Che Fico Parco Menlo now open in the Springline development
Che Fico Parco Menlo, an evolution of San Francisco’s Che Fico specifically created for the Peninsula, opens today at the Springline development in Menlo Park. Executive Chef David Nayfeld (pictured) take inspiration from the original while adding new creations to its menu of Italian fare with California influence.
Che Fico means “what a fig” in Italian literally, but the Italian slang meaning is “that’s cool.”
“I wanted to name the restaurant something fun — and nothing too precious,” Nayfeld explains.
The Menlo Park location is Springline’s anchor food tenant. Nayfeld credits the real estate and development team of Presidio Bay Ventures for doing a great job building community, an important component in the often daunting restaurant business.
According to the chef, the menu will evolve over the next few weeks. “I want to let the staff get their bearings,” he says. “And to have creative freedom. There’s good communication between staff and chefs.”
To begin, antipasti choices include an array of salads, cheese, meats, and crudo. Vongole en Crosta is inspired by a dish Nayfeld had on the Amalfi Coast. Clams are dressed with herbs and nduja butter, wrapped in pizza dough, and then baked in the oven. The dough is then cut tableside to reveal perfectly cooked clams with crusty pizza dough to soak up all the flavor.
There are a seven pastas on the opening menu along with eight pizzas, all larger than served at the original location. A variety of meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian dishes round out the menu along with dessert.
The wine list, created by Wine Director Jason Alexander, features 400 selections of Italian wine with the exception of one Champagne and a few producers in California using Italian varietals.
Che Fico Parco Menlo’s main dining room features warm wood-paneled walls, plush red leather booths, graphic terrazzo floors and a collection of Murano blown glass chandeliers. In addition to an expansive all-season outdoor space with fans for the warmer months and heaters when it’s cool, there are multiple private dining rooms which can seat up to 70 guests.
One thing Nayfeld wants people dining at Che Fico Parco Menlo to know about is the 10% dine-in charge added to every bill. “It’s to make sure we are paying a living wage and can offer profit sharing and 401K plans,” he explains. “It’s super important to us that staff can afford to live here and that they are given an opportunity to build a career.”
The restaurant is part of Back Home Hospitality overseen by Nayfeld and business partner Matt Brewer. Located at 1302 El Camino Real, Ste A, it is open for dinner from Tuesday to Sunday from 4:30 to 10:00 pm with lunch and brunch planned for the future. Reservations can be made online.
Photos by Eric Wolfinger