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Ethel’s Fancy opening in Palo Alto over Labor Day weekend

Uploaded: Aug 31, 2022
By Julia Brown

Following a soft opening as “Ethel’s Wine Bar” during the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts this past weekend, Ethel’s Fancy has announced that it is fully opening this Saturday, Sept. 3, with reservations expected to go live today on OpenTable. (The first week’s reservations will be offered to people on the restaurant’s email list.)

Chef and owner Scott Nishiyama’s career has included stops at fine-dining establishments including The French Laundry and Chez TJ. Ethel’s Fancy, however, will be a more casual dining experience, Nishiyama told the Peninsula Foodist in a July interview.

“I’m a little hesitant to tell everyone about the places I’ve worked … At this point in my career, I don’t care for that kind of experience anymore. I tend to want to do something more fun and casual,” he said.


Crispy pork belly, burrata, grilled peas, miso caramel. (Photo courtesy Ethel’s Fancy)

While the menu is expected to change frequently, a sample dinner menu includes dishes like crispy pork belly with burrata, grilled peas and miso caramel; a slab of pork ribs with summer crudite and Japanese curry; and desserts including Chinese almond cookie soft serve with pineapple cherry jubilee.

Ethel’s Fancy opens in the downtown Palo Alto spot last occupied by The Prolific Oven. It honors Nishiyama’s mother and grandmother, both named Ethel.

Planning for Ethel’s Fancy began back in 2017, and construction was set to begin in March 2020 before the pandemic nearly tabled plans for the restaurant. It was slated to open in late July before inspections pushed the opening date back.

Ethel’s Fancy, 550 Waverley St., Palo Alto; 650-561-4860. Instagram: @ethelsfancy.
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