By Elena Kadvany
Turn Bar & Grill, coming soon to Los AltosUploaded: Jun 1, 2015
Two lifelong Los Altos residents, one who has long dreamed of opening his own restaurant, are behind Turn Bar & Grill, a casual, modern American restaurant opening in downtown Los Altos this month.
Jim and Julie Otis were both born and raised in Los Altos. Later in life, when they first met, Jim was working as a bartender at The Crow's Nest Restaurant in Santa Cruz. But his family business was elsewhere (publishing), so working in the restaurant world took a backseat.
Now, with their children grown and out of the house, the couple is finally pursuing Jim's dream. They snagged the large corner space at 295 Main St. (the former home of AG Ferrari Italian Foods) in October and found numerous investors to back the project, including the president and CEO of Intero Real Estate, Gino Blefari (who is also a Los Altos resident).
The restaurant is named for the couple's personal turn, or change in direction, but also for diners.
"This is definitely a change in the direction of his career," Julie said of her husband. "But for our customers it means it's an opportunity to switch gears and relax from a hectic day, meet with friends and have fun."
Julie said the concept behind Turn is "taking modern classics and reinventing them." There is, of course, an emphasis on farm to table, and all produce, meat, seafood and cheeses are locally sourced. Menu items will look like Alaskan halibut with roasted corn, tomato and roasted pepper puree; grilled Angus t-bone steak with an egg on top and sautéed spinach; braised short ribs, a Niman Ranch beef burger and a modern wedge salad.
Turn will also have a full bar. Juices for cocktails will all be made in house, Julie said. Enjoy Turn's "spa water" (gin, lemon and lime) or a sparkling white peach martini outside along Main Street, where there will be patio seating.
And most notably, perhaps, for Los Altos diners, the restaurant will stay open until 11 p.m., Monday through Sunday.
"We've heard a big complaint that after 9 o' clock nobody serves dinner. Where do you go? We're going to hopefully wake up the sleepy town," Julie said.
Turn's executive chef is Tom Lucero, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy with 30-plus years of experience at restaurants like McCormick & Schmicks, The Cheesecake Factory, YardHouse, Ruby Restaurant group and Black Angus Steakhouse in Los Altos.
Julie said they're aiming to open the week of June 15, with a soft opening the week before. They'll start with dinner and then add lunch, as well as weekend brunch.