Readers' Choice winners: On the road to recovery | July 23, 2021 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

Almanac

Cover Story - July 23, 2021

Readers' Choice winners: On the road to recovery

Following a year of uncertainty, hope is finally on the horizon as businesses reopen and slowly inch closer to pre-pandemic normalcy. To show appreciation for the local business community, readers once again cast votes for their favorite places to eat, shop, workout or spend time with family and friends for the Almanac's annual Readers' Choice edition after a hiatus in 2020.

The Almanac recently surveyed this year's Readers' Choice winners to see how they are doing in 2021 since California officially reopened on June 15, signaling a small but significant shift toward recovery. Read on to see what they had to say.

What should guests and the broader community keep in mind as they're visiting local businesses more and more?

"Be patient. Even though we all want things to be normal and we can start acting like they are, it's a new normal and there are still supply chain issues. It'll take awhile for local businesses to recover everything that the public doesn't see."

"Supporting local businesses is vital to their survival. Some may have weathered the pandemic, but the financial losses are still affecting so many, and they need the community's support to survive. Kindness and respect for the people who are tirelessly working to run small businesses is also something everyone should be conscious of."

"Just because businesses have reopened, it doesn't necessarily mean they have picked up exactly where they left off. We continue to face challenges and appreciate your patience and support as many of us are in the process of rebuilding our businesses."

"Transition is tricky. We are all adjusting."

"Behind every small business, there is a family that is going above and beyond, often working seven days a week in order to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all its patrons."

"Be patient with the restaurant industry, we're still not firing on all cylinders. Even though our doors are open, we still face a myriad of challenges from food cost increases, labor shortages, paying down credit lines, training new staff and more."

"The people in service to care for you are trying very hard. Most worked while others sheltered. Acknowledge them."

Are there moments this year that inspired you throughout this particularly difficult time?

"The respect, hard work and deep care of our staff who showed up to work everyday and masked and double masked for eight- hour shifts over hot stoves to prepare food for others ... was deeply moving. "

"Knowing that by providing non-contact delivery of our food, we were helping to protect vulnerable people in our community."

"What inspired us most was the outpouring of support we received from our clients. The kind words and donations really lifted our spirits and gave us hope during periods of uncertainty."

"Watching the restaurant industry innovate to ensure the safety of employees and patrons was fascinating. We saw things like outdoor seating, new point-of-service systems to accommodate touchless payment, curbside pickup and delivery orders, digital gift cards, plastic barriers, evolving masks and other innovations."

"Our trainers were absolutely incredible in pivoting with us during the entire year. We couldn't have survived without their positive spirit and work ethic. We are also eternally grateful to the landlords of Marsh Manor Plaza who were accommodating to our outdoor setup all while extending rent reduction during the most difficult months. When fire season hit, we were left many times having to cancel our outdoor workouts due to the poor air quality. During the toughest of days, we were fueled by the fact that many of our members and staff believed in us."

"Clients who kept wishing us well, reassured us that they are waiting for our return to business and reminded us of the importance of our service and the community we have created."

"Our community rallied around us. We are so grateful. Some customers bought shoes for the next three years. The owner's childhood friend purchased shoes as Christmas gifts for his entire staff. Our employees rolled with changing regulations. We feared we were going to have to close and we were lifted up by so many — we can't say enough in gratitude."

"We had a family approach us about planting a succulent garden in front of our store. Since people could only look through our front window, this family thought the plant bed could use some sprucing up. They asked for donated cuttings and some extra hands from their neighbors and came one morning and completely transformed the plant bed into a beautiful garden. We were incredibly touched by their thoughtfulness and generosity."

Has the pandemic sparked any kind of innovation at your business that will remain in the future?

"As a result of the pandemic, we had the opportunity to build a beautiful outdoor dining room that we may not have invested in previously. The outdoor dining has sparked a bit of a revival in downtown Menlo Park that our customers are really enjoying. The addition of live music several nights a week and a beer garden wasn't our original vision, but it's wonderful to be able to think outside the box. The community has been very receptive to all of our new additions, and we hope to do even more in the future."

"We are now offering home pick-up and delivery, bundle drop-offs during off hours and are making continuous upgrades to our website (laderacleaners.net)."

"Before the pandemic, less than 5% of our sales were online. During the lockdown, we added products to our website and promoted same-day local deliveries. Even though our store is now fully open, our web sales to local customers have become a larger part of our business."

