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Tacos and avocado toast: Palo Alto's Backyard Brew adds food menu

Uploaded: Jan 23, 2019
Tacos, waffles and avocado toast with za'atar now on the menu at Backyard Brew in Palo Alto.

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.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Melody, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jan 23, 2019 at 2:19 pm

They make their tortillas fresh, the steak tacos are probably the best I've tasted in the area.

Posted by RK Factor, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Jan 23, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Yes , Khalil has interesting ideas and concepts. The ''RK''Factor. Only In Palo Alto.

Posted by Blah, a resident of Green Acres,
on Jan 25, 2019 at 1:22 pm

How quaint they have towed a broken down roach coach into the mess back there. Hopefully it doesn't set the whole place on fire.

Posted by Let them Eat Toast, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jan 25, 2019 at 3:20 pm

@Blah - Let the millennials eat their avocado toast in peace in their natural environment.

Posted by Be Carefull, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jan 25, 2019 at 4:11 pm

You'll end up attracting all the fun happy people while alienating the chronic whiners and complaining INCELs.

But seriously, I think it looks like a VERY cool place to grab a quick bite. I must be one of those mid 50's millennials! LOL :)

Posted by Cal Ave Neighbor, a resident of Mayfield,
on Jan 26, 2019 at 11:41 am

Cal Ave Neighbor is a registered user.

Sounds good! I'll walk down for lunch.

Anybody know what happened to Starbucks in Midtown. It's gone! Windows papered over, signage removed, For Lease signs up. Wonder if it had anything to do with the "NO STARBUCKS PARKING" signs that recently went up at the entrance of the parking lot?

Posted by Starbucks Closures, a resident of another community,
on Feb 13, 2019 at 11:26 pm

There are several Starbucks closures in the area. Midtown, Menlo Park on El Camino, Mountain View Miramonte. I guess the era where there is a Starbucks on every corner is ending.

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