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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Palo Alto's Cafe Pro Bono reopens after fire

Uploaded: Apr 24, 2015
Two months after suffering a kitchen fire, longtime Palo Alto Italian restaurant Cafe Pro Bono is reopening for dinner tonight, April 24.

One afternoon in mid-February, owner Akif Aydin was called to his restaurant at 2437 Birch St. after a plate shattered inside the kitchen's broiler and caught on fire. Employees tried to fan the fire with a towel, which had the effect, of course, of making it even bigger. Aydin said it took three or four fire extinguishers to put out the fire, though employees did so before the fire department arrived. (This all happened during the lunch hour, with customers in the restaurant.)

The damage was significant enough that pretty much everything, from electrical to plumbing, had to be redone.

"We did everything from zero," Aydin said.

A small silver lining was that Aydin, the third owner of Cafe Pro Bono, had been planning a compete kitchen remodel for this August, so he fortunately already had plans drawn up and approved, he said. With some slight revisions, work started and finished within a short two months.

Aydin said it was painful to have to call and cancel the many events people had booked Café Pro Bono's private room for at over the last several months.

Many California Avenue restaurants were incredibly supportive, Aydin said, helping with taking some of the restaurant's existing reservations and also providing lunch to workers during the remodel.

Cafe Pro Bono will be open for regular dinner hours starting Friday, April 24, from 5 to 10 p.m., and will return to regular lunch hours (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) on Monday, April 27. It will be business as usual, just done in a shiny new kitchen.

Prep for Pro Bono's return by reading this review from 2006.

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 +   21 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Apr 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm

So glad I could be the first to comment. My wife, Garnet, and I dined there on several anniversaries, always memorable. She died last June. I miss her, but I will dine there alone or with someone else again. The lucky lady is yet not found and remains unnamed. But I have some candidates in mind and I'm getting close.

 +   19 people like this
Posted by Glad to hear, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Apr 25, 2015 at 10:08 pm

What a tasteless comment. This article is about a restaurant, not about you.

Glad to hear that the restaurant will be back in operation.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Midtown Mama, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 27, 2015 at 12:15 pm

I agree. What a tasteless comment!

 +   17 people like this
Posted by MP observer, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Apr 27, 2015 at 1:17 pm

@glad to hear and @midtown mama
Geez lighten up! Mr. Johnson, good luck w your search. You sound like a nice guy

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Glad to hear, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Apr 27, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Not so sure a person who is so egocentric is a "nice guy." That he thinks she will be a "lucky lady" when he finds her is a really bad omen.
Being associated with a man who thinks he is the center of the world is no picnic. She has to always put herself last. And she has to praise him all the time regardless of merit. And listen to his self praise, as above. Yuk.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace,
on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Such welcome news! I have purposefully gone by several times, trying to gauge when this little gem would reopen. I will return soon for some "Downfall"! I fully understand why someone would choose this café for a special occasion. The food is good and everyone who works there is friendly and nice.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford,
on Apr 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Wonderful news!

Cafe Pro Bono and Spalti are both gems in that area.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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