"We developed group workouts specific to higher-risk clients (60+) where they worked out with people who were in their 'bubble.' We also developed a cleaning routine where all members participate in helping maintain equipment and studio extra clean. That is something we will carry with us going forward. "

"We offered consultations and shoe fittings over Zoom and we will continue to offer this for customers who for whatever reason can't come into the store during business hours. We also started delivering locally with our Fleet Feet camper van, and that will continue, too."

"We're now offering curbside service, delivery and touchless payment."

"We fixed a very dysfunctional and unequal pay disparity of the restaurant business: We now share evenly among every hourly employee the "gratitude" ( aka, service charge) added in lieu of tipping to each meal. Prior to COVID-19, the kitchen and service staff were not rewarded with tips left by guests. Now they are. We call the new program Heart of House. It has created fairness, justice and mutual respect among the team."

"Our team's work during the pandemic sparked many innovations that have already been tested and supported by our community, and we hope to keep many of them going. These include: an open-air bookstore in our outdoor plaza (subject to ongoing landlord approval); investing in our website, web sales and marketing; high-quality virtual events; Community Reads program; membership program; partnership with Menlo Park library; and decision-making processes that prioritize staff inclusion and participation. Our team has learned many new skills and developed new competencies, and we hope to continue leveraging these in the future."

What was the biggest challenge you faced during the pandemic?

"Our biggest challenge was maintaining staffing during extended periods of closure. Unlike other businesses that could operate on a limited basis, we had to completely shut down, which was very hard on our staff."

"Having to reinvent ourselves and pivot our business model to takeout only was a huge challenge. Our goal was to retain every employee who wanted to stay with us employed throughout the pandemic, so we shifted their roles and tried to keep everyone afloat. Even with economic assistance from PPP loans and grants, our sales suffered tremendously, and we would have faced even greater challenges without assistance from our landlord and the generous support of our customers and community who made countless donations."

"Not knowing when we could get back to serving our clients again. In addition, opening and then being required to close again multiple times due to ever-changing COVID-19 regulations."

"Lack of business."

"Balancing the emotions of watching a business that you have grown for almost two decades evaporate while remaining level-headed enough to pivot your business model was a huge challenge. Our main goal was to keep our full-time employees so they could continue to have both a paycheck and their health insurance."

"Keeping our employees working ."

"There were so many: saving staff, putting our food into packing that traveled well, figuring out how to show appreciation from afar and how to keep us all safe as we were front-line workers in many ways. ... But mostly, the daily unknown "

"When Harvest closed during the lockdown, we really missed our community! There is nothing that can replace the daily face-to-face interaction with customers and co-workers."

"Because people were staying home looking at their walls, there was an increase in demand for our business at the same time that our supply chain was severely impacted by COVID-19, which pushed us to be more resourceful than we had been before."

"Because of the pandemic, you don't know who your clientele is anymore. You don't know who's coming back. We've also received a lot of new customers who were looking for a new barber. ... It's like this huge reshuffling of clientele that's occurred."

How has 2021 been so far compared to 2020?

The bicycle industry saw a worldwide spike in demand in 2020 that has been sustained into 2021 creating huge supply chain issues. Demand is still high and supply is still low, and it is forecasted to stay this way until the end of 2022. The challenge today is getting bikes and parts. The other challenge is to re-open the shop in such a way that we all stay healthy."

"In 2021, we're no longer gripped by fear. We're starting to figure out how to live with this, and it's encouraging to see the world starting up again."

"Business is improving, albeit it is slow."

"Better but still full of challenges and stress."

"Sales are up 100% this year. ... We were closed for roughly nine months in 2020."

"Full of silver linings. We kept 14 of our 26 staff employed. We ended 2020 having sent 29,000 meals through Meal of Gratitude to health care workers and fire evacuees. Our new Heart of House program has created a truly wonderful work environment that will continue forever. We have learned how to pivot, be inventive and feel humbling gratitude for each other and our community who saved us and helped us survive."

"This year feels like an exhale of breath, whereas 2020 felt like we were holding our breath. Hope has replaced fear, and the future looks bright. It feels great to see members who hadn't been to the studio in over a year."

"This year has been much better as more services are allowed and more clients feel confident at coming out after being vaccinated. Both employees and clients are feeling hopeful again, planning fun activities and starting to care about looking their best again."

