Sat09202014

Business & Real Estate

New eateries to dot downtown : Family friendly dining projects in the planning pipeline

Where wine once flowed – Vino 100 at 163 Main St. – the new owners of LuLu’s on Main Street hope to launch their fourth Bay Area Mexican-food establishment in the fall. With the lease signed but permits still in process, Bracken Richardson reported that he and his wife, Natalie, plan to add dedicated outside eating areas at both entrances – Main Street and from the Los Altos Grill parking lot bordering San Antonio Road in the rear.

A 2007 traffic study estimated that an average of 26,000 automobiles travel daily down the four-lane San Antonio.

“It’s a large thoroughfare,” Bracken said. “People on their way home from work could stop and order food to go.”

The Richardson’s second LuLu’s at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto is dedicated to takeout meals – the Los Altos location will accommodate dine-in and carryout customers.

The Richardson’s love for truly fresh Mexican cuisine is a commonality they discovered as students at the University of Arizona.

“We both have loved Mexican food for the 30 years we’ve been together,” Bracken said. “This is our brand of authentic Mexican food.”

In the 1990s, Natalie partnered with Lourdes Lopez – the LuLu in LuLu’s – to develop recipes Lopez’s family prepared when she was young girl growing up in Michoacán, a state on Mexico’s west coast.

With a determination to serve the freshest and healthiest food possible, they combined Lourdes’ cooking talents and Natalie’s energy and creativity to debut LuLu’s on the Alameda in Menlo Park in 2005.

“We had no idea what we were doing,” Bracken said.

Still, the all-natural and freshness concepts flourished – as well as LuLu’s clientele.

“It’s been very well received,” Bracken said. “It costs us more from start to finish, but we think you can taste the difference.”

Beyond healthful food – LuLu’s recently launched a gluten-free menu – Bracken said the restaurant promotes a healthy Earth.

“Everything we use is all natural, sustainable, compostable and biodegradable,” he said. “We recycle everything.”

The biggest buzz – and banging – about town is coming from 145 First St., the former home to Cottage Green that will soon be Bumble Los Altos, a play cafe for families. Originally scheduled to open in January, renovations to the building across from Safeway have construction workers as busy as, well, bees.

“We are trying to restore the quaintness of the 100-year-old cottage while bringing it up to code,” said Mary Heffernan, Bumble’s owner and a newly transplanted Los Altos resident. “We encountered problems with the foundation rotting and a few other things, but construction is back on track.”

During its heyday, the little bungalow, once surrounded by the proverbial picket fence, housed the town’s librarian, was a children’s bookstore and later, an antique shop.

Anticipating a July debut, Heffernan said the cafe would open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon-tea and, subsequently, family dinners.

“We are hoping to create a warm, inviting place for parents and child caregivers to come for good food, to socialize with other children and parents and to relax while their little ones play,” she said.

Heffernan said parents could leave their children in a staffed playroom while they dine.

“This is the first location with this concept,” she said.

In the meantime, Heffernan is developing menu choices and testing recipes for baked goods.

“We will bake some items and have some delivered,” she said.

Beer, wine and champagne will also be available, as well as specialty coffees and teas.

For more information on LuLu’s, visit www.lulusmexicanfood.com.

For more information on Bumble, visit www.bumblelosaltos.com.

 

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