I'll take Palo Alto in the early 90s, Alex
August 3, 2014 9:33 AM   Subscribe

It's been well over 20 years since I lived in the Bay Area, and my memory is hazy, at best. I'm looking for the names of two specific establishments that I can vaguely remember from the early 1990s.

The first was a Chinese restaurant (although they may have also served Thai food) on El Camino Real. I think it was in Palo Alto, but it might have been in Mountain View. It was a fairly small place and had a reputation for good potstickers. The owner was a friendly guy (in his early 40s at the time, I'd say) and used to hang out in the restaurant. The layout of the parking lot suggested that the restaurant was originally one of those 1950s-era carhop places where the waitresses would rollerskate over to your car.

The second place was a bar on University Avenue in Palo Alto. Specifically, the bar was in the back of a smallish mall. The mall itself was a bit old & run-down, and it seemed quite out of place in upscale Palo Alto. I wouldn't be surprised if it was torn down shortly after I left. Anyway, there were some small eateries and some sad-looking curio stores in it. The bar was in the back of the mall and always struck me as being a money-laundering scam of some sort, because no-one was ever in there. The place was dark with few or no windows. I think there might have been some Christmas lights on the walls.

I'd welcome any information about either of these two places.
posted by akk2014 to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thanks, b1tr0t -- I looked at Google Street view, but it wasn't Su Hong. The restaurant in question was set back from the road a little ways, and I think it might have been located on the other side of El Camino. In any case, it's quite likely that something happened to it in the intervening decades, and it was demolished, or remodeled beyond recognition, or some such thing.
posted by akk2014 at 10:28 AM on August 3, 2014

The mall with the bar wasn't Town and Country Village, was it? That's a couple blocks off of University, but when I was spending time in the area, it always seemed a bit shabby and out of place (which is to say, I liked it). It's been spiffed up a lot, though. (You should be able to tell which is the old T&C and which is the new in the photos.)
posted by wintersweet at 10:37 AM on August 3, 2014

The food court/mall was likely Liddicoat's.
posted by littlemisslaika at 10:37 AM on August 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

littlemisslaika: Yes, you got it right. The mall was indeed Liddicoat's. I think the bar was in the back of the mall, though it's possible it was actually next door to it (I don't suppose you remember the name?). I'm sorry to see that Liddicoat's has closed. Thanks so much for the name of the mall.
posted by akk2014 at 10:44 AM on August 3, 2014

I'm guessing the converted car-hop place was here: http://bit.ly/1o3XSp2 (Google maps link.)

It's changed hands at least once since the 90's. The dev team at a startup I was with then ate there. We'd get an order or two of pot stickers in before we were seated, and would order a big bowl of their Vietnamese soup. I'm blanking on the name. Little Garden, maybe? They used to have the left half of the building, and expanded into the right side.

I ran into the owner a few yeas later. He'd gotten involved with a popular, but short-lived high-end Asian buffet down the road in Mtn. View.
posted by dws at 11:32 AM on August 3, 2014

dws: You are right! "Little Garden" was indeed the name, and that's the right location. I think that they had a roof over those parking spots when I used to go there. That place was great. I have fond memories of eating there. Looks like the new place is called So Gong Dong Tofu House and has some good reviews on Yelp.

Thank you so much!
posted by akk2014 at 11:49 AM on August 3, 2014

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