WINNERS' LIST

Arts & Entertainment

Live Music

Pioneer Saloon

The history of Pioneer Saloon is as lustrous as its wooden decor and nostalgic "Wild West" ambiance. In operation since 1880, the landmark saloon has become a local destination for its Live Music Sundays. Even when live music was canceled during the shutdown, patrons organized monthly socially distanced gatherings to support the saloon until it could reopen. The saloon is open for indoor and outdoor service. Check its website for the latest information on Live Music Sundays.

2925 Woodside Road, Woodside, 650-851-8487; pioneersaloon.com

Place for a Date

Flea Street Cafe

Jesse Cool's Flea Street Cafe is well known for its sustainable farm-to-table menu that includes fresh, in-season, organic and local ingredients, as well as for its commitment to giving back to the local community. During the pandemic, the Menlo Park restaurant provided about 1,000 weekly meals for dozens of front-line workers through its Meals of Gratitude program. The restaurant now offers its high-end dishes to go and is open for outdoor dining on its covered, heated deck.

3607 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, 650-854-1226; cooleatz.com

Place to Meet People

Cafe Borrone

For decades, Cafe Borrone has been a beloved neighborhood destination, so when it was forced to close its doors due to hardships created by the pandemic in 2020, more than 700 patrons rallied together to raise $110,000 to reopen the downtown landmark. The cafe, known for its prepared-from-scratch food, is now open and serving food and drinks indoors and in its outdoor plaza next to the fountain. The cafe now offers online ordering for pickup.

1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-327-0830; cafeborrone.com

Food & Drink

Bakery

Woodside Bakery

Woodside Bakery offers pastries, cakes, cookies and other baked goods that have kept customers coming back for more than 35 years. The family-owned European bakery makes its baked goods from scratch every day — from delightfully buttery croissants and fresh fruit tarts to mile-high old-fashioned apple pies.

325 Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park, 650-854-6207; woodsidebakery.com

Breakfast

Stacks

Nothing beats the homemade pancakes at Stacks. Known for serving classic American comfort food, Stacks uses farm-fresh eggs, real butter, heavy cream and other high-quality ingredients. Its large selection of dishes, generous portions and family-friendly atmosphere have made Stacks a local favorite. Stacks is open for dine in, takeout and delivery.

600 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-838-0066; stacksrestaurant.com

Dessert

Draeger's

The bakery at Draeger's Market has been a part of the Menlo Park community for 64 years, offering a variety of breads and sweets baked from scratch from favorites like German chocolate cake, vanilla coconut cake and s'mores cheesecake to wedding cakes. The bakery is open for service with new health practices. Groceries also can be picked up on-site or purchased through third-party delivery services.

1010 University Drive, Menlo Park, 650-324-7700; draegers. com

Hamburgers

Happy Hour

Dutch Goose

Since opening in 1966, Dutch Goose has been the go-to place for Certified Angus Beef burgers, brews and pizza in a family-friendly atmosphere, where the staff "call you by name and not a number or a text." Dutch Goose is open for delivery, takeout and outdoor seating.

3567 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, 650-854-3245; dutchgoose.net

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt

Cold Stone Creamery

For more than 30 years, Menlo Park's Cold Stone Creamery has served handcrafted ice cream made with the finest ingredients and mixed with a variety of sweet toppings. Along with the shop's signature method of preparing ice cream on a frozen granite stone, it also prepares cakes, smoothies, frappes and shakes for customers looking for a cold, sweet treat. Cold Stone offers delivery and takeout services.

611 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-325-4500; coldstonecreamery.com/stores/21026

Independent Coffee & Tea House

Cafe Borrone

See Place to Meet People, under Arts & Entertainment

Pizza

Amici's

Amici's has been serving up pizza — along with pasta, soup and salad — to Menlo Park patrons for the past decade. The thin-crust New York style pies are cooked in traditional brick ovens next to an open flame. Diners can now eat indoors, outdoors or order food for pickup or delivery.

880 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-329-8888; amicis. com

Place to Buy Meat

Sandwiches

Bianchini's Market

Since 1998, shoppers have counted on Bianchini's Market for fresh local produce, gourmet cheeses and groceries from small producers whose items aren't found at chain stores. Readers praise the family-owned market for its meat counter and deli sandwiches, which can be ordered via text and are ready for pickup on arrival. The market also offers delivery in as little as one hour.

3130 Alpine Road, Portola Valley, 650-851-4391; bianchinismarket.com

Chef Kwan's

Takeout

Located in the former Su Hong to-go space, Chef Kwan's offers a full menu of traditional dishes and lunch plates made to order. The restaurant is open for takeout seven days a week.

