The eggs Benedict from Sweet Maple in downtown Palo Alto. Photo courtesy Sweet Maple.
Walk down University Avenue and you might see a crowd forming in front of Palo Alto's newest brunch spot, Sweet Maple. The restaurant's original location opened in San Francisco in 2010, and images of their signature dishes still spread throughout social media. They hold a trademark on their most recognizable menu item: thick slabs of Millionaire's Bacon seasoned with brown sugar and cayenne.
Owner Steven Choi's restaurant group, which is best known for Asian-influenced brunch, is in the midst of expanding throughout the Bay Area from its roots in San Francisco, including upcoming locations in Cupertino and Mountain View. He even has a vision of opening locations across the country. Choi says that he picked University Avenue for this second location of Sweet Maple because he's always looking for "the most premium locations."
Just like the restaurant's location, Sweet Maple's menu items also attract attention. Matcha moffles (chewy mochi waffles) are covered in green tea-flavored "lava" that spills across the plate. "Big Hip" deep-fried French toast is stacked with plenty of fresh fruit and powdered sugar.
While many diners visit Sweet Maple for these creative dishes, Choi explains that his primary goal is to create a neighborhood restaurant that patrons can visit multiple times a week. "Maybe because of the decorations, because we care about the plating and presentation, people might think (our food) is trendy, but that's not what we're after," Choi says.
Alongside their Instagrammable creations, Sweet Maple serves breakfast classics like scrambles, eggs Benedict, and sandwiches. Choi hopes Bay Area residents can all find something familiar at his restaurants, and he credits his diverse staff for creating menu items that reflect many different cultures. Sweet Maple Palo Alto's head chef, Nick Yoon, has worked in kitchens preparing European, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisines. Thanks to staff members like Yoon, Sweet Maple's offerings include fried rice made with the iconic Korean instant ramen Shin Ramyun alongside a version of huevos rancheros that stacks chicken breast on top of a poached egg, roasted salsa, and corn tortillas.
Sweet Maple is now open for breakfast and brunch and hopes to start serving dinner next month.
Sweet Maple, 150 University Ave., Palo Alto, 650-521-0764; Instagram:@sweetmaplesf. Check their website for the latest operating hours.