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San Carlos In-N-Out Burger Slated to Open June 16.

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Mark Your Calendars.

Nearly a year and a half since the plan was first announced on this site that In-N-Out Burger would be opening up a restaurant in San Carlos, the company has now set an opening date for this location:  June 16, 2011.    After closing escrow on the land formerly owned by the City of San Carlos and then securing the necessary conditional use permits, the new restaurant has taken shape rather quickly over the past few months and is in the final stage of construction.  The new restaurant is located at 445 Industrial Road in San Carlos.

The arrival of In-N-Out Burger in San Carlos has been met with a mixed reaction from the citizens of San Carlos.  On one hand, many are happy that their favorite fast-food restaurant is now that much closer to home, and the City gains some much needed sales tax revenue.   However, others who live close to the site are concerned about the impact of the additional noise and traffic that will certainly accompany the arrival of the restaurant.

But regardless of which side you’re on, the burgers, fries, and shakes that have made In-N-Out a runaway favorite in the Bay Area will be available in San Carlos on June 16.

 
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Peet’s Coffee is Still Coming to San Carlos…Really!

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Peet’s or no Peet’s?

Excitement and anticipation greeted the announcement back in December that San Carlos would finally get its own Peet’s Coffee.  Months of speculation ended about the future of the old Blockbuster Video location on the corner of Laurel and Cherry Streets when Peet’s stepped to the plate and signed a lease for this location.  It was even announced at the City Council meeting and received a great response.

At the time, it was thought that Peet’s would be up and running by Spring 2011.   But as several of you recently noted, Spring 2011 is here….now.  And there’s not much happening at that location.  Is something up?

Permits in Process.

I checked with City Hall about this, and I was assured that things are moving forward.   In order for Peet’s to set up shop at this location, they needed to obtain two separate permit approvals.  One of those permits has now been approved, and the other is close to issuance.  Once that happens, the transformation of the building should happen much more quickly.   So while a Spring ’11 opening was probably a bit too optimistic, you can probably expect Peet’s to swing open their doors in late summer.

For Peet’s lovers, it will be worth the wait.
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A New Flower Shop in San Carlos: Pushing Daisies.

Pushing Daisies 2

New Shop with a Great Name.

Never to sit still for too long, the business line-up on north Laurel Street in San Carlos has a new resident — and it’s not a new restaurant.  Tucked into a the tiny storefront right next to Mythos Restaurant is great little flower shop with a cool name:  Pushing Daisies.  Owner and San Carlos resident Denise Newman spent numerous weeks putting her personal touch on the shop before opening for business a couple of weeks ago, and it really shows.  It has a warm and quaint feel to it — something that definitely fits in on Laurel Street.

Pushing Daisies will start out small, as a carry out service only.  But they will custom order flowers and provide suggestions for special occasions per request.  So if you happen to be strolling down Laurel during this fantastic spring weather, pick up some fresh flowers!   You’ll brighten up your home while supporting a San Carlos family owned business.  Pushing Daisies is located at:


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Bullpen in San Carlos: The “Godfather” of Laurel Street Deli’s.

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The Incumbent.

There was a ton of excitement when The Sandwich Spot opened its doors in the southern section of Laurel Street last year, and for good reason — White Oaks and southern San Carlos was sorely in need of a good deli to balance out the plethora of restaurants along the northern stretch.    But throughout all of the hype, one special deli kept plugging away with its signature sandwiches and lightning-fast service:  Bullpen Deli, located at 603 Laurel Street.

Bullpen opened a number of years ago in this ideal spot near the corner of San Carlos Avenue and Laurel Street, which is just around the corner from Sneaker’s Pub & Grill, which is operated by the same owners.   But as many restauranteurs in San Carlos have discovered, great location doesn’t guarantee success with the San Carlos crowd.  You have to deliver the goods — and Bullpen delivers…fast.

Generous Sandwiches, Great Service.