630 Menlo Ave., Menlo Park, 650-322-4631; chefkwans.com

Restaurants

American

Rossotti's Alpine Inn

With its beer garden, wood-fired pizza, ribs and garlic fries and a history that stretches back to 1852, it's no wonder why Rossotti's Alpine Inn is a go-to destination. Rossotti's is the second oldest continually operating tavern in the state. The historic property most recently changed hands and names in 2019 when three Portola Valley families decided to refurbish and restore the old beloved Alpine Inn tavern. Rossotti's is open for indoor and outdoor dining and takeout.

3915 Alpine Road, Portola Valley, 650-854-4004; alpineinnpv.com.

Asian

Chef Chu's

Since opening in 1970, Chef Chu's specialty dishes, including its homemade potstickers and Beijing duck cooked in a cast-iron Chinese oven, have attracted a who's-who list of diners from near and far, including Serena Williams, Steve Young, Justin Bieber and JFK Jr. Chef Chu's offers takeout and delivery.

1067 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos, 650-948-2696; chefchu.com

Casual Dining

Parkside Grille

It would be difficult to match the ambiance of Parkside Grille. The longtime cafe, which sits amid towering redwood trees in the hills of Portola Valley, serves up California comfort food made with fresh and local ingredients: signature Greek marinated grass-fed lamb chops, seasonal Belgian endive salad and homemade pizza cooked in an almond-wood oven. The restaurant offers takeout and indoor and outdoor dining.

884 Portola Road, Portola Valley, 650-529-9007; parksidegrille.com

Dining with Kids

SAJJ Mediterranean

SAJJ Mediterranean serves fast and healthy food that is locally sourced and hormone-free. The restaurant's cafeteria-style ordering makes it easy for picky eaters to choose their own ingredients and customize their meals. There's even a kids menu that includes a chicken rice bowl, cheese quesadillas, and mac and cheese. SAJJ Mediterranean is open for delivery, outdoor seating, and indoor dining.

883 Hamilton Ave., Menlo Park, 650-322-7255; www.sajjstreeteats.com

French

Bistro Vida

Inspired by the Parisian bistro culture, Bistro Vida serves up French-influenced dishes with a slight Mediterranean twist. Owner Ali El Safy, a native of Cairo, Egypt, who lived in Paris before moving to the Bay Area, said his mission is to bring the enjoyment of life, comfort and community found in Paris to Menlo Park. Bistro Vida is open for delivery, outdoor seating, and indoor dining.

641 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-462-1686; bistro-vida.com.

Italian

Carpaccio

Ever since Ristorante Carpaccio opened in downtown Menlo Park in 1988, it has consistently won Readers' Choice for best Italian restaurant. Carpaccio features weekly lunch and dinner special menus, while also offering a full range of appetizers, soups, salads, pastas and meat and fish dinners. The restaurant offers outdoor bistro dining, indoor dining and curbside to-go service.

1120 Crane St., Menlo Park, 650-322-1211; carpaccios.com

Japanese

Koma Sushi

Family-owned Koma Sushi Restaurant is where Japanese food cravings will be answered with customer favorites like flounder, sashimi, grilled squid, ahi sashimi and a nigiri combination plate. The restaurant is open for dine in and takeout orders.

211 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-321 5662; komasushi.net

Mexican

Amigos Grill

Amigos Grill may be off the beaten path, but its handmade tortilla chips, fresh ceviche and giant burritos have made it a destination dining spot for locals craving authentic Mexican food and giant margaritas. The outdoor patio seating is popular for its friendly atmosphere, according to Yelp reviews. Amigos Grill is open for indoor and outdoor dining.

3130 Alpine Road #290, Portola Valley, 877-585-1085

New Restaurant

Farmhouse Kitchen

Using seasonal and local ingredients, the glitzy Farmhouse Kitchen serves contemporary dishes inspired by northern and southern Thailand cuisine, including specialties like pineapple fried rice, lobster pad Thai, 24-hour beef noodle soup and slow-braised short rib served with panang curry. Owner Kasem "Pop" Saengsawang said his menu is "all about the spice." Farmhouse Kitchen offers delivery, outdoor seating, and indoor dining.

