, the brainchild of Jesse and Executive Chef Charlie Parker who grew up eating at Flea Street (pictured right). It’s located on the freshly painted and decorated deck in front of the restaurant. Serving customers is Zach Wurtz and shucking oysters and preparing small plates is chef Leo Wurtz (pictured top with Zach in background). And yes, the brothers grew up eating at Flea Street.

“While I don’t want to think of myself as an elder, I’m learning to embrace the fact,” said Jesse. “It’s so great to see the young people come in and understand the core values and philosophy of Flea Street, which turns 37 on August 28.

“That’s a lot of years for a restaurant and a cause for celebration. So how great is it that this next generation is so caring and respectful. And they really like their jobs!

“One of the exciting things about having Charlie come home is that he’s endlessly inventive while being very aware of the business that I built over the years.”

Jesse explained that Leo has been working at Flea Street since high school. The brothers spent some time traveling the world and have now landed back at their hometown restaurant. “Some chefs go from place to place to learn,” she said. “I stayed in one place and everyone came through and I learned from them. Leo came back to a place where he’s learning a lot.”

The menu at Oysterette is distinct from what’s offered inside Flea Street and includes fresh-from-the-garden salads, some of which are whimisical: how often have you eaten a salad that’s hand-shaken in a jar?

Of course there’s a changing variety of East and West Coast oysters. But for those who are not fans of the bivalve, there’s a great selection of interesting small tastes including avocado toast with smoked trout as well as serrano ham with burrata and stone fruit, to name two.

Beverages include a selection of California wines along with four craft beers and made-on-the-deck special cocktails.

The casual theme continues in the first-come, first-served, no reservation policy. Added bonus for canine owners: Oysterette is dog friendly. It is open Wednesday through Saturday starting at 4:30 pm.

Photos by Betsy Sergeant Snow (c) 2017

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Sunflowers brighten up Robin Tobias’s Menlo Park yard

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InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most was at it again, this time photographing sunflowers at the west side of Menlo in Robin Tobias’s yard. (Last month Robb photographed the sunflower forest in Art Scott and Cindy Sumida-Scott’s backyard in the FairOaks neighborhood of Menlo Park.) Robin sent us an email about this year’s garden:  “I planted […]

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Visit Lee’s Bees – and the kids behind the project – this Saturday at Cafe Zoë

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We were lucky enough to get a preview this afternoon of Lee’s Bees, a project that two Menlo Park kids — 10-year-old Heather and her 12-year-old brother, Jason — have been working on this summer, under the guidance of their grandmother, Sandy Lee, who lives next door to her grandchildren. The young bee keepers tend […]

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Accomplished equestrian Nancy Hey looks back on her long career and her association with the Menlo Charity Horse Show

Thumbnail image for Accomplished equestrian Nancy Hey looks back on her long career and her association with the Menlo Charity Horse Show

While riding instructor and horse trainer Nancy Hey no longer competes in shows, she’s doing the next best thing — preparing horses and ponies to be at their best for their riders during lessons and in the show ring. Nancy is the founder of Strideaway Farms located down a long and winding road in Menlo Park that most […]

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Catching up with Jean Forstner, Executive Director of Kepler’s Literary Foundation

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By Jean Forstner’s reckoning, she’s “just a do-gooder at heart.” “I’ve worked my entire life building community around ideas. So I’m very intrigued about building community around literary events,” she said of her recent appointment as Executive Director of Kepler’s Literary Foundation (KLF). KLF was created as part of  Kepler’s 2020 Project, whose goal is to […]

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Arthur Flegel approaches his 100th birthday

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We had the pleasure of visiting with Arthur Flegel in advance of his 100th birthday, which will be marked with a gathering of some 80 family and friends on August 6. The man who, along with wife Cleora, brought furniture to downtown Menlo Park with the opening of Flegel’s Home Furnishings in 1954, is in somewhat frail […]

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Shay Patel’s Alley-Oop Kids organization holds summer camp in Ravenswood School District

Thumbnail image for Shay Patel’s Alley-Oop Kids organization holds summer camp in Ravenswood School District

Menlo Park resident Shay Patel was at it again this summer. Through his Alley-Oop Kids organization (which we covered in 2015 and 2016), he ran an after-school camp for summer school kids in the Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto. Shay and his team ran drills, contests and scrimmages for approx 60 kids (all rising 6th […]

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A sunflower forest grows in Menlo Park

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There are sunflowers — and then there is the sunflower forest in Art Scott and Cindy Sumida-Scott’s Menlo Park backyard. First came the work of local landscape designer Janet Bell, who redid the yard. At that project’s conclusion, the couple sent cards to the various workers, expressing “this beautiful garden representing the analemma [sun’s path] […]

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Former Assembly member Rich Gordon is named new President & CEO of California Forestry Association

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Effective July 17, former Assembly member and Menlo Park resident Rich Gordon will lead the California Forestry Association (Calforests) as President and CEO. Gordon will work in Sacramento four days a week and telecommute from his Menlo Oaks home one day. “Healthy forests are crucial to the sustainability of our planet. It is an honor […]

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Vocalist Madeleine McGlynn debuts at Stanford Jazz Festival

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Menlo Park resident Madeleine McGlynn (fourth from left), who we profiled in June, made her performance debut today appearing with three other vocalists at the Stanford Jazz Festival in a program called Celebrating the Great American Songbook. Backed  by a five-piece band, she appeared solo for two songs, singing Night and Day and Feeling Good, which she said […]

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Madeleine McGlynn takes the stage at Stanford Jazz Festival this summer

Thumbnail image for Madeleine McGlynn takes the stage at Stanford Jazz Festival this summer

Menlo Park resident Madeleine McGlynn started singing about the time she started talking. “My Dad listened to jazz standards, and every day when he got home from work, I’d have him play whatever songs he wanted to introduce me to. That music has remained my era. I love Harlem Renaissance jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday.” Madeleine will […]

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