Woodside Bakery & Cafe to rekindle its restaurant in Menlo Park


Regular patrons of the old Woodside Bakery & Cafe – a popular Woodside community spot that was forced to closed its doors in March 2015 – may experience deja vu after scanning the menu of an enterprise of the same name set to open in November or December at the Sharon Heights Shopping Center in Menlo Park.

It will be the old menu, but in a new place, said owners and Woodside residents Mark and Jan Sweyer, who are siblings.

"If we open with our original menu, wouldn't that be wonderful? And everybody can just come back home," Jan Sweyer said. "That feels good to say that," she added.

They are about to convert the bakery they bought and renamed in September 2016 into a bakery and cafe that would include indoor restaurant seating for 70, seating outside for 30 and a full-service bar – not something the old place had.

"It's really important to have the bar here," Jan Sweyer said. "Everyone wants one. We've gotten a lot of feedback." A notable bartender has been lined up, she said, but she wouldn't divulge his name. "He is a very well-known bartender in this area," she said.

If things go as planned, they said, they expect to have building permits in hand in September. "I'd love to open in another month (but) it's going to take us another five or six months," Mark Sweyer said.

The focus on comfort food will continue, including fresh focaccia and pizza. While the focaccia won't be coming to the table warm from a wood-fired oven as in the past, it will be warm from a pizza oven, Jan Sweyer said.

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, and breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends, she said. The bakery will be open until 6 p.m. every day except Sundays, when it will close at 3 p.m.

Restaurant prices should be in the same ballpark as before, Mark Sweyer said, "between (the Woodside restaurants) The Village Pub and Buck's."

Familiar faces

More feelings of recognition could be in store for former patrons. Many employees from the old place – including the sous chef and the man who made the salads – told her they would come back to work, Jan Sweyer said.

"Most of our crew has said, 'Call me when you're ready to open. We're coming back,'" she said. But people always say that, she added. When the time comes for them show up, "then you see," she said.

If the kitchen staff does come back, their presence may not be readily apparent. The cooking will be done behind closed doors rather than as it had been done: in an open kitchen in full view of anyone sitting at the counter. "Unfortunately, there isn't any room here" for that kind of set up, Jan Sweyer said. "What are you going to do? You only can fit so much."

Tablecloths were not a feature of the old place and won't be in the new place, nor will surfaces have granite tops, Mark Sweyer said. "I'm going to keep it casual," he said.

Woodside architect A. Stevan Patrick is designing the interior, he said, adding that he did his own drawings and asked his architect to "tweak" them. Patrick is experienced, having designed the interiors of the restaurants Town in San Carlos, Milagros in Redwood City and Nola in Palo Alto, Mark Sweyer said, adding, "He's very restaurant savvy."

The Sweyer siblings had been talking about the cafe/bakery combination since the old place closed three years ago. What changed? Their spirits revived over the last six months, Mark Sweyer said.

"It's taken us a while to get out of the dumps," Jan Sweyer said. "I'm actually kind of excited."

The Sharon Heights Shopping Center is at 325 Sharon Heights Drive.


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23 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2018 at 11:25 am

Now if we could only get the Velvet Turtle back too.

11 people like this
Posted by Wonderful!
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Wonderful! is a registered user.

This is great news!

Like this comment
Posted by kosinski
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

kosinski is a registered user.

The article says they expect to have permits in September and that building will take “five or six months”. But it also says to expect it to open in November or December. That doesn’t add up.

8 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Great news!! I miss the spinach & mushroom soup & great salads Hurrah for the rebirth!!
The replacement restaurant in Woodside is nothing compared to the original Bakery.

Like this comment
Posted by kim2381
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 12, 2018 at 1:41 pm

kim2381 is a registered user.

Great news! I am just so curious where all this is going to fit? A bar, seating for 70 inside, and 30 outside? With the Safeway next door and the shopping carts going by? Not much space there as it is for just a few tables!! Hope they have it figured out as I do miss going to the Woodside Bakery!! And maybe Joan Baez will come here like she used to do at the Woodside location !! :-) If anyone knows the plans, please leave a comment, thanks

7 people like this
Posted by Will
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 12, 2018 at 1:49 pm

Great news ! I'm not too fond of the new Woodside bakery , love the old one. Thanks Mark and best of luck.

2 people like this
Posted by Susan Bird
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2018 at 2:56 pm

This is wonderful!!

2 people like this
Posted by Luv those books
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 12, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Best news I have heard !
So happy this is finally going to happen:)

Like this comment
Posted by charles reilly
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2018 at 7:41 pm

A great bakery; too bad we lost it. Sharon Heights will be a tough venue; there's no foot traffic, it's mostly a destination for Safeway and CVS shoppers. Todays' restaurants gravitate toward downtown areas where office workers and couples are looking for a good meal. Yes, Flemings at Stanford does well with those who wish to pay $10 for baked potato ...

3 people like this
Posted by Luv those books
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 12, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Safeway has done everything they can to lose customers.
The owner os this shopping center would behoove themselves to do something on a positive note . They should do EVERYTHING possible to get Woodside Bakery back into a lucrative spot . I have had numerous discussions with Safeway and they just continually shoot themselves in the foot. Management just seems unable to get a grasp on this store. Hopefully the bakery can come back and do well n this location. I hope this community will support them!

5 people like this
Posted by Supporter of local business
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2018 at 11:32 pm

It was a sad day when Martha's Pastries closed shop, because I remember when it opened at almost the same time I moved into the Sharon Heights neighborhood. Martha was my go to baker. But, it was a happy day to learn that the Woodside Bakery had a new home. The Sharon Heights neighborhood needs a new dining venue that offers affordable, delicious food and friendly service. The Woodside location had many loyal patrons and I think they will follow the Sweyers to this new version. And I know the restaurant design will be extraordinary if Stevan Patrick is involved! Bravo and best wishes!

3 people like this
Posted by Another Rez
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 13, 2018 at 11:05 am

Yippee! It hasn't been the same without you (and the new place doesn't hold a candle to yours - I ate there once and never went back. And no worries about "foot traffic" - we'll all be eating at the real Bakery again in droves. In fact Mark and Jan, let's have your old softball team reunion there! Can't wait!

4 people like this
Posted by DJ
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Was super hopeful for the new bakery/restaurant in Woodside and super disappointed in what we got. Way too froofy and a generally below average, over priced product. The old bakery was so much better. Very happy to get that option back, but wish it was in Woodside!

2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2018 at 12:44 pm

As a valley dweller, we're thrilled to read this. It's much faster to get to SH, it's convenient as we can run other errands, and we already know it's a great place. Hopefully they'll attract business from SLAC and surrounding businesses, too.

2 people like this
Posted by YES YES YES!!!
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Jul 16, 2018 at 1:52 pm

The new place was so sad I had to quit even looking at it when I drove by. We did try the new place...twice but never again. Restauranta non grata(haha)

This is excellent news about the original!!!

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