1165 Merrill St., Menlo Park, 650-665-7935; farmhousethai.com

Outdoor Dining

Cafe Borrone

See Place to meet People, under Arts & Entertainment

Romantic Restaurant

Flea Street Cafe

See Place for a Date, under Arts & Entertainment

Retail

Bicycle Shop

Menlo Velo Bikes

Menlo Velo Bicycles is committed to making cycling the best it can be for riders of all levels and types. The shop sells a wide variety of bikes — from road and comfort to electric — and provides maintenance services, too. Owner Rainer Zaechelein said business has been through the roof over the past year as the pandemic has fueled a surge in ridership. The shop offers curbside drop-off and pickup. It has indefinitely postponed its bike rental program due to health precautions.

433 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-327-5137; menlovelobicycles.com

Bookstore

Kepler's Books & Magazines

With its broad collection of books, magazines and literary events, Kepler's Books & Magazines has been a beloved cornerstone in the community since it opened in the 1960s. In response to the pandemic, the independent bookstore's nonprofit arm, the Kepler's Literary Foundation, created Refresh the Page, a series of online conversations, classes and seminars for adults and youth that has become part of its offerings.

1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-324-4321; keplers.com

Boutique

Place to Buy Jewelry

Gift Shop

Shady Lane

For more than four decades, Shady Lane has been offering one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, intricately woven scarves, artisan glass sculptures, wood carvings, handcrafted soaps and an array of other items handcrafted by local and international artists and designers. The boutique is open for in-store shopping as well as online shopping and curbside pickup. The store also offers gift wrapping.

325 Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park, 650-321-1099; shadylanegallery.com

Floor Coverings

Abbey Carpet & Floor

Abbey Carpet & Floor provides one-on-one expert advice on the newest flooring trends, styles and technologies. The locally owned shop has everything from tile and stone to vinyl, laminates and carpet. For those who can't come into the showroom, Abbey Carpet & Floor makes house calls. Its visualizer app also enables customers to see how various flooring options might look in their own home prior to visiting the store.

626 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-462-0800; menloparkabbeycarpet.com

Frame Store/Art Gallery

Peabody Fine Art Gallery & Framing

Since 1989, the skilled designers at Peabody Fine Art Gallery & Framing have been working one-on-one with customers to help create one-of-a-kind framed designs for any project. Since the pandemic, the shop has launched a new service to enable customers to design and purchase frames online.

603 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-322-2200; peabodygallery.com.

Grocery

Produce

Bianchini's Market

See Sandwiches, under Food & Drink

Hardware Store

Menlo Hardware

Menlo Park Ace Hardware has been the go-to hardware store for home, garden and building supplies since it opened in 2005. In addition to offering housewares and tools, the independently owned shop offers services, including key cutting, custom glass and acrylic sheet cutting, blade sharpening, window screen repair, propane exchange and product assembly and delivery.

700 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-325-2515; menlohardware.com

Home Decor & Furnishings

Harvest Furniture

Harvest Furniture is a complete home furnishing store that offers decor for every room, including customized upholstery lines to interior design services with designers who will ensure that furniture selections flow together.

639 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-325-7733; shopharvest.com

Nursery

Florist

Ladera Garden & Gifts

Ladera Garden & Gifts is a one-stop shop for garden supplies, gifts and flower arrangements. Juan and Mercedes Navarro, who have operated the full-service nursery for nearly 40 years, provide custom floral arrangements as well as home goods and nursery items.

3130 Alpine Road, Portola Valley, 650-854-3850; laderagardenandgifts.com

Pet Store

Bow Wow Meow

Bow Wow Meow is all about offering the most beneficial products and services to caring pet guardians. The pet store carries some of the most advanced products in the pet industry and offers grooming, training and other services to ensure that all pets are healthy and happy.

654 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650- 323-2845; bowwowmeow.net

Place to Buy Shoes

Fleet Feet

Fleet Feet in Menlo Park is committed to enhancing local running and walking communities and helping customers find products that improve their fitness experience. They assess foot type and gait cycle and have 3D scanners to measure feet, making their footwear recommendations uniquely tailored to each customer. For those who prefer to shop online, the shop is offering virtual shoe fittings via Zoom.

859 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-325-9432; fleetfeet.com

Specialty Store

Cheeky Monkey Toys

Cheeky Monkey Toys is a family-owned shop that specializes in finding "just the right toy" for each customer. Since opening its doors in Menlo Park in 1999, the shop has provided interactive toys designed to stimulate children's minds to generations of local families. When all nonessential businesses were ordered to close in March 2020, Cheeky Monkey Toys quickly pivoted to a direct delivery-only service, dropping off toys within a 10-mile radius of the store. Cheeky Monkey has reopened for in-store shopping and also offers on-site pickup and delivery.

