Restaurants

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 }

Much anticipated Camper opens in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Much anticipated Camper opens in Menlo Park

Chef-Partner Greg Kuzia-Carmel had just returned from the Palo Alto farmers market when we encountered him last Saturday at his new restaurant, Camper, which officially opens Labor Day weekend in Menlo Park. But if you go to OpenTable you’ll discover a few reservations available starting today and over the next few days (at least as […]

Click to read more →

New chef comes to Mademoiselle Colette in downtown Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for New chef comes to Mademoiselle Colette in downtown Menlo Park

Nicolas Agraz is the new Executive Chef at Mademoiselle Colette in downtown Menlo Park, bringing many years of experience with the renowned top chefs in Paris, namely Pierre Hermé, Christophe Michalak as well as Christophe Vasseur (chef at the bakery “Du Pain et Des Idées” that serves the restaurant Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée). Leveraging his passion for amazing pastries and fine Parisian gastronomy, […]

Click to read more →

Revisiting Round Table Pizza just shy of its 60th anniversary

Thumbnail image for Revisiting Round Table Pizza just shy of its 60th anniversary

Two national businesses that our town of Menlo Park spawned are still alive and well. One was incorporated in 1998 and first set-up in a garage of a newly-purchased home at 232 Santa Margarita. Now headquartered in Mountain View, Google is part of everyday life. The other began in a California Water Service building on […]

Click to read more →

Spotted: LB Steak sign coming down

Thumbnail image for Spotted: LB Steak sign coming down

We were in downtown Menlo Park early today and came upon a worker taking down the LB Steak sign. We asked, “When is the new sign going up?” as this is the site for the much anticipated Camper featuring  chef Greg Kuzia-Carmel. He answered, “Mid-August.” Footnote: we got the “L”.

Click to read more →

Bastille Day comes to Menlo Park at two [almost] next-door restaurants

Thumbnail image for Bastille Day comes to Menlo Park at two [almost] next-door restaurants

What was happening on the rest of Santa Cruz Avenue on Saturday, July 14, we are not sure. Because the place to celebrate Bastille Day was at the almost next-door neighbor restaurants, Left Bank and Vida. The star-spangled, winged woman on stilts paraded around both restaurants, going up the sidewalk and then walking down SCA […]

Click to read more →

Sunday Suppers are attractive offering at Left Bank Menlo Park this summer

Thumbnail image for Sunday Suppers are attractive offering at Left Bank Menlo Park this summer

Editor’s note: This is one in an occasional series spotlighting special features of local restaurants that may not be obvious or well-known. As part of Left Bank Menlo Park’s 20th anniversary celebration, the restaurant is serving Sunday Suppers now through the end of September. The suppers are particularly attractive when dining outdoors on warm summer evenings. […]

Click to read more →

Jim and Jeff Pollock are developers behind the Park James Hotel in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Jim and Jeff Pollock are developers behind the Park James Hotel in Menlo Park

Partners in a financial services firm as well as real estate developers, father Jim and son Jeff Pollock can also make beautiful music together. Banjo-playing Jim has performed for six Presidents, and serious piano player Jeff is the founder of Hearts of Silicon Valley, whose mission is to engage people with a passion for worthy […]

Click to read more →

Left Bank Menlo Park is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer

Thumbnail image for Left Bank Menlo Park is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer

If you were in the area in the late ’90s, you’ll remember what an instant hit Left Bank was when it opened in downtown Menlo Park. Chef Roland Passot, who grew up in the culinary capital of France — the city of Lyon — opened the restaurant in the summer of 1998. Ten years earlier — […]

Click to read more →

Coffebar is a welcome addition on Chestnut St. in downtown Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Coffebar is a welcome addition on Chestnut St. in downtown Menlo Park

Editor’s note: We welcome a new InMenlo contributor, Bita Arabian. The Menlo Park resident is a health coach for Kurbo Health where she teaches kids, families, and teens to make good choices around food, and to plan out daily exercise. She also writes a  healthy recipes food blog called OvenHug.  In her free time she dances for exercise and […]

Click to read more →

Update on community effort to buy Alpine Beer Garden

Thumbnail image for Update on community effort to buy Alpine Beer Garden

Lucy Neely sent out this email about the community effort to buy Rossotti’s: “Portola Valley Community Roadhouse, LLC offers our gratitude for your support the last couple of weeks, and our apologies for not being able to respond to all inquiries! We will write back soon. “The deadline for submission of Letters of Intent to […]

Click to read more →