Cafe Zoe could be next to serve beer, wine


After about seven and a half years of business in Menlo Park, Cafe Zoe, located at 1929 Menalto Ave., is ready for its next step: The owner, Kathleen Daly, has applied for a permit to serve beer and wine and extend the cafe's evening hours. On Monday, April 18, the permit application will be considered by the Planning Commission.

According to the application, Cafe Zoe wouldn't be a bar in a traditional sense. It would close at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Ms. Daly said, and could use the expanded evening hours to host events like book clubs, poetry readings, acoustic and amplified music or fundraisers.

Staff there who serve alcohol would be over the age of 21 and would have to pass a safety certification test called "Servsafe." The cafe would also have an account with a local cab, Uber or Lyft driver.

"Local customers wish for a place to enjoy a glass of wine or beer with friends or neighbors in the area, as the cafe is in their walking distance," Ms. Daly wrote in the permit application, explaining that customers for years have asked her about the possibility of serving beer and wine. In the application, she also said the cafe will stay child-friendly during its evening hours.

The move has already garnered widespread local support, with 21 emails of support and a petition of support containing about 127 signatures.

Many of the emails of support came from residents who live near the cafe, located in the Willows neighborhood. Carol Cruikshank, who supports the project and lives within walking distance of the cafe, said, "I have often thought that it would be a wonderful place to go for a glass of wine in the evening, a place where I could find other locals without having to drive and find parking places."

Willows resident Rebecca Bloom said in an email that she thinks the extended hours and beer and wine service will bring "even more of our community together." Steve Schmidt said via email that the business has been a "magnet for social interaction in the Willows" and that he thinks the cafe will continue to have a "positive influence" in the neighborhood, even with later hours.

The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 18, at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St. to decide whether to approve the application. They must find that it will not "be detrimental to the health, safety, morals, comfort and general welfare" of the people who live or work in the neighborhood, neighborhood property, and the city's "general welfare." City staff recommend that the permit be approved.

Read the commission's agenda or watch the meeting online for more information.

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