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Palo Alto's Mayfield Bakery & Cafe permanently closes after 11-year run

Uploaded: Jul 28, 2020
The owners of Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto, unable to sustain the business due to the coronavirus shutdown, have closed the Town & Country Village restaurant for good.

"Like many restaurants throughout the area and across the country, the impact of the COVID-19 virus and the subsequent shelter-in-place orders have reduced revenues to an unsustainable level," Tim Stannard, founding partner of Bacchus Management Group, which owns Mayfield, said in a statement. "I would like to share a heartfelt thank you to all of our team members, as well as our loyal guests, for 11 wonderful years."


The shuttered Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto on Tuesday, July 28. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Signs announcing the closure appeared in the restaurant's windows this week. On Tuesday afternoon, Mayfield's dining room sat empty while a man filled a moving truck with carts of baking trays and other items from the next-door bakery.

Bacchus Management Group, which also owns The Village Pub and The Village Bakery in Woodside and Selby's in Redwood City, opened Mayfield in 2009. The restaurant was known for both its farm-to-table fare and the bakery's fresh-baked bread, pastries and desserts.

Mayfield temporarily closed after the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order took effect but soon became a pickup location for Bacchus Management's "family meals" program, ready-to-eat takeout meals whose proceeds went to support the restaurant group's employees. Mayfield later offered its own menu for takeout and delivery and reopened for outdoor dining in June.


A closure sign posted outside the bakery side of Mayfield. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Jim Ellis of Ellis Partners, which owns Town & Country, said Bacchus Management communicated to him that the cost of doing business in Palo Alto — including utility rates, minimum wage and labor requirements — compounded by the shutdown and ongoing lack of indoor dining made it impossible for the full-service restaurant to stay open. He said they were not currently paying rent on the 5,300-square-foot space and were in discussions to extend rent abatement.

"We were informed that that just wouldn't solve the problem for them. Not having to pay rent basically didn't close the gap enough for them to justify continuing the operation," Ellis said.

He described the closure as a "huge loss" for the shopping center.

"In this particular tenant's closure, it's a painful realization of the longer lasting impacts of COVID on retail," Ellis said.

Stannard said in late April that the path to recovery would be rocky for Mayfield in particular given the high cost of running a restaurant in Palo Alto.

"If the environment is a 50% reduction in capacity, it's difficult for me to see a pathway in a town like Palo Alto given all the other challenges that Palo Alto puts in the way of small businesses," he said at the time. "It's very difficult for me to see that restaurant coming back."

Ellis said Town & Country has provided rent "relief" to the majority of its tenants, including coming to dozens of rent abatement or deferral agreements. The shopping center also helped Town & Country Village restaurants build parklets "at our own cost," Ellis said, to expand their outdoor dining areas.


A new parklet outside Gott's Roadside at Town & Country Village, built in June, allows for socially distanced picnic tables. Photo by Elena Kadvany.

At least nine out of the center's 59 retailers — or about 15% — are vacant or have "for lease" signs hanging in the window, though some closed pre-pandemic, according to Traci Markel, Town & Country Village's marketing director.

Ellis said he hopes the space will be occupied by another restaurant and bakery but is "fearful" about how long it will take to find an operator willing and able to afford the prominent corner space with a large indoor dining room.

Ellis urged local residents to make a concerted effort to eat and shop local.

"To be completely honest, I think that the communities all over the Bay Area are really going to have to make a conscious effort to give their local businesses business," he said. "They need the community support and the customer support to survive this period."
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

 +   41 people like this
Posted by Will Miss The Bakery, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 28, 2020 at 6:21 pm

Will Miss The Bakery is a registered user.

Heartsick to hear that more people have lost their jobs and Palo Alto has lost such a fantastic bakery. This is the tip of the iceberg of business closures and so unnecessary with the curve flattened months ago. We will see an avalanche of closures soon. It's coming. Businesses can't hold out any longer. Our County Health Officer is hell bent on destroying this city, people's livelihoods, and kids educations with her myopic focus on preventing cases of the virus (a virus that we never expected to bring down to zero cases) instead of striking a reasonable balance with keeping people employed, with health insurance. The Governor, State Health Dept, SCC Public Health Dept, and Cody are CREATING a public health emergency on its own! The people who will lose the most have the most to lose, while the Public Health Dept workers remain comfortable with their salaries commanding unreasonable shut down policies during an Emergency that's not an Emergency in SCC (in Palo Alto). The covid unit at Stanford was empty so they're taking patients from other counties (and not breaking out in-county vs. out of county on the Dashboard like San Mateo County so it falsely makes it appear like our SCC hospitalizations are going up). Closures like Mayfield did not have to happen. The County Supervisors are enabling this disaster.


 +   81 people like this
Posted by Michael O., a resident of Stanford,
on Jul 28, 2020 at 7:17 pm

Hey, Will Miss The Bakery, it's the virus not the public health officers. Even with no rules the restaurants around here will not be full. Stop fooling yourself.


 +   18 people like this
Posted by Brian, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights,
on Jul 28, 2020 at 7:35 pm

Will Miss The Bakery: you are 100% spot-on on every point.

The consequences forthcoming are almost exclusively the result of the irrational, fearful, and panicked response our county, state, and federal governments have committed to. The “American" response to this virus will go down as one of the top 3 worst public policy decisions the US has ever made.

