Service employees struggle to hang onto jobs in Los Altos

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Jael Ruiz takes an order behind the counter at the American Italian Delicatessen on Main Street. Ruiz, who has worked in Los Altos for more than a decade, said she enjoys the city’s family atmosphere, but her commute from Campbell – up to two hours a day – takes a toll on her family.

After nearly 17 years working at restaurants in downtown Los Altos, Jael Ruiz has long wrangled with the housing and transportation challenges that define the lives of workers throughout the region.

An employee at the American Italian Delicatessen on Main Street, Ruiz said she enjoys her work assembling sandwiches and prizes the relationships she has formed with co-workers and customers. However, her job comes with constant uncertainty.

Office on Main to hit planning commission

Asher Kohn/Town Crier
A public notice in front of 40 Main St. describes the site’s three-story office project.

A contentious three-story building with more than 15,000 square feet of office space is on the agenda at Thursday’s Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission meeting.

Ted Sorensen, the owner of the property at 40 Main St., has requested code exceptions to the city’s height ordinance, on-site parking and rear-yard setbacks, in exchange for offering a public “paseo” that would connect Main Street to the rear parking lot.

Familiar brunch spot Brian's Restaurant reopens as Bell Tower under new owner

Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Brian Whitlock, left, proprietor of Brian’s Restaurant, stayed on as general manager after selling the business to Danny Shafazand, right, last month. The Rancho Shopping Center breakfast and lunch spot reopened as the Bell Tower Cafe June 1 with the same staff and menu.

The sign on the door has changed at the brunch spot long known as Brian’s Restaurant in Los Altos’ Rancho Shopping Center. But the restaurant, now known as the Bell Tower Cafe, continues to serve the same food, from the same people, this week.

New owner Danny Shafazand rehired every employee at the restaurant when he purchased the business, including a cook who’d been there 30 years and Brian Whitlock himself, who first went into the Los Altos breakfast business with his wife in 1977. He now serves as general manager.

Beloved Los Altos parrot finds a San Jose roost

Courtesy of Amir Behboud
Amir Behboud of San Jose last week took in Lulu, the 8-year-old parrot that resided at Pet’s Delight. According to Behboud, Lulu will still make occasional visits to Los Altos.

Lulu has a new home. A San Jose family last week adopted the parrot, the longtime mascot of Pet’s Delight on State Street.

The sale of the pet store in April left Lulu in need of another place to perch; the shop’s new owner did not want to keep the blue and gold macaw.

Eye Lite sets sights on open house

Bruce Barton/Town Crier
The Eye Lite team includes, from left, Drs. Emily Yuen, Jabina Ramde and Andrea Dong.

Eye Lite Optometry projects a vision, if you will, of customers as part of its extended family.

The office’s philosophy, in conjunction with quality eye care, has been a good business model, one that has resulted in financial as well as physical growth. An eight-month office renovation completed last February has enabled Eye Lite to operate at twice its original size.

Los Altos High grad makes beer a burgeoning biz in the Bay Area

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Jennings
Jonathan MacDonald, a Los Altos High School graduate, in his Novato brewery.

A Los Altos Hills native is doing his part to put hops on an equal footing with grapes in the Bay Area.

Less than five years after receiving a home brewing kit as a Christmas present, Jonathan MacDonald’s Adobe Creek Brewing is open for business.

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