Remembering when fine dining reigned in Sharon Heights at the Velvet Turtle
Many longtime locals continue to mourn the loss of the Velvet Turtle in the Sharon Heights shopping center. Opened in 1970 by Wally Botello, it was the first of 20 such restaurants spread around California. Purchased by the Marriott Corp. in 1986, who later sold it to a private investment group. The Menlo Park location, where CVS is now, closed in 1995.
We scoured the internet for a photo of the restaurant at the Sharon Heights location but came up empty. But it does live on through a Facebook page. The menu shown here is from 1978.
Our search for interior or exterior photos of the Menlo Park location did unearth a rather humorous (in our humble opinion) review of the Velvet Turtle in the Stanford Daily published in 1982, which could be considered its mid-heyday.
Wrote Adam Goodman and Jennifer King: “Take excellent food. Add a little convenience. Mix with plenty of good service. Then drown with an overdose of gaudy atmosphere.
“Dinner at the Velvet Turtle is a delicious culinary extravaganza. The menu is packed full of scrumptious choices to please even the pickiest palate. The restaurant is a welcome haven for any food connoisseur, but surely is not recommended for interior decorators.”
The reporting duo went on to note “the restaurant was crowded, but we probably saw only one other couple within 20 years of our age…Probably the most discouraging reason for students is the high price. Our dinner totaled $64 with tip.”
That’s about $170 in today’s dollars.
You can read the review in its entirety online in the Daily’s archive.