As for Mayfield: thanks for everything. I will sorely miss you folks and your food every Saturday. And sorry for what is unfortunately the unnecessary destruction of your business and the livelihoods and dreams it had previously supported.


 +   16 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 28, 2020 at 7:40 pm

Palo Alto is a registered user.

Actually, the story is that the rent was the main problem. That is what was told to the employees. Town and Country would not do enough to help with the rent.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Di-Ann, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 28, 2020 at 10:07 pm

Thank you for all the years of post-run brunch. Elies and I will miss you all so much. Best of luck in the future team Mayfield.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Mr.Cooper, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jul 28, 2020 at 10:20 pm

The landlords at T&C are horrible people [portion removed.] I feel bad for all the talented hard working restaurant workers everywhere! I do not feel bad for the greedy landlords that have made couple life times of profit off of hard working restaurant owners!


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Castilleja Parent, a resident of another community,
on Jul 28, 2020 at 10:55 pm

Will miss the bakery so much! This is an end of a great era of breakfasts and after school treats for our family. ???? Thanks for the memories Mayfield!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Castilleja Parent , a resident of another community,
on Jul 28, 2020 at 10:57 pm

My sad face emoji printed as four question marks above.


 +   15 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jul 29, 2020 at 6:55 am

Palo Alto is a registered user.

Also, I find Mr. Ellis's spin, a sign of the times that we live in. Painting a picture in order to change the public perception of what is really happening.

While doing business in Palo Alto is indeed expensive, his explanation that rent had nothing to do with Mayfield's decision to leave is completely false.

Town and Country has a very bad reputation as a landlord. I know numerous tenants personally that rent there.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Nancy W, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Jul 29, 2020 at 7:41 am

Thanks for the many many wonderful, delicious lunches and dinners, Mayfield's. You will be missed! The watermelon gazpacho Friday night was my new favorite.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Sad memories, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jul 29, 2020 at 8:43 am

Sad memories is a registered user.

I am sad about this closure. I have fond memories of visits to the bakery with my kids.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by cvvhrn, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 29, 2020 at 11:32 am

cvvhrn is a registered user.

This is a bummer the bakery was really good. The Cafe was okay but not that great.

Town and Country had better figure out its stuff because we have at least a year to get back to whatever our new normal is post COVID or even longer.

If they do not help the businesses they have there may not be people to rent all that space post COVID.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Tony B, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 29, 2020 at 11:35 am

As Mayfield Bakery & Cafe goes, so do other restaurants and small shops that disappear from Palo Alto, as greedy landlords fleece the pockets of the small business person. Palo Alto has become even more elitist and has changed dramatically, albeit not for the better, in the last forty years. The small business person is the backbone of this country and struggle mightily to make a livelihood for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, we won't see any change to this situation, as small business owners and restauranteurs will bypass Palo Alto altogether and open their enterprises in adjacent communities, or in more far-flung locales with lower overhead, that will value and support new, locally-owned businesses.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tony B, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 29, 2020 at 11:35 am

As Mayfield Bakery & Cafe goes, so do other restaurants and small shops that disappear from Palo Alto, as greedy landlords fleece the pockets of the small business person. Palo Alto has become even more elitist and has changed dramatically, albeit not for the better, in the last forty years. The small business person is the backbone of this country and struggle mightily to make a livelihood for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, we won't see any change to this situation, as small business owners and restauranteurs will bypass Palo Alto altogether and open their enterprises in adjacent communities, or in more far-flung locales with lower overhead, that will value and support new, locally-owned businesses.


 +   26 people like this
Posted by chris, a resident of University South,
on Jul 29, 2020 at 5:25 pm

chris is a registered user.

Will,

You are trying to mislead. It is not the County Health Officer causing the problem, it is the population, including you, that is not taking the virus seriously enough. In other developed countries they took the virus more seriously and have already contained it. Here we are in the middle of a surge that is far worse that what was experienced in April. Some here are trying to blame the Governor or local officials for their own shortcomings. What will it take to get people to wear masks, stay more than 6 feet apart, not meet in groups, and wash hands?


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jul 30, 2020 at 9:12 am

The developer that owns Town and Country Village wants the shopping center shops to fail. The landlords long range plan is to demolish the entire shopping center and build a high rise on the site. The landlord will argue to the City that the shopping center can't find new tenants. It is the perfect excuse to demolish the one and two story buildings on a prime piece of Palo Alto real estate. Tearing down Town and Country Village has always been the long range plan of the developer. This is the perfect storm to raze the shopping center.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by Adam W, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 31, 2020 at 4:39 pm

Mayfield Cafe had gone down significantly in quality over the last few years. The food was mediocre at best and the service was non-existent. It might have been the easy/trendy place to go for a while, but I had given up on the place years ago.

The bakery was decent, but the ridiculous living wage surcharge was laughable. I'm not convinced any of that actually goes to the employees. The higher this minimum wage goes, the more the restaurant industry will move towards automation. Fast casual dining will be first to go.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Rent is the problem.., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 17, 2020 at 11:30 am

Rent is the problem.. is a registered user.


Rent is the problem. Rent is the problem. Rent is the problem. Rent is the problem.


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