What Restaurant Do You Most Miss?

Restaurants come and restaurants go, but will always be missed. Tell us which ones you'd like to see come back to town.

When my husband and I first moved to the Peninsula 20 years ago, we celebrated the closing of our home by having lunch at what neighbors told us was a very special place in the Carlmont Village Shopping Center---The Pine Brook Inn.

Known for its authentic German fare, roaming accordion player, huge beer steins and friendly staff, The Pine Brook Inn quickly became the go-to spot to bring visiting family members and friends.

And being New Yorkers, we were thrilled to find a real East Coast pizza at Sal's on El Camino Real in San Carlos. Sal's was another one of those special places we would go to for comfort food and some real Italian hospitality.

Both The Pine Brook Inn and Sal's are long gone ---and some good restaurants have taken their place (Hola Mexican Restaurant is now at the Pine Brook spot and Applewood Pizza resides on Sal's old site), but we still occasionally "pine" for the Pine Brook Inn, and crave the eggplant and garlic pizza that Sal used to make.

Are there any eating establishments in Belmont and San Carlos that you'd like to see return? Any there any new ones that are particularly welcome additions?  Tell us in the comment section below.

Senta March 14, 2014 at 11:48 AM
i think i'm a youngster here (b.1971) but i have a really good memory, and i remember the place in the farmer's market that was on the northeast corner that was more like a restaurant than the others. it had wooden pillars separating it from the rest of the farmer's market and there was seating in the enclosed area. they had really good clam chowder. what i remember most tho were the large paintings of crying clowns. they TOTALLY freaked me out at a very young age, and i have had problems with clowns ever since.
Senta March 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM
and phillip i truly miss the central park bookstore!! on the bottom level was a fantastic selection of books and cards, on the second level you could get great hot chocolate and hang out and read or just feel cool with your friends, on the top level you could get a little bouquet of flowers on your way out.
Rick Donaldson March 14, 2014 at 01:43 PM
Hi all- Senta thanks for the San Remo news! That is huge- will be going there on our next visit to San Mateo. They had a red salad dressing that was almost like spaghetti sauce - used to come as a side with the pizza. I've tried cloning that one. Farmers Market was remodeled extensively about 1962 when the Emporium was added on the east side. That's when they added real restaurants such as the "Napoleon" later Steak Inn, etc. San Remos predates the 1962 remodel. There was also Hunts donuts, a Mexican place, seafood on the north end (post 1962) as well as the beverage bar in the center (also post 1962). Emporium could be accessed from the food court (maybe still does to Sears?) . There was also Lloyd's Groceteria, Deitz Meats, both later replaced by Petrini's. Also Lloyds Liquors and Walgreens on the south end. Lyon's Coffee shop at the lower level adjacent to Macy's. Haven't been back to the mall since they enclosed it- ruined the whole experience.
Phillip Bailey March 14, 2014 at 02:08 PM
Carolyn, Senta and Rick: Thanks for the additional updates. Of course we boys went there after school to study ---> NOT. All the co-eds were there from St. Gregs, Abbott, St. Matts and Borel among others. Senta: that is a big wow about the clowns but I have heard that from others also. Rick I did not remember Lyons at the Mall - only the one around 17th and El Camino. I believe Macy's later had an eatery in their lower level? Mama's? There is rumors that the north side of the Mall where Sears is - will be converted to a HUGE Cinema similar to Daly City's etc. Of course this news was floated and has since been poo-poo'd by the Bohannon family. How many people knew this-----> Bruce Springsteen's mom was one of Mr. Bohannon's tried and true office secretarys. :-/
Phillip Bailey March 14, 2014 at 02:09 PM
@ Carolyn V. San Carlos resident since 1978 Thanks for the video!
Senta March 14, 2014 at 02:34 PM
wow i had forgotten about walgreens being there...i think i was very young when that was taken out...but a memory just came back to me of shopping there with my mother in the spring, with their Easter displays and the bright colors. i am sad that cost plus will no longer be at the mall, since it was there as long as i can remember (tho down those curved stairs earlier)......and i've loved shopping there to this day. i know it will be in one of those big box stores elsewhere, but still it won't be at Hillsdale. and yes i've definitely heard about the movie theater coming in, which is exciting to me, since i have to go either up to downtown san mateo, which is a little far, or redwood city....which i hate. don't like that horrid parking lot below the street level. i hope the new theater comes in!
Phillip Bailey March 14, 2014 at 02:56 PM
When did Outback Steakhouse fold up?
Phillip Bailey March 14, 2014 at 03:00 PM