We have been going to Bullpen for years,  and I can’t decide if it’s the excellent quality of the sandwiches (the Godfather is a must) or the outstanding service that keeps drawing us back.  Geronimo has become almost legendary with the regulars with his ability to whip up a masterpiece of a sandwich almost before you get to the front of the line to pay for it.    Here are a couple of typical responses from Yelp about the service from that pretty much sums up the experience:

…But the thing that keeps me coming back to this place is not the food, actually.  It’s this little game that I play.  If there is no one else in line, I try to place my order and pay, BEFORE my sandwich is done.  I always lose.  Seriously.  The sandwich guy is amazingly fast.

…They need to rename this place “Fastest Deli Imaginable”    Seriously…they make your order in front of you, and it is ready before your credit card has even been fully swiped.  The bread and the meat are fresh, and you get your sandwich so quickly, you’re left with plenty of time on your lunch break to stroll down Laurel and stop into one of the many cute shops.

That’s Geronimo in a nutshell.  And he manages to keep up with the latest sports conversation while he’s whipping up your order.  Go figure.

The only rap on the place from readers seems to be that it’s a tad on the expensive side, and that there’s not enough seating there to sit and enjoy your sandwich.  But that’s fine with us — we always take ours to go, and if there indeed is a premium for their sandwiches, it’s worth it in my book.
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Got Breakfast?

My Breakfast House

Check Out “My Breakfast House”

Maybe it’s the just the Midwest in my DNA, but I am a big fan of simple breakfast diners that are low on the frills but high on quality food that’s affordable.  Throw in great service, and it makes going out to breakfast FUN, as it should be.   Downtown San Carlos has become synonymous with the chic restaurants and bars that have popped up on Laurel Street over the past decade, but I feel we have been sorely missing a true family breakfast spot (especially since the demise of Vic’s on San Carlos  Avenue) where you feel equally comfortable in your Saturday sweats or your Monday business suit.

Well, I’m happy to report that such a place does exist in San Carlos:  My Breakfast House, at 1137 Laurel Street.

You Won’t Leave Hungry.

My Breakfast House recently took over the spot that was once occupied by Big Joe’s.  It’s on one of those parts of Laurel where you can drive by it a thousand times and never see it.   But once you check it out, you’ll be glad you did.

The food is awesome, as the reviews in Yelp will attest to.  I had an omelette that was cooked to perfection, and was almost too big to eat ( but I managed, though.)  Many of the reviews rave about their french toast, which I can’t wait to try on my next visit.  The menu is extensive and the service is friendly and attentive, which is important for a breakfast diner.   Breakfast isn’t usually a social meal like dinner — people generally want to get in, eat, and get on with their day.

The decor is about as low frills as you can get, which is absolutely perfect in my book.  They even have a kids room, so the parent’s can actually eat their breakfast at a normal pace.  Like I said, it’s a throwback to the old Midwest diner, and it makes going out to breakfast fun and stress free.   It’s a welcome addition to downtown San Carlos.

So check out My Breakfast House, and support a great little San Carlos restaurant.
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San Carlos to (finally) Get a Peet’s Coffee.

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Old Blockbuster Location.

Two good things happened in one announcement at last night’s City Council meeting.   By mid-2011, San Carlos residents who are fans of Peet’s Coffee & Tea will no longer have to go outside the city limits to get their fix.   Peet’s has already signed a lease to occupy the long-vacant store front at the corner of Cherry and Laurel Streets that used to be home to Blockbuster Video store.   It’s no secret that Peet’s has been looking for a long time to set up shop in San Carlos, and different rumors swirled around about where they might land.   The most recent was that they would occupy some of the ground-floor retail space at the new 1001 Laurel condo complex.

So Peet’s coffee lovers will finally get their own San Carlos location, and Laurel Street finally rids itself of a long-standing vacant store-front.  That’s a win-win for that corner.  But there are some who will bemoan the arrival of yet another coffee house in downtown San Carlos.

