Jesse Cool

Flea Street Cafe owner Jesse Cool celebrated the restaurant’s 40th anniversary last night with her two sons. She’d planned to have a Zoom party, but out of respect for those affected by the wildfires, rescheduled the party for Friday, September 4 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. You can RSVP by email: [email protected]

To mark the occasion, Jesse emailed:

“It is not an easy time. The best I can do is fill a page with Gratitude.

“Thank You Bob Cool for, in 1980, talking me into opening a dinner house. It is true, I did not want to do it! Who would have ever imagined.

“Thank you each and every person who worked at Flea Street. It is you who made Flea Street what it is.

“Thank you my true local heroes: farmers, ranchers, fisheries, dairies, bakers, wineries…the true environmental and healthy food heroes who from the onset, provided the ingredient to cook clean, beautiful, safe delicious food.

“Thank you Len Robinson, you are the best landlord, true partner of the ups and downs .

“Thank you dear friends who listened, supported, ate and drank with me.

“Thank June and Eddie Ziff, my mom and dad, who are without any question the source of it all.

“Thank you my sons Joshua and Jonah for the tolerance and support…growing up in a restaurant teaches great lessons about love, fairness, family and community. Grandchildren, Masa and Miya, take what you too have learned and create a better world.

“THE BIGGEST THANK YOU is to our community, for filling the walls with conversations, memories and celebration!!!

“Love is Real Real is Love. With Gratitude, Jesse”


Initial Meals of Gratitude dinners delivered to Stanford hospital workers

Yesterday Meals of Gratitude, an effort started by Flea Street Cafe owner Jesse Cool and local resident Holly Tabor, delivered the first 75 meals to front line workers at Stanford hospital. Ingredients were purchased from local farmers, ranchers, and producers. Says Jesse: “Just so everyone knows, we are in the process, after our first trial week, […]

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An appreciation of Jesse Cool and Flea Street Cafe on its 39th anniversary

I’m a long time fan of Flea Street Cafe, which owner Jesse Cool has shepherded through good times and bad before celebrating its 39th anniversary yesterday. “I really don’t know how I did it,” is how she succinctly summed up the accomplishment. I first dined there in the early ’80s when visiting my Menlo Park […]

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Jesse Cool brings in a new partner with a familiar face at Flea Street Cafe

Jesse Cool has a new partner at Flea Street Cafe — and the face is very familiar. Michael Biesemeyer worked for long periods of time over the past decade at the Menlo Park restaurant. “I’ve been hoping to find a partner for a few years,” explained Jesse. “I made a few attempts with chefs, but that […]

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Oysterette is new dining option at Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series spotlighting the special features of local restaurants that may not be obvious or well-known. If you think one of your favorite Menlo Park restaurants qualifies, please email us at tips[a] While not an employment criteria, there does seem to be a trend for servers and chefs […]

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Flea St. Cafe is a Menlo Park fixture for 36 years

We stopped in at Flea St. Cafe last week, just a couple days after the restaurant celebrated its 36th anniversary. That’s one long run for a restaurant that, as founder/co-owner Jesse Cool writes, took root in “an unlikely neighborhood just outside of the city of Menlo Park, in the county of San Mateo, on an […]

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Jesse Cool and Mitchell Johnson share art, food and admiration for each other

Think of them as bookending the stretch of the Alameda in Menlo Park between Sharon and Walsh roads. One a restaurateur feeding the body. The other a painter feeding the soul. Jesse Cool, owner of Flea Street Cafe, and artist Mitchell Johnson are joined together in what has been a mutually beneficial partnership for about five years with the […]

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Things are peachy at Cool Café in Menlo Business Park

The Cool Café located on O’Brien Street in the Menlo Business Park is undoubtedly the most hidden of restauranteur and cookbook author Jesse Cool’s food “empire,” which includes the Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park and an additional Cool Café at the Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford campus. But it’s the place she’s chosen to turn all […]

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Gillian’s end of summer picks: Chilled soups made with Webb Ranch’s corn and Ace tomatoes

Editor’s note: Atherton resident Gillian Bostock is not only a talented, serious-amateur chef, she’s also an accomplished photographer. This is the last in her series of great summer recipes. This week I’ve chosen two chilled soups to highlight the Ace tomatoes and white corn grown at Webb Ranch in Portola Valley. Undoubtedly, the bountiful pile […]

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Family fun at Swing in the Park this Sunday (9/19)

Sunday’s Swing in the Park fundraiser for Holbrook-Palmer Park in Atherton appears to have it all – BBQ picnic courtesy of Jesse Cool, swinging music thank to the Unicorns, plus games and activities for children and adults. Add to that list a live and silent auction and raffle. All proceeds benefit the Park. The event […]

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Jesse Cool – Menlo Park’s food matriarch

Can it be true?  Jesse Cool’s Flea Street Cafe – founded on the principles of local and organic – has been around since 1981, a very long life in restaurant terms. “It’s fabulously busy,” Cool exclaimed on a recent Saturday night. “We’re very, very lucky.” The almost 30 years haven’t always been easy for the […]

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