640 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-328-7975; cheekymonkeytoys.com

Services

Auto Repair

Portola Valley Garage

Portola Valley Garage's skilled technicians have been providing minor tuneups and major overhauls since 1948. In addition to repair services, the garage offers 24-hour vehicle drop-off, online appointments and loaner cars.

4170 Alpine Road, Portola Valley, 650-851-7442; pvgarage.com

Barber

Menlo Park Barber Shop

The barbers at Menlo Park Barber Shop pride themselves on developing close relationships with clients, giving excellent cuts and "blending craft and tradition with a strong dose of humor." The shop has reopened for in-person indoor visits, and barbers also are making house calls.

2100 Avy Ave., Menlo Park, 650-391-9008; menloparkbarbershop.com

Day Spa

LaBelle Day Spas & Salons

For decades, La Belle Day Spa and Salon has helped Silicon Valley clients look and feel their best from head to toe. Moisturizers, serums and oils; treatments for problematic skin conditions such as rosacea; scrubs, toners and eye care — everything for the face and body is available here with a one-on-one approach.

Two locations: 36 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, 650-326-8522; 95 Town and Country Village, Palo Alto, 650-327-6964; labelledayspas.com

Dry Cleaner

Ladera Cleaners

For more than 30 years, Ladera Cleaners has helped customers properly care for their clothes, coats, comforters and other delicate handmade items. The shop, which has been a Readers' Choice winner year after year since 2015, offers one-day dry cleaning, mending and reweaving services, as well as alterations for wedding dresses and other items.

3130 Alpine Road, Portola Valley, 650-854-2291; laderacleaners.net

Fitness Classes

Gym

Studio K-Fit

Studio K-Fit offers high-intensity but low-impact workouts focused on strength, mobility and cardio through high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Class sizes are small so that instructors can focus on each individual. The studio also offers lifestyle coaching, personalized nutrition guidance and Zoom and Facebook Live workouts.

3708 Florence St., Redwood City, [email protected]; studiokfit.com

Hair Salon

Olive Hill Salon

Its charming setting and commitment to its clients are just a few of the reasons why readers consistently vote Olive Hill Salon the best hair salon. Olive Hill specializes in haircuts, coloring and styling. The salon has reopened with enhanced sanitation measures, contactless payment options and a streamlined check-in process.

2920 Woodside Road, Woodside, 650-851-1150; olivehillsalon.com

Hotel

Stanford Park Hotel

Stanford Park Hotel describes itself as an "oasis" that offers its guests "genuine tranquility." This luxury hotel features a library, pool and spa, complimentary in-room snacks and fireside spots for reading. Menlo Tavern, the property's on-site restaurant, is now open for live music on the patio during the summer.

100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-322-1234; stanfordparkhotel.com

Manicure/Pedicure

A Touch of Elegance Nail Care

Customers can expect quality service, a friendly staff and reasonable pricing at A Touch of Elegance Nail Care, a longtime favorite of Almanac readers. In addition to manicures and pedicures, A Touch of Elegance also offers facials and other services. The salon is now open for in-person services.

1150 Crane St., Menlo Park, 650-321-0679

Plastic Surgeon

Jane Weston, MD

Dr. Jane Weston has been bringing expertise in plastic surgery to Bay Area patients since 1985. A graduate of Stanford Medical School, Weston offers plastic surgery for the face, breasts and body, as well as a range of medispa services, including Botox, fillers, laser, threads and body contouring. Weston now offers virtual consultations for those who want to limit face-to-face contact.

1047 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-457-6291; janewestonmd.com

Plumber

Guy Plumbing & Heating

Guy Plumbing & Heating is a fourth-generation family-owned business that provides a wide range of services and operates a full-service showroom specializing in the sales and installation of Toto washlet bidet seats, as well as parts for Hansgrohe, Kohler and Grohe.

1265 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-323-8415; guyplumbing.com

Yoga

YogaSource

YogaSource was built on the belief that "the practice of yoga should be both demanding and gratifying." They boast a wide curriculum of yoga classes, including vinyasa, power, yin, restorative, hot 26, pilates, and much more. YogaSource offers in-studio and virtual classes.

158 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, 650-328-9642; yogasource.com

Almanac readers chose the businesses above as Readers' Choice winners in 2021 by casting 8,897 votes in 53 categories. All information was obtained from business owners, company websites and past Almanac coverage.

—La Belle Day Spas & Salons, Best Day Spa

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