Business & Real Estate

Turn gets a new look from a familiar face in downtown LA


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Robin Berard, center, works with general manager Jennifer Smith, right, to get food out of the kitchen at Turn Bar & Grill. Berard recently reopened the restaurant with an experienced kitchen and floor staff.

After Turn Bar & Grill went dark for a few days last week, a familiar face is back on Main Street with some old and new friends.

Robin Berard, one of the original partners behind the restaurant’s 2015 opening, has returned as Turn’s owner-operator.

“This is the only place I have done from the concept up,” she said. “Turn is my baby.”

Berard had left Turn to become vice president of operations at Hero Adams Inc., opening two Bay Area restaurants. In the meantime, she thought that Turn was languishing.

“We got derailed a little bit,” she said. “There were too many chiefs in the building. … This place needed a working kitchen manager who can execute.”

The new menu is more straightforward and has options from grilled cheese to a rib eye steak – not to mention pizza straight from the oven.

“We will be very consistent, but we still have some tweaks as we try new recipes,” Berard said.

The restaurant received its new menus just 11 minutes before it opened for lunch Friday.

Many of the eatery’s original staff – who had departed since opening the restaurant nearly 18 month ago – will return. However, there is a new general manager, a new kitchen manager and a new man behind the bar.

Jason Seele, former bar manager at Los Gatos’ Jack Rose Libation House, has taken up a place behind the reclaimed-wood bar at the center of Turn.

Seele will give Los Altos its first cocktail program, offering classic drinks like the Last Word, a vivid green libation that dates back to Depression-era Detroit. Seele also is hard at work on new drinks, including an English Cosmo featuring Hendrick’s Gin and a barrel-aged Manhattan (the barrel sits on the bar itself).

The cocktails have their match in a wine list that features a Barnett Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and five beers on tap, as well as bar snacks that range from deviled eggs to charcuterie. It’s all available during the 3-5 p.m. happy hour.

A unique atmosphere

Berard said her plan for Turn is to become the “go-to place in Los Altos.” She wants to start a brunch menu on weekends and make the porch more dog-friendly.

“I would like people not to go to Mountain View or Stanford Shopping Center,” she said.

As part of the ongoing redesign, Berard plans to put up black-and-white photographs of old Los Altos and make one section of the dining area more conducive to large groups like high school sports teams.

“We want to be involved with the community and the youth,” she said. “Sports kept me out of trouble, and they develop the relationships here.”

Turn also has a kids’ menu, crayons and deep booths for family dining.

“We’re not a sports bar, we’re not a bar and grill,” Berard said. “We’re Turn.”

She emphasized that she is open to feedback and still fussing over details, like getting the lighting level right for evening dining.

“We are not a fast casual – we provide an experience,” she said. “But we listen because this is our guest base.”

Berard plans to make Turn not just a neighborhood dining spot, but a restaurant that defines the neighborhood. She said she is excited to show off the new menu for spectators at the Festival of Lights Parade, as well as every other segment of Los Altos life.

“You can show up for happy hour and have your children with you,” she said. “You can be comfortable in anything from a suit and tie to a yoga outfit – and that is what makes us so unique.”

Turn is located at 295 Main St., Los Altos. For more information, visit turnbarandgrill.com.

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