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A cafe in new Atherton civic center?

Original post made on May 28, 2015

Atherton, which now has no commercial zoning, may soon change that so locals can buy a cup of coffee when the town gets its new civic center.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 28, 2015, 11:19 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 28, 2015 at 11:59 am

Robert D. is a registered user.

Atherton has always insisted they have no businesses in town. I would disagree.
Start with the Menlo Circus Club. This is a business complete with a full restaurant and full bar on-site. Next - Menlo College. They have a cafe, to supplement their dinning commons. This of course assumes that a college (or private schools) is not viewed as a business. Finally, the businesses run out of homes. I am not sure I would call those 'traditional' businesses though, but the tax base might be interesting.
I guess it comes down to what do you define as a business. I would argue that a cafe is no different than the 2 already listed.


Posted by $$$
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 28, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Where's the money coming from for all of this? Last I heard, the private donations were not materializing, and the council was considering floating a bond to pay for all of this. This is not what the voters decided. Don't understand why the Almanac hasn't covered that.


Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 28, 2015 at 1:42 pm

In the early 1960s there was a gas station and a real estate business on ECR at or near Atherton Ave.


Posted by WNew
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on May 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Nothing commercial in Atherton?? Uber cars frequently serve Atherton residents.


Posted by Outside the box
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm

I think a cafe is a fantastic idea! It's likely to actually draw some residents to the town center to develop some sense of community. Over the past decade we've lived in Atherton, beyond going to the building/permit dept. 3 or 4 times when we were updating our home, stopping by the police station once to pick up glow sticks, and going to the library twice when the kids were little (we instead went to the Menlo Park library which was so much nicer), I've had no other reason to spend time in the Town Center. While I understand the need to update the dilapidated police and city mgt.buildings/portables, I've never understood why one would want to spend millions of dollars on a location that I"m guessing a tiny percent of residents spend more than a few hours in throughout their life. But, if a beautiful center is going to be built, sure would be great to make it a draw for all the residents who have outgrown libraries (even beautiful libraries). Something like the little outdoor space at the Filoli cafe or seating around a fountain like at Borrone's would be wonderful. Better yet, put in a beautiful, scenic cafe at Holbrook Palmer- maybe install some chess and checker and card tables, a bocce ball area, etc This would certainly inspire more residents to come out and get to know each other and use the park beyond the years when their children are playing on jungles gyms and sports teams.


Posted by Sees This and Says Wow
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2015 at 3:03 pm

That's exciting! I think Atherton needs a Hilton built in it- not to mention a monorail! This will be an exciting time! There also should be Grayline tours, restaurants and resorts. It would be an awesome place for carriage rides, too, just like Central Park. Then Woodside Road would be an excellent location for Casinos and Regal Cinemas, and a four-story mall! I've always thought that Skyline would be a terrific place for a gigantic resort and that would also help the Equine industry with horse tours. This is simply... the best!


Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 28, 2015 at 8:05 pm

really? is a registered user.

'I think Atherton needs a Hilton built in it- not to mention a monorail!'

Don't worry, they're getting HSR and are all very excited about the idea.


Posted by Unsure ...
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm

I appreciate the idea that having a food / coffee vendor would increase the draw of the community (not necessarily only Atherton residents) to the new town center.

I'm not sure I understand the scale of the vision. Are we talking about a Phil's / Pete's / Starbucks franchise? How about a Cafe Barone or Luttikens? If not, what about a roach coach?

I'm not sure any of the above is appealing. All of them are either too commercial or too downscale.

With any good idea, the devil is in the details .. count me as need to hear more. There's not enough information to know whether I support it or not. I like the general concept but the implementation could be ugly.


Posted by outsider
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 29, 2015 at 6:31 am

the gas station was on the corner of El Camino Real & Almendral - there was also a restraunt across the street called the Atherton Club & before that another restraunt with outside seating that I don't remember the name .(maybe Raymar Oaks? ) That came to an end tho when a car going north on E. C. R zigged into the patio seating.


Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 29, 2015 at 8:27 am

Thanks outsider.
However, Madam Savary’s Ramor Oaks was a block north of Atherton at 3435 ECR.


Posted by agnes brydges
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm

I think it would be nice having a place close by to have coffee and visit quietly with people, like Café Barone but much smaller and low key, with far fewer tables and people.


Posted by Elitism, much?
a resident of another community
on May 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Unsure... :"I'm not sure I understand the scale of the vision. Are we talking about a Phil's / Pete's / Starbucks franchise? How about a Cafe Barone or Luttikens? If not, what about a roach coach?
I'm not sure any of the above is appealing. All of them are either too commercial or too downscale."

Ah, yes...good enough for us plebeians outside of Atherton, though. Eh?


Posted by Dan S.
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm

If you came to Atherton for the community and the congenial atmosphere, you were sold a false bill of goods.

I bought my McMansion with the wall around it so I wouldn't have to interact with people like you. I also have my coffee flown in direct from Kona, why would I stoop to buying a cup at a local cafe?

Amateur hour.


Posted by Water
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm

A roach coach? I think it would have to be referred to as a "caviar car".


Posted by John Thibault
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 16, 2015 at 4:18 pm

The little town of Siasconset on Nantucket did a great job with their café and library in the town center area. Very charming. Web Link


Posted by Gail Alberti
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Sep 24, 2015 at 10:06 am

I think this could be a wonderful addition to the new Town Center. Of course there would be much to work out but why not consider the ways in which such a small, beautifully placed cafe could enhance collegiality in our community? A non-profit might be a great option. I, for one, am plenty tired of the limited choices we have in our immediate area for visiting over a good cup of coffee in a relaxed setting. Unless you are a Starbucks fan or don't mind the crowds and lines at Cafe Barrone's, or the limited seating at Peet's, your shucks out of luck.


Posted by $$$
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 24, 2015 at 10:22 am

My apologies in advance for attempting to bring a dose of reality into this discussion, but I think my question is reasonable:

How much in private donations has been raised now? Is it enough to pay for the town center let alone a cafe?

Isn't that the real question?


Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 24, 2015 at 11:45 am

really? is a registered user.

You could always move Fosters Freeze into the new civic center. That would be appropriate.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 26, 2017 at 12:37 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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