Roaring Back

According to a tweet sent today by California’s governor, “California won’t come crawling back. We will roar back.” I certainly can’t speak for the rest of the state, but if recent observations are any indication, Redwood City certainly is likely to come roaring back. I wandered around downtown this week and can report that we have at least THREE new restaurants that will be opening in the very near future. All three of these restaurants are new to Redwood City, so that number doesn’t even count the ones that shut down during the pandemic and (hopefully) will be coming back. It also doesn’t count a couple that appear to have made slow progress on building out their spaces during the pandemic: I know of at least two that fall into that category that presumably will be opening soon, although I’ll wait until they, too, put up signs before I report on those.

First up is the one that I’ve been watching the longest:

I first noticed activity at the old Sakura 2 location (373 Main St., just beyond the Carl’s Jr.) early last summer. A banner had gone up on the building announcing the future arrival of “Supreme Crab: Cajun Style Seafood Boil”, but at the time the interior of the restaurant seemed unchanged from how Sakura 2 left things (which was a mess, frankly), and I saw no signs of activity. By early July, though, much of the old furniture had been cleared away, and some of the interior walls were beginning to be torn out. In November, I finally saw some actual on-site activity: I watched two guys experimenting with exterior paint colors (they eventually settled on the shade you can see above, of course).

Moving ahead to early February, a “pending placard” for a health department rating sign appeared in one of the windows; I knew then that this venture truly was moving ahead. And this week, I took the picture you see above: the temporary banners are gone, and a permanent sign has been erected.

Supreme Crab is currently operates a single location, on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It appears that ours will be their second location, and that it will follow the same formula as is used in their original one. Their website — which does not yet mention their upcoming Redwood City store — can be found at If you just want to check out their menu and see what kinds of things they’ll be offering, click here. But as you can probably guess, they serve mostly shellfish (crab and lobster) with a cajun flair. For those not into shellfish, they have a few other fish dishes (mackerel, salmon, scallops, and an eel rice bowl) and they also serve “wings” which I presume are chicken (although the menu doesn’t actually specify). They also have soups and salads, and a variety of sides. While their menu says nothing about drinks, the video on their website shows a variety of beers and wine, and they’ve already received their liquor license for this location. Thus, expect those to be available, along with a variety of non-alcoholic drinks.

Supreme Crab hadn’t yet opened when I was there this week, but they seem to be very close. I’ll keep an eye on the place and let you know when I see that they’re up and running.

Next up is the never-occupied space next door to Old Port Lobster Shack in the Box buildings, at 900 Middlefield Rd. Recently, a sign went up on the doors to the space, along with a free-standing sign on the sidewalk out front. These signs indicate that this location will be the future home of Curry Pizza House (“Fresh and Spicy”):

Yes, this will be another pizza place, but as the name suggests, they serve “craft pizzas,” some of which are flavored with curry. They do have “normal” pizzas, too — you can select a standard one, or build your own from their fairly long list of possible ingredients — so if the idea of curry on your pizza does nothing for you, don’t let the name put you off. But if you are of an adventurous bent, know that in addition to the usual ingredients you find at most pizza places, their toppings list also include chicken tikka, curry chicken, tandoori chicken, and achari chicken, plus masala paneer, ginger, and green chili.

Curry Pizza House currently has eight other locations in the Bay Area, the closest being in Palo Alto on University Avenue. Clearly, they’ve hit on a successful formula. From their apparent success I presume that their pizza is good — I love pizza and will be giving it a try soon after they open — but I’ll also note that their online menu lists more than just that. For instance, there are a couple of interesting small plates — baked masala chips, anyone? — plus salads, and wings done a variety of ways (definitely chicken, here).

When I took the above photo there was no indication of when they might open, but again I’ll be keeping an eye on them and will blog about them once they do.

Moving on, the day after I took my walk, the restaurant blogger for Palo Alto Online — Elena Kadvany — posted an article about La Fonda de Los Carnalitos, the third in my list of new restaurants coming to Redwood City.

This new venture is coming to the old Frida’s Colibri Restaurant & Bar spot, at 802B Veterans Boulevard (right next door to HomeSkillet). If the name (or the banner) seem somewhat familiar, that’s because the two brothers behind this new restaurant have been operating out of a food truck that has been located in the Planned Parenthood parking lot (on El Camino Real at Berkshire Avenue) since 2015. Two years after starting their food truck, they opened their first sit-down restaurant in Hayward. That restaurant is listed in the Michelin Guide to California, which should give you some idea of just how good their food is.

