Menlo Park is one step closer to getting a new Malaysian restaurant.
Plans to convert the former Menlo Hub location at 1029 El Camino Real into a Malaysian restaurant, called Topaz, were approved unanimously Feb. 8 by the Menlo Park Planning Commission, with commissioner Susan Goodhue absent.
Under the plans, the second floor would have a dining area without increasing the total floor area (5,378 square feet) of the building.
The architect's design shows the building's facade will be redone with stucco, accented with black tiles on the lower portion and cedar slat panels on the upper section. There will be a new door and exterior lighting fixtures, and heat lamps so that those waiting outside for a table can stay comfortable, said architect Chris Hall.
At the rear of the restaurant, a new door will be installed and windows will be replaced with a stucco wall.
Elena Kadvany reported on her Peninsula Foodist blog that the site was procured by Kay Tan last June. Ms. Tan owns a similar restaurant in Milpitas, called Banana Leaf, which has a large menu containing Malaysian, Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant may also serve alcohol, pending approval of a liquor license.
This story has been updated from a previous version.
A previous version of the restaurant's designs added 698 square feet to the floor area of the restaurant. In November, the project's architect, Chris Hall, asked the city to waive the requirement that more parking be provided if floor area is increased.
He argued that Topaz would have fewer seats than the location's predecessor and the new square footage would add kitchen space considered necessary for cooking Malaysian cuisine. Plus, he said, nearby restaurants, such as Applewood Pizza, Trellis, Mama Coco, and Chef Kwan's do not have private parking.
However, the city didn't budge. According to Jim Cogan, the city's economic development and housing manager, the parking rules in the city's downtown specific plan do not differentiate between dining room square footage and kitchen square footage.