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Business & Real Estate

Name change makes no difference to diners

Photo by Clyde Noel, Special to the Town Crier

Main Street Bar & Grill makes a fresh start with a new name

Slightly confused over the name change at the Main Street Bar & Grill? It may remain the old Los Altos Bar & Grill for some longtime patrons, but for new owner Loren Masters, it's a fresh start.

Last Thursday, the Main Street Bar & Grill had its grand reopening with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting and a free food bar that people gravitated to like a bear to a honeycomb.

The original Main Street Bar & Grill was started in the late 1960s. According to Ken Coleman, an early evening patron at the bar, the original Main Street was a friendly local eatery with decent food. The owner was Frank Desarno, who in 1988 sold the restaurant to Robert B. and Deborah Clark.

"When it was the Main Street Bar & Grill, we came here to play Pac-Man at the bar. It was the latest thing, and the food was good," said Pat Reed, a Los Altos resident.

Bob Clark changed the name to Los Altos Bar & Grill. For eight years, John Bentley was chef, providing excellent cuisine. The restaurant hit hard times, and in May 1995, the Clarks filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. In August 1998 Wendy Kim bought the restaurant for $757,000.

Two years later the restaurant was sold again, to Loren Masters.

"There's something about owning a restaurant-cafe where people can have a good time and enjoy good food," Masters said. "We're going to cater to an adult crowd who are looking for a place for dining, dancing and gathering to have a good time."

Other than minor face lifts, the restaurant hasn't changed much. Last Thursday, Masters changed the first words on the black overhanging awning at the entrance to the eatery.

Mayor Francis La Poll cut the ribbon.

"The Los Altos Bar & Grill was an institution," La Poll said. "I hope you will continue with the tradition using a new name."

"I've been coming here for business lunches since the 1970s, and the new owner, Loren, is doing a great job," said Steve Shepherd, a local banker.

Masters is making gradual changes and pumping in money to make the place a neighborhood rendezvous for lunch and dinner, like it was several incarnations ago.

She has brought back impresario Bob Clark to liven up the evening crowd and concentrate on popular entertainment for the after-dinner hours gathering.

There is a new chef, Jim Hixon, and a fresh kitchen crew. The new menu concentrates on pastas and familiar entrees.

The wine list has been augmented, and Masters is introducing Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Main Street Bar & Grill is located at 169 Main St., in Los Altos. For more information, call 948-4332.

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