Too Much Coffee?

When the second Starbucks location opened a few years ago on Laurel near the corner of Arroyo Avenue, there was some public backlash that Laurel street was becoming saturated in coffee….so to speak.  With Starbucks now flanking both ends of Laurel Street, the belief was that it would spell the end for the few independent coffee shops left on Laurel.

Certainly, the coffee shop that will likely feel the most pressure from the arrival of Peet’s Coffee won’t be Starbucks.  It will be the Plantation Coffee Roastery — which unfortunately is located right across the street from the new home of Peet’s.    But coffee drinkers are a funny lot (I know, I’m one of them.)  They tend to be extremely brand-loyal, even more so than beer drinkers.   Fans of Peet’s stick with Peet’s; same goes with Starbucks.

I think this phenomenon will ultimately protect Plantation from the arrival of a chain coffee shop right across the street.   They have a very die-hard following,  some of which are our own police officers and at least one San Carlos City Council member.      Plantation has survived (and even thrived) despite the arrival of 3 Starbucks stores, so they should be OK when Peet’s ultimately arrives.

But let’s not leave that to chance.  Celebrate our breadth and diversity of coffee shops by welcoming Peet’s to the neighborhood, and by supporting our small, local shop too.
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“The Office” Comes to San Carlos.

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…Not the TV Series.

Not to be outdone by the trendy northern section of San Carlos, White Oaks has scored another home run of a dining establishment: The Office.   Longtime San Carlos residents and real estate partners Dave Parks and Steve Hicks of Gateway Properties have been kicking around ideas on how best to utilize the extra space at their realty office at 1748 El Camino Real — why not do a restaurant?  After all, this very address used to be home to the very popular San Carlos mainstay Paul Joes restaurant, and according to Dave and Steve, it has been a watering hole of some sort ever since San Carlos was incorporated.

Keeping it Simple.

In deciding what kind of fare to offer and what level of service to provide, they wisely chose to keep it simple.    Rather than hassle with complexities of table service, you simply order your food at the counter, and grab a seat.   They’ll bring it out to you when it’s ready.   And the menu looks to be spot-on: Burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a few other choice specialties.  And most important?  It’s very affordable.  The vast majority of their menu is under $10, and the most expensive menu item is only $12.   They are clearly targeting the San Carlos family dining crowd, and they appear to have nailed it.

Great Amenities, Location.

They did an outstanding job designing this restaurant.  There’s a huge patio area in front for outdoor dining, complete with three separate fire pits for those warm San Carlos summer nights.  Inside, there are additional tables with and a full bar with multiple flat-screen TV’s.   Can’t sit still?  There’s even a “beer-friendly” bocce ball court on the side alley.    It’s a clean, classy place that’s perfect for White Oaks families who want a great, affordable dining experience that’s within walking distance from their home.

The Office, San Carlos

The Office, San Carlos

Open Now.

Although they haven’t had an official grand opening yet, they’ve been open on a “soft-open” basis for a week or so just to work out the kinks that every new restaurant faces.  Smart move, because I think the newest addition to White Oaks will be a smashing success.  So be sure to check it out this weekend!
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Dollar Tree Opens Its Doors in San Carlos.

Grand Opening.

Just a few short months after getting the conditional-use permit approved by the City of San Carlos, the Dollar Tree store that stands where Hollywood Video once did opened their doors to the public today.   This store is so new that their corporate website doesn’t even show it yet.  Oops!  But check the store out.  It’s a clean, well-stocked place with lots of useful stuff for .. you guessed it… $1.

There was some mixed feeling posted on this site when it was first announced that Dollar Tree was coming to San Carlos.  But give the place a chance.  I know the one in Belmont is busy all the time, and the City of Good Living can use every dollar of tax revenue it can get right now.   The new Dollar Tree Store is located at 1121 Old County Road in San Carlos in the Home Depot parking lot.
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