Cafe Zoë will be changing ownership in mid-July

by Linda Hubbard on June 20, 2023

On the occasion of its 15th anniversary yesterday (June 19) Kathleen Daly and Zoë Sharkey announced a change in leadership at Cafe Zoë located in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park. Here is the announcement they sent out to long-time supporters of their much cherished neighborhood cafe:

“With overwhelming pride and a touch of bittersweet sentiment, we want to share the news of an ownership change at Cafe Zoë. Come mid-July 2023, Cafe Zoë will merge with Neighborhood Pizza Guy (NPG) under the leadership of Matt Burr.

“We wanted to find someone who would love this place as much as we do, who understood the importance of community-building, and who would bring it to new heights with fresh eyes. It is time for us to listen to our hearts and follow our other passions. We know we are both ready for new challenges. That being said, it was important to find someone who could sustain the culture and values we have cultivated in our shop. Matt is that person and this is the best case scenario.

“For 15 years as of June 2023, we have been hosting live music and fundraising events for local efforts, celebrating new life and those who have passed on, watching our young baristas blossom into even more beautiful people each year, and passing coffees over the counter every day. This place means everything to us. We often question who we will be without it. However, it’s not about the physical space, it’s the people. We love you; you are our family and we are forever grateful to the support you have shown us over the years.

“Just because we won’t be behind the counter, doesn’t mean we’ve stopped enjoying coffee and pizza or listening to great live music. We plan to continue to advocate for and support community events. We will still be around, maybe as guest baristas or just as patrons. One of the hardest parts about this change is not seeing our familiar faces every day like we have been so lucky to. We plan to be there to hangout and check in with you all.

“Our big ask is that you continue to help this small business be successful. Places like Cafe Zoë and NPG are rare in Silicon Valley. Every opportunity that you choose a small business, you make a positive impact on your neighborhood and the greater community. Please continue to do so.”

The Cafe — its people and events — has been featured at least four dozen times over the years on InMenlo. We can’t think of any other Menlo Park-based business that tops that, thanks to the Cafe’s community-building focus and the warmth and hospitality of Kathleen and Zoë — and their wonderful staff.

File photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2018 at the Cafe’s 10th anniversary celebration


Kristi Breisch June 20, 2023 at 11:49 am

Kathleen, thank you very much for serving the Menlo Park community in a variety of ways. I especially appreciated how you supported Project Read-Menlo Park in our fundraising. Before I left Menlo Park (2021), I introduced and met a lot of business associates, friends and family for lunches at Cafe Zoe’s. I also spent some time there by myself working on my projects. Cafe Zoe’s was my preferred place to go. Good luck with you and Zoe’s new journeys. Thank You!

Meredith Ozbil June 20, 2023 at 2:25 pm

Kathleen and Zoe! You both are so wonderful and I wish you the best on your next adventures!

Monica Chua June 20, 2023 at 2:43 pm

Cafe Zoe was a deciding factor for many of our neighbors in choosing this wonderful little community. From hosting the annual neighborhood block party, to gingerbread house contests, to town hall meetings with local government representatives, to trivia and board game sessions, to election viewing events, to live music, to supporting local artists, to clothing drives, to bread deliveries during the pandemic, to remembering our daily coffee order, to holding a tab so our little kids could pick up hot cocoa on their own, to…so much more, Cafe Zoe has been the heart that beats at the center of the Willows. This is such a bitter-sweet moment because Kathleen and Zoe have so much to be proud of and have amazing things ahead of them… but they will be missed dearly.

Rebecca Bloom June 20, 2023 at 5:04 pm

The very best humans! Just no way to express what Kathleen and Zoe have done for this community. We wouldn’t be us without them. I have been so proud to collaborate with them on supporting our veterans, local schools and more. Really. The. Very. Best. Humans.

Alice Newton June 20, 2023 at 6:08 pm

Kathleen and Zoe, I will miss seeing you, but am very glad the terrific NPG, Matt Burr, will carry on. Thank you for creating such a welcoming community environment where I’ve met with friends, enjoyed hearing local musicians, and gathered in small groups with political officials. Artwork by local artists on the walls and for sale was another example of community support. Cafe Zoe truly felt different – yes, a business with good food, but one with a specific and unique dedication to the community. Also, a relaxed and comfortable ambiance. Thank you for these for 15 years. I look forward to it continuing and wish the two of you all the best in your next endeavors.

Russ Hemphill June 23, 2023 at 4:30 am

Absolutely the best!
Discovered Cafe Zoe in 2016 while living in Campbell. Continued to visit over the years even after relocating several times.

Fond memories!

Steve Rasmussen June 23, 2023 at 3:58 pm

Kathleen & Zoe caffeinated the Willows community flawlessly in so many ways! Whether it was hot brew, hot music or hot local topics. My kids and I will remember Cafe Zoe in the years ahead as a model of small business excellence!

Lea Redmond June 24, 2023 at 2:17 pm

Kathleen and Zoe are truly special people. Thank you for all you have done for the community. And, thank you for the true kindness you share with so many. I’ll never forget the video you sent me of you and the Cafe Zoe patrons singing Happy Birthday to my dad on his last birthday before he passed away. What a gift. The smile on his face. You will be missed but I’m so excited for you to get to enjoy your additional passions.

Gil Eakins June 26, 2023 at 8:20 pm

Thank you for being the wonderful neighborhood meeting and eating place. The immediate neighborhood and the greater neighborhood!!
Let’s all get behind supporting Matt as he grows into ‘ very big shoes’.
– Gil

Edward (Ted) Syrett June 27, 2023 at 2:43 am

In “The Gambler”, Kenny Rogers sang:
“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”

Kathleen & Zoë have that knowledge. Kathleen knew, when she took over Cafe 1929 & renamed it for her daughter, she was taking a gamble. Every day’s an adventure for a small business owner.

I’m among the many local musicians whose gratitude to Kathleen & Zoë can’t be overstated. They don’t present performers; they give performers a chance to appreciate each other in a community of shared interest. Thanks for the memories!

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