News

John Bentley sells Woodside restaurant

It's a new era for Woodside's first firehouse. For the past 16 years, the little red building at 2992 Woodside Road has been home to John Bentley's popular restaurant. Wednesday, March 31, will be the restaurant's last day of business.

Taking over April 1 will be new proprietors Zu Tarazi and his wife, Kristy Borrone. The restaurant, to be known as Station One, will be closed for about a month for renovations.

Mr. Tarazi is a former manager of John Bentley's, Redwood City. "They will be a dynamite front of the house," said owner John Bentley of the young couple. Paul Shields, sous chef at John Bentley's, Redwood City, will become the new chef in Woodside.

And in another case of trading places, Santos de la Concha, who has been the chef in Woodside, is coming over to serve as Mr. Bentley's sous chef in Redwood City.

Mr. Bentley said it was never his intention to operate two restaurants within three miles of each other. At the time he opened John Bentley's in Redwood City in 2004, he planned to close the Woodside restaurant.

However, after listening to pleas of longtime Woodside customers to stay open, he decided he could keep both businesses running. Now, six years later, he admitted, "I can't be in two places at once."

In speaking with The Almanac, Mr. Bentley said he wanted to thank all his longtime patrons in Woodside for their loyalty and support in making his first venture as a restaurateur such a success. "I absolutely adore everybody in Woodside," he said.

Of the new owners, he said: "They have great plans. They are very passionate about working with local farmers and providing the best sustainable food."

The Almanac was unable to contact Mr. Tarazi and Ms. Borrone before press time.

Comments

Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Here's my John Bentley in Woodside story. My wife and I had been going to John's restaurant for a number of years. I was interested in learning more about cooking, which I love to do.

I volunteered as chef assistant in Draeger's cooking school for several years. (They bring in professional chefs from everywhere to conduct classes.) I met and helped John Bentley there several times when he conducted classes. I asked him if I could apprentice in his restaurant kitchen. (I was in my mid 70s at the time.) He agreed.

We arranged a schedule and, after about a year of learning from John and his fantastic kitchen chefs and staff, I would arrive at 3:00am, start the ovens, and set to work preparing a long list of menu items, such as desserts or entre specialties for the day, that would end up in the refrigerator until ordered. I threw out my mistakes and took great pride in my accomplishments.

What did I learn? John is an incredible, wonderful human being. He was a patient teacher and I was his enthusiastic student. That also holds true for other members of the kitchen crew who taught me how to cut meat, and many of the myriad skills and tricks that make a restaurant kitchen click. (Tommy, Eloi and Santos come to mind.)

But, I also learned about hard, tiring manual labor, concentration, endless "slicing and dicing," patience, and "situation awareness." (I also cut and burned myself quite a bit.)

I never became a chef. But, I am now a cook and I certainly appreciate the several years that John indulged me in my desire to learn about his craft.

I am eternally grateful for that opportunity and John Bentley's Woodside Restaurant will remain a permanent part of my life.


Posted by Ranch Gal, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 24, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Sad to see that wonderful restaurant with the romantic intimate setting closing. I remember when it was Nina's Cafe then Bentley took over. The ambience and food is amazing. Nothing like the sterile cold Redwood City one with rude staff. The staff at Woodside could not be more accommodating. Boo Hoo! We loved your Woodside location. Guess it's Chantilly's now or Village Pub for us, which is way too expensive but we'll never set foot in Redwood City location.


Posted by Trish, a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 24, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Maybe now John will serve his apple tart with homemade cherry ice cream at the Redwood City location! He's been reserving it for just the his loyal Woodside/PV customers of which I am happy to say that I am one. We will miss the Woodside staff and the gem of a restaurant right here in our own backyard. But we'll also look forward to seeing John in his shorts and apron at the Redwood City location.


Posted by Judy, a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2010 at 10:55 pm

We have been going to Woodside John Bentley's for many years and will continue to go to his marvelous restaurant in Redwood City. We think both restaurants are outstanding!!!


Posted by James Camier, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 25, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Bentley's in Woodside has been a staple for our family for many years now since we moved here from France. I agree with the person above though about his other location in Redwood City being cold and impersonal. A tall older female waitperson who has been there at the Redwood City location for several years has been personally frosty and rude to us on a few occasions and we stopped going to his Redwood City place in favor or Woodside. Now if we are to reacquaint ourselves with Redwood City we shall avoid her section of tables because nothing beats Bentley's hangar steak with mashed potatoes. I hope he brings the Pot de Creme with fleur de sal to Redwood City too! But a word to him: Replace your nasty Redwood City staff with the warm and friendly staff we ALWAYS encounter in Woodside. We have been treated with much love, respect and smiles at the Woodside location but most occasions at Redwood City were at best, quite cold and impersonal. Same owner, different staff types. Strange.


Posted by Patricia Arthur, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Mar 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Unfortunatly I agree with the comments about the Redwood City restuarant.We stopped going there ALSO and always loved the ambiance and European atmosphere of the Woodside Bentleys.I grew up in Woodside and can only hope the new restuarant can have great success but will miss Bentleys there.The Pub,I agree is too expensive and cold.The OLD PUB was the best.


Posted by Tim Yaeger, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Redwood City Bentley's is a greaqt atmosphere. They have AC, which makes those late summer dinners that much more enjoyable. Great upscale restaurant and always consistent food. One of the few places I will order fish on a restaurant menu. Can't wait to try out Station One. Zu is a great host and I hope this is a success.


Posted by Jan, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jul 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm

My husband and I LOVE John Bentleys in RC. It is our favorite neighorhood haunt!! We have always been treated very warmly, especially by Daniella who we always request. We miss Zu but were thrilled to hear that he and his wife are taking over John's Woodside location. We can't wait for the opening, and wish them tons of success. They are really a dyanamic duo.


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