.......Or....maybe it is still there? Here is a nostalgic shoutout to a place "across the tracks" behind/near Hillsdale Train Depot. Steamies http://www.yelp.com/biz/steamies-san-mateo Also in Belmont there is Marvin Gardens on Old County Rd http://www.marvin-gardens.com/ And St. James Gate also on OCR http://www.thegatebelmont.com/
Carolyn V. San Carlos resident since 1978 March 14, 2014 at 03:11 PM
I wondered about the future of Steamie's when they tore down Bay Meadows racetrack, but it's been around for a long, long time & provides a haven for local folks in that area.
Rick Donaldson March 14, 2014 at 06:00 PM
Carolyn, Thanks for the Hillsdale Mall Video link. That was a good one! I was only 5 when that was made, but most of the stores looked familiar - like Melart's with the slide that went to the lower level. Also Newberry's had a fountain set-up and sold sandwiches and greasy fries. The big moving Christmas toys were a big one and the Bufano sculptures - still there? Phillip - good facebook link - the Teen Fair in 1965 at the SM Fairgrounds - I missed that one - but they had a big teen event at the Hillsdale Mall during the summer of 1966 - Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon were there! Friends and I hung out at the mall during the 66-68 era. So they're going to knock down the Sears (ex-Emporium) and build a theatre complex? Good stuff!
Phillip Bailey March 14, 2014 at 06:47 PM
Rick: They may not tear down the Sears building. It looks covertable to me. What about early Foster City. I remember Port-o-call shopping center where one had to go to Senor Pepe's and sit outside. There was the Lobster Trap, the Winery and the Customs House. Of course there is Shoreview and Parkside. The Fishmarket is still going strong. There was/is a dive bar in Shoreview called: "ClubShorVu" somewhere near Aldo's Pizza. Parkside had the Parkside Lagoon... Off Topic but too bad they could not have found new and better management for the Circle Star Theater. LOL, they should have deemed it a Historical Building for all the HUGE acts they had there. CAN YOU IMAGINE if the dressing room walls could talk? SammyDavis, The Whispers, Earth Wind and Fire, Streisand, Ella, Smokey Robinson, Willie Nelson, Tina with Ike and without, Santana and about 25 thousand other acts. We would see girls LEAVE their seats - go to the stage door and come back after the show. It didn't work like that for us guys. ;-)
Phillip Bailey March 14, 2014 at 06:54 PM
I think there was an indoor theater also near Fashion Island's former ice rink but memory sketchy.
Carolyn V. San Carlos resident since 1978 March 14, 2014 at 09:30 PM
There sure was. Near Montgomery Ward's...talk about going back in time. How about the "tent" buildings at Bullock's? As Fashion Island shopping center, it just couldn't make it. Public transportation might have helped. Looks like they do quite well now with different stores & restaurants.
Rick Donaldson March 14, 2014 at 10:57 PM
Thats right, Bullock's was in that big white tent thing. I guess Fashion Island disappeared. I heard Bohanon enclosed Hillsdale Mall in response to Fashion Island. Parkside also had McDonalds Clothing store. Yep, Circle Star with the circular center stage - along with music acts, they also featured Broadway type shows. I vaguely remember Marvin Gardens on Old County Road - is that a pub? There was the Prince of Wales Pub on 25th. Peanut Farm on Canada Road in Woodside.
Carolyn V. San Carlos resident since 1978 March 15, 2014 at 07:25 AM
Funny how Fashion Island couldn't make a go of it and Bridgepointe is going strong in the same place & has expanded. I used to love that MacDonald's in Parkside. I saw stars perform at Circle Star. Too bad that closed. I remember they had a restaurant there that didn't do well. Their bars were always busy. Yes, Marvin Gardens is a pub. Known for good burgers too. Was it the Hitch Rack on Canada Road not too far from the top of Jefferson? I was introduced to Joan Baez at the Pioneer Saloon in Woodside back in the day.
Marianne March 15, 2014 at 10:17 AM
Back to the original question as to which Restaurant I miss the mots. Was is Stickney's on El Camino in Redwood City back in the 70's? They sold the most fantastic Strawberry Whip Cream cakes. Do I remember the name right?
Phillip Bailey March 15, 2014 at 01:43 PM
Marianne: Both Stickney's sold that famous cake. 5th and El Camino in San Mateo and Oak and El Camino in RWC. When Stickneys left the 520 Building in SM - the one in RWS stayed. I believe now it is a Wendy's. There was also a Stickney's down near Stanford/Palo Alto. Carolyn and Rick: Rick is correct in that Fashion Island went under so to speak because David Bohannon saw the potential threat and renovated Hillsdale even though some of liked it the old way. Bridge-point was able to re-invent the old ghosts of Fashion Island. The was a place called the Bullpen, a baseball card and other sports memorabilia shop. Rick is correct, the Peanut farm was on Canada road and Jefferson. I believe Marvin Gardens is still going strong. http://www.marvin-gardens.com/ The other spot not far from Marvin's is St. James Gate http://www.thegatebelmont.com/ The Infamous Prince of Wales Pub (or POW) owned by iconic Jack Curry was sold/closed and it is now "The Swinging Door" - apparently the original name of the original bar at that location. See link: http://archives.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=68785
