Woodside Bakery & Cafe to rekindle its restaurant in Menlo Park | July 11, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - July 11, 2018

Woodside Bakery & Cafe to rekindle its restaurant in Menlo Park

by Dave Boyce

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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