Their upcoming Redwood City location will be their third, if you count the food truck. To get some idea of what they presumably will be serving, check out the menu for their Hayward restaurant. However, I should note that Elena spoke to one of the guys behind this new venture, and he stated that they have new ideas they’d like to try in their Redwood City location — so our menu may be somewhat different. Lastly, he indicated that they hope to open by the end of April, so those of you who like good Mexican food would be advised to keep an eye on this location.

Supreme Crab, Curry Pizza House, and La Fonda all came to my attention when they posted signs on their upcoming locations. All may well have been waiting until signs that COVID would soon be in our collective rear-view mirrors, and have timed their openings until we can all start dining in again. Whether or not that is the case, these three restaurants, plus (likely) others, will be joining a community of restaurants that were thriving before the pandemic, and that will presumably be doing so again quite soon. Truly, Redwood City is roaring back…

Switching gears, I’m delighted to see the completion of the project to transform the two connected buildings that previously housed Elgin’s Auto Supply and Machine Shop, at 53 and 55 Perry St., into a 15,650-square-foot, single-story office building:

In case you’d forgotten what was there before, here is a “before” shot of this same building:

Some improvement, eh? I’ve always thought that this building had lots of potential. It was originally built back in 1929, as Sequoia Laundry & Dry Cleaners, and was identified by the city as a “Historic Resource to be Preserved.” Thus, the historic facade was preserved, along with the building’s basic structure and skylights. Today, the space is mostly a large open-plan office space (although it could be divided up), with two glassed-in offices (or conference rooms) behind the front windows. Here is a partial view of the interior, taken through the front door as the project was wrapping up:

The skylights provide a lot of natural light (you can see the sunlight from those skylights shining on the building’s side wall at the right edge of the above picture). Behind those skylights, the rear portion of the building now sports a rooftop deck (alas, no photos of that), accessible from a staircase you can just make out at the rear of the building on the right side (click the above photo for a version you can zoom in on).

55 Perry Street is now for lease. I have to imagine that it won’t be on the market long; this is a truly beautiful office space in a great location (very close to our Caltrain station, and right behind a number of great restaurants along Broadway: the back door to City Pub is just a short walk across a parking lot, for instance). I only wish I had a good use for it; if so, I’d be talking to the leasing agents myself.

I ended last week’s post with a brief, but tantalizing mention of the proposed revamp of downtown Redwood City’s Sequoia Hotel. At that time there was only a brief descriptive paragraph and a single rendering to go on. Since then, two documents have been added: a written presentation of the project (in PDF form), and a basic set of plans. I’ve downloaded both and have spent some time studying them; I’ll write about the project in depth in a future post (likely, next week). But if you can’t wait for that, I certainly understand! You can look at the supplied documents yourself: you’ll find them on the city web page dedicated to the project. Alternatively, you can read Sierra Lopez’s article in today’s Daily Journal (and then follow that with my Opinion column in this weekend’s edition of The Daily Journal: it is largely about the Sequoia Hotel).

Getting back to the hotel project’s web page, that page was added to the city’s Development Projects list sometime last week. Since then, two more projects have been added: 2300 Broadway (the large office building proposed for the downtown Chase Bank site at Broadway and Hamilton; this project was originally presented and discussed as part of the city’s “Gatekeeper Projects” process), and 955 Woodside Townhomes. This latter proposal is for an eight-unit townhouse development to be built at 955 Woodside Road, which today is the site of the Alta-Wood Animal Hospital (and is directly across the street from the old 5th Quarter Pizza restaurant, if that helps you orient yourself).

I’ll need to spend some time studying these latter two projects before I can say anything intelligent about them, but you can bet I’ll have something to say (with photos!) once I’ve gone through everything. Until then, though, have a great week.

4 thoughts on “Roaring Back

  1. I noted that the old photos of the Sequoia Hotel show a raw brick facade versus the white-washed / plastered building we see today. From the street level, the new design looks like it would maintain the historical look — with the added upper floors set back and visible only at a distance. Will be interesting if it comes together.

    • Yes, that white coloring was added later. The current owners of the hotel apparently did some research and came up with a method for removing it and restoring the original brick. So although it won’t look like what most of us are used to (not being white), the refurbished hotel will be more authentic to what was there back in 1913 (construction began in 1912, but wasn’t completed until 1913). And they’ll be preserving the original brick on the three existing floors, which is great. The add-on upper four floors (three, plus the rooftop bar) will presumably use newer, but somewhat matching, brick.

  2. Good info. Hopefully we’ll see some of the bigger vacancies near theatre way fill up in the next year or so. I’m still disappointed with the current Sequoia Hotel design