The 444 California Ave. cafe started serving food on Jan. 1, said owner Ryan Khalil. He opened the eclectic outdoor cafe two years ago, wanting to create an inclusive community space in his hometown.
Khalil grew up fascinated by all things food. His father and two uncles run the nearby Mediterranean Wraps, where from a young age he said he soaked up as much as he could about cooking and running a restaurant.
Much of the food he's now serving he developed over many years, like the marinade for a skirt steak in a taco, which he and his staff like to call the "100-year marinade" (it took five years to perfect). All of the corn tortillas are made to order inside a food truck now occupying a front section of the cafe. Backyard Brew serves beef, avocado and egg tacos and for kids, quesadillas and grilled cheese. The tacos range in price from $2.95 to $3.95.
Skirt steak, egg and avocado tacos on made-to-order tortillas from Backyard Brew in Palo Alto. Photo by Elena Kadvany.
The avocado toast ($8) is served on ciabatta, topped with avocado, tomato, onion, za'atar, a drizzle of olive oil and "secret sauce." For breakfast, there's also an egg burrito ($9), caramel apple Belgian waffle ($10) and Belgian waffle sticks ($6).
Khalil plans to continue to expand the food offerings, with dishes like shakshuka and goulash in the works.
Beyond giving Khalil a place to channel his passion for food, the new menu represents a step toward an ultimate goal of making Backyard Brew a self-sustaining concept that can pay its employees a living wage. That's why they started roasting and selling their own beans, launched an online shop and are planning to add a retail area at the cafe to sell coffee, tea, nuts and spice blends.
Backyard Brew is now serving tacos out of the above truck. Photo by Elena Kadvany.
Khalil said he "wants to be a solution" for people trying to make it in an increasingly unaffordable region — both customers and his staff.
The "Backyard Bistro" serves food from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and until 3 p.m. on Sunday.