Bistro Vida in Menlo Park named the 13th Senate District’s Small Business of the Year
Named by Senator Josh Becker as the 13th Senate District’s Small Business of the Year, Bistro Vida in downtown Menlo Park is being celebrated today in the capital as part of an annual salute to small businesses throughout the state.
“Bistro Vida and its owner Ali El Safy are standouts for recognition as the 13th Senate District’s Small Business of Year,” said Senator Becker, D-Peninsula. “Community spirit is part of Bistro Vida’s DNA. That’s been clear since Ali opened the doors in 1998. Thanks to that unflagging spirit and Ali’s leadership, Bistro Vida not only met the challenges of the pandemic, the restaurant—and its owner—also helped keep the vibrancy of Menlo Park’s downtown alive.”
For example, Senator Becker noted, the parklet built outside Bistro Vida last year to make socially distanced al fresco dining possible is now part of a temporary community plaza, engaging several Santa Cruz Avenue businesses and stretching nearly the length of the block. People visiting the plaza, or simply passing by, can enjoy music by student bands that are showcased at the informal venue—another amenity credited to Ali. “That group effort downtown, encouraged by Ali’s boundless good cheer, has warmed—and won—many hearts in our community,” Senator Becker said.
“I’m honored to accept this recognition,” Ali said. “The pandemic was an eye-opener on how to run a business and survive in hard times. I am really thankful for the support of the community, the city and the government. The City of Menlo Park worked hard to reinvent the downtown. I did what I could. I kept all my employees, and we all did what we had to do to get over that hump. We reinvented ourselves. Everybody pitched in, and now there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Ali and other California business owners named as the Small Business of the Year in their legislative districts were in the capital today to accept the honors from their elected representatives as part of the California Small Business Association’s annual Small Business Day.
Photos courtesy of Ali El Safy; second photo shows Menlo Park Council member Ray Mueller, Police Chief David Norris, Senator Josh Becker and Ali El Safy at a Bistro Vida BBQ held this spring to welcome Norris as new chief.