betty torrez March 15, 2014 at 01:56 PM
I particularly miss Lyons in San Carlos. It was good for families and was open at very convenient hours.
Phillip Bailey March 15, 2014 at 02:06 PM
Swinging Door aka Prince of Wales You Tube(s) http://theswingindoor.com/blog/videos/ http://theswingindoor.com/blog/
Phillip Bailey March 15, 2014 at 03:00 PM
Betty? Where was San Carlos Lyons located?
Marianne March 15, 2014 at 03:21 PM
Lyons was a favorite 2:30 am breakfast spot (after the bars closed). I think it was in the late 90's that it burned and closed. I am not sure, but it think it was on the now Trader Joe's site. Black Mountain building was right near it. Black Mountain Water is gone, too
betty torrez March 15, 2014 at 03:28 PM
I agree, that's where it was.
Rick Donaldson March 16, 2014 at 12:54 AM
Phillip thanks for the Swingin' Door link- lots of history there - visited there in the 1970's - it looks like they still serve up British fare. Pioneer Saloon at Canada and Woodside Roads? Stickney's doesn't ring a bell for some reason. Was there one at Town and Country Shopping Center in Palo Alto- or maybe that was Rickey's? Dinah's Shack was down the road a bit on El Camino. I suppose that is history too. Lets see- wasn't there a Bud's Ice Cream store on El Camino in Redwood City for a while? And Peninsula Creamery in PA.
Phillip Bailey March 16, 2014 at 05:08 PM
@Rick: Yes there was also a Stickneys at Town and Country. Ricks' Swiss Chalet was further down in south Paly along with Dinah. The Chalet bit the dust.The owner of the restaurant - a member of the Hyatt family...passed away. The family made a decision to sell it. It was leveled to the ground and a Salvation Army location was built in its place. Dinah's Shack closed in 1989 (earthquake victim) here is a good update on Dinah's http://www.paloaltohistory.com/dinahs-shack.php
Rick Donaldson March 18, 2014 at 01:19 PM
Phillip et al- thanks for all the local history info. Wonder if there is a site like this for Los Gatos and San Jose?
Rick Donaldson March 26, 2014 at 09:09 PM
A couple more for the road- the Starlite Drive-in Theatre on Harbor Blvd in Belmont. My family watched countless films here up into the 1960's- and enjoyed the cuisine served at the snack bar. Especially those hot-dogs with re-hydrated onions, along with the Ghirardelli chocolate "flicks" in a tube - what happened to those? Not to forget the Redwood Drive-in Redwood City, which showed up a bit later. And Hillbarn theatre (plays) on El Camino in San Mateo, about where the Borel Shopping Center is now. I recall that it looked like an old church.
Phillip Bailey March 26, 2014 at 09:21 PM
@Rick: We did the tour of the drive in out by Coyote Point and also the Starlite. Drive-Ins are everywhere in the Midwest. Flicks are STILL around http://www.flickscandy.com/ I think the Hillbarn moved to Foster City and is still going strong. Did you ever put friends in the trunk on the way to the drive in?
Rick Donaldson March 26, 2014 at 10:18 PM
I think those were the Burlingame Drive-ins out by Coyote Point - built on land fill partly from the debris of the old San Mateo Bridge. Saw Woodstock there in 1970, among other films. Indeed, I did the Drive-in sneak in thing when I was at school up near Eureka. Also drove off with a speaker in the window on a couple of occasions. I'll have to check the Flicks website you provided- haven't seen those in decades - - That's a find. So Hillbarn is now in Foster City- I think they bladed the old place on El Camino when they built the 19th Ave Freeway - or whatever it's called now.
Phillip Bailey March 27, 2014 at 03:13 PM
The Original Borel Estates were a kick. We'd scamper through there and if we weren't careful the so called caretaker would shoot buckshot at us.... Also ABOVE Alameda de las Pulgas the was an estate named Count Marc De Tristan - and it was amazing how large of a piece of land it was. When they built Aragon HS they used part of that property. Located ABOVE that High School is what is now referred to as NEW Hillsborough.
Rick Donaldson March 28, 2014 at 11:52 AM
I remember the Borel property mainly because it was dense with trees and Alameda narrowed to two lanes in that stretch. Not familiar with the Tristan property, except my Wife did go to Aragon, so I know that spot. However, I am familiar with the Tobin-Clark estate - adjacent to CSM - and wandered around there in a Jeep in the early 1970's. Also there was a big chunk of land in the vicinity of the former (?) Borel's restaurant, which was sort of an unofficial off-road vehicle park for a while, known locally as "J-p Hill." Sugarloaf in Hillsdale was used for similar purposes. I have no idea who owned those pieces of open-space. I think Sugarloaf is relatively intact.


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