Ann’s Coffee Shop in downtown Menlo Park set to close on April 19

by Elizabeth McColloch on April 2, 2021

Editor’s note: Ann’s Coffee Shop, a fixture in downtown Menlo Park for 75 years is closing on April 19. The closure was first reported by the Daily Post. The building that Ann’s is in has been sold. Owner Nicki Poulos told the Post that there will be a community pancake brunch on the last day with some of Ann’s paintings and memorabilia being offered for sale. Below is an article about Ann’s that was published in 2015.

Ann Gilbert opened Ann’s Coffee in Menlo Park in 1946, making it one of downtown’s oldest continuing establishments. Three different owners have carried on her legacy by enhancing the menu but never removing any items or straying from her original recipes. Ann’s still possesses paintings from the 1960s, which embody a unique style, admired by many customers.

Current owner, Nicki Poulus, bought Ann’s in 2008 and has made an effort to preserve many aspects of the restaurant. However, she and her son decided to implement a few minor changes, including opening Ann’s on Sundays. They discovered that this additional day had a positive outcome, as Saturdays and Sundays are now their busiest days. In spite of the restaurant’s relatively small capacity, the staff members at Ann’s work hard to reduce the wait time, which on a busy day, is an average of ten minutes.

Poulus describes Ann’s rare characteristics. Unlike numerous restaurants on Santa Cruz Avenue, Ann’s is not part of a chain and the staff members “cater to the customer’s needs.” Ann’s takes great pride in servicing its clients and is happy to alter its menu in order to create a better experience for the customer.

This strategy has obviously proven successful, as some families have been eating at Ann’s for as many as three generations. Diners consist of business men and women grabbing a bite to eat before their meetings and large groups of students who need to eat before various sporting events. During the weekends, many loyal Ann’s customers can be seen waving across the restaurant, greeting one another.

Ann’s is open seven days a week, and constantly serves breakfast. Cooks prepare meat and fruits every morning, fresh and ready for enjoyment. In addition to these items, Ann’s offers a variety of breakfast dishes, the most popular being the French Toast and Pancake Combo, served with eggs, and a choice of bacon or sausage.

Two soups are cooked each morning, their components varying from day to day. One unique aspect of the menu, praised highly by Poulus, is the Roast Turkey with Dressing, served with other Thanksgiving delicacies.

According to Poulus, the staff is “like a family. We are friendly, and we help each other.” The head cook has been a part of the Ann’s family for 30 years, and one waitress has worked there for over twenty. Poulus believes Ann’s has become a “landmark of Menlo Park, something that everybody knows.” She plans on preserving the friendly environment among the customers and staff, and looks forward to serving the people of Menlo Park for many years to come.

Elizabeth McColloch wrote this article when she was reporter for the M-A Bear News where this article originally appeared; used with permission.



fremontst-resident January 12, 2015 at 2:56 pm

over-priced and mediocre diner food along with terrible service. Ann’s could be a great spot, but it isn’t for those 2 reasons.

Robert Bradley April 02, 2021 at 5:17 pm

Are you sure that you are human?

Shawn Cooley April 02, 2021 at 10:51 pm

You sound like one of those complainers that find fault with everything. So sad. I also noticed you chose anonymity….

Vicky April 03, 2021 at 11:26 pm

RUDE ! I think it’s a wonderful establishment with some great traditional savory breakfast. Let’s try to keep some of the history of Menlo Park !!

Doreen Rehbock April 07, 2021 at 12:56 am

Amen! To that! We have three generations in my family that adore Ann’s. Ann’s has been our comfort place and loved the food and staff!

Martha Quintanilla April 05, 2021 at 2:23 pm

If you don’t like it don’t go but no bad comments we did 4 generations

Tara February 21, 2018 at 7:56 pm

We love love love Ann’s! It’s inexpensive, friendly and an institution. I went as a kid and now take my kids as well. Curmudgeons need not go there!

Andrea April 03, 2021 at 8:51 am

I went there as a kid, too! I’m from Atherton but live in FL now so haven’t been in decades. My parents are still in the area. Ann’s makes THE best homemade peach pie. This closing news is just so sad!!! What a Menlo Park icon to be losing!

robert Garner June 18, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Ann’s is the best place for breakfast in Menlo Park. Food is great and reasonably priced and the staff is very good. Can’t start my weekend days without it.

MP Regular April 02, 2021 at 5:36 pm

So sad to hear this! Ann’s is a classic diner..simple and affordable food, with friendly and familiar service. Their no frills approach is so refreshing given the overly fussy breakfast offerings that are now the norm.

Atlee April 02, 2021 at 7:43 pm

So sad to lose a legacy restaurant that has served so many families in the local area. Thank you Anne’s for all the years of service and providing a friendly cafe and delicious breakfast!

Meredith Ozbil April 02, 2021 at 10:00 pm

Oh wow! Ann’s is our family favorite! We are very sad to hear this news. Τα λέμε

James Freliner April 02, 2021 at 10:03 pm

Another fixture of Menlo Park and a big part of the character of the city is closing. There are not many left and the city does not seem to care…

Ali Jennings April 02, 2021 at 10:03 pm

Menlo Park got together and saved Keplers. Can we get together and and somehow save Ann’s. It’s a local landmark.

Vicky April 03, 2021 at 11:28 pm

Please try to save this gem, we’re losing everything in downtown Menlo Park..people step up and try to preserve some history

WK April 06, 2021 at 11:25 am

a wealthy person bought Keplers for a family member to run. MP didn’t save anything

Stephanie April 03, 2021 at 7:24 am

I just loved Ann’s.. her French toast was the best anywhere!! So sad to see her tasty and no frills restaurant shut down! 🙁

Janet Pitts Maher April 03, 2021 at 7:21 pm

If you grew up in Menlo Park or Atherton as I did, you knew and loved Ann’s.
The yummy breakfast food, the hamburgers, the potato salad on a piece of lettuce, chicken salad sandwich on white toast, a milkshake or a coke in a glass with crushed ice, the art on the walls! The pies were superb. My father would often sneak away for a piece of Peach Pie or Apple Pie and a cup of coffee at Ann’s under the guise of going out to “buy a newspaper” ( this was back in the late70’s-80’s). Mom and I always wondered why it took him so long to go out for a paper? He finally confessed. He loved Ann’s pie!!
Good memories of simple, good food. Hard to imagine Santa Cruz Ave. without it.

MrB April 03, 2021 at 11:57 pm

Are they open to eat inside?

MP resideny April 04, 2021 at 12:39 am

I been to Ann’s twice in 28 years. The decor looked very dated, not charming like Bucks, just old stuff. The food was fine – simple and unremarkable, the service was attentive and pleasant, but I recall that they don’t take cash, so I never went back.

Too bad they are closing. I wish everyone well. The servers were good, so I hope they find other jobs soon.

dallas r hall April 04, 2021 at 9:26 pm

Ann was my special Aunt. As a young man Ann treated me to breakfast many Saturdays. I started going there in 1948. She was such a sweet woman. Did I mention banana cream . I still go there when I pass by Menlo.

John Mercer April 05, 2021 at 7:53 am

Can’t Say How Many Times I’ve Been To Ann’s . . .But, MANY!!!! Moved To Menlo Park In 1953, Just Goes To Show I Can’t Recall The Many Times I’ve Eaten There!!!! Someone Said It Right: You Would Always See A Friend / Acquaintance There!! My Favorite Was The Breakfast And TheFriendliness Of ALL That Worked There!!! Very Sad To See Them Go!!!!!

Jan Scripps April 05, 2021 at 10:21 am

John! You moved to MP 2 years before I did! So different to go back there now with all of our old favorites gone, including the Oasis, Foster Freeze, Johnny’s Smoke Shop and on and on! Now Ann’s will be added to that list. 🙁 I might have to make my own pancakes now! Janbo

Elizabeth Feinler April 05, 2021 at 1:52 pm

All of us Menlo Parkers think of Ann’s with nostalgia and warm feelings. I worked at SRI and was told “go to Ann’s for lunch” when I first arrived many years ago. . I remember when Ann remodeled and put up the current “art work” which has been there untouched for decades. The food was tasty, I met there with many friends, the waitresses went out of their way, as far as I know they thankfully didn’t serve kale, and lately I loved the lemon chicken soup,. What a loss this will be to Menlo Park.

David Cavissi April 07, 2021 at 11:52 am

Don’t wait to go and say goodbye. I was there for lunch yesterday and things were tense, they may not be able to stay open until the 19th… a real shame.

Winston Katz April 07, 2021 at 11:52 am

curious why you would post a 6 year old article with zero new information? Makes no sense for the reader? the business is closing, what does a fluf piece about how was run 6 years ago help anyone?

Sean April 19, 2021 at 7:18 am

Went there once last year, because Stacks was closed. Food was horrible serve wasn’t great. I wish I had a good memory of my experience. I’m glad others did and I wish the staff the best in their next roles.

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