A tide of business changes recently swept across Los Altos as longtime family restaurant The Boardwalk announced its closing and The H&H Co. revealed that it had sold its eight downtown businesses and was leaving town.
The H&H Co. proprietor Mary Heffernan reported via her blog at thehandh.com that her “thriving” enterprises had already been sold. She didn’t identify who purchased the businesses or return repeated calls for comment.
Within downtown Los Altos, H&H operated the restaurants Bumble and Forest on First, the play space PLAY!, arcade Area 151, crafting and hobby shops The Makery and Red Racer and flower store The Botanist. Passerelle Investment Co., the real estate investment firm that has purchased properties across downtown Los Altos and housed all of H&H’s enterprises, is also landlord to a planned restaurant of Heffernan’s on State Street, The Alley. Its website had been taken down as of last week.
Passerelle Director Brooke Ray Smith confirmed that an “entity” had purchased H&H’s portfolio of businesses but declined to provide further details. She said the businesses will remain open as usual and that The Alley’s future was now up to the new owners to determine.
In the same blog post that announced the sale, Heffernan said her family had launched a cattle ranch in Siskiyou County, but didn’t specify whether they were departing Los Altos entirely. Heffernan and her husband purchased a historical Los Altos home, the Shoup House, in 2012 for nearly $5 million.
In another corner of Los Altos, 38-year-old restaurant The Boardwalk announced that June 4 was its final day of operation. The Tougas family, which founded and ran the restaurant, said they had failed to negotiate a new lease with property owners RKT Group, which is expanding and renovating the site at 4940 El Camino Real.
In May, the council unanimously approved the redevelopment and expansion of the property, a project that will add 3,700 square feet to the mixed-use building.
Town Crier readers contacted the paper as news broke that the community gathering place was closing. Long a destination for after-school meals and youth sports team gatherings, The Boardwalk was known for its Gilroy Special pizza and wide variety of sandwiches.
“This has been the after-show place for local theater groups for years,” said Los Altos Youth Theatre Artistic Director Trish Files. “There will be no place left in Los Altos for youth to visit after a show. Hoping another spot will extend its weekend hours.”
“Everybody’s sick about it,” said Mountain View resident Tony Biondi. “It’s a place we all go, it’s like the Cheers bar – everybody’s yelling at each other, having a good old time watching hockey or football or basketball or baseball. When we moved here, our kids went there when they were in Little League. Now the kids are 23 and 21 – they’ve done this for 15 years.”
Biondi added that although local rents are notoriously high, “there’s got to be somebody out there” who could find another location for the beloved eatery.
The Boardwalk hosts final day of operation - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier