Business & Real Estate

Unique State St. spot to host Saratoga chef's new restaurant

Photos courtesy of Olson Kundig
A woman opens the guillotine window at 242 State St., above, the building set to become a restaurant, below.

Andrew Welch hopes that a building best known for its stunning streetscape will soon become famous for what’s behind it.

Welch, owner of Saratoga’s The Basin, a French/Spanish restaurant that has gained many fans over the course of its 17 years in business, plans to open a new restaurant at 242 State St. by the end of the year.

“The Los Altos location will be an entirely separate entity from The Basin,” said Welch, a chef himself. “However, my commitment to sustainable, honest food will be in full swing.“

Welch is naming his new venture ASA, in honor of his infant son. He has not yet determined a menu for the concept but promises to continue what The Basin does best.

“It will carry on our style of operations,” he said, describing a “hands-on, honest approach that will serve our community with sustainable integrity.”

Lowering the guillotine

The 2,500-square-foot building, which has been vacant for two years, notably hosted the pop-up exhibition by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from November 2013 to March 2014.

The building was purchased by Los Altos Community Investments in 2009. Redesigned by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig architects, the mid-century structure boasts a floor-to-ceiling window facing State Street.

Architecture magazine Architectural Record described the facade as a “guillotine window” when the building opened. The double-height window is opened via a metal wheel next to the door. A pedal operates its safety mechanism.

Architizer, an architecture website, named 242 State St. a jury winner of its 2016 A+ Architecture+Facades awards.

The building features skylights and a pivot door, but no kitchen. According to Cushman & Wakefield broker Scott O’Brien, Welch plans to install a kitchen soon.

ASA is targeting an opening near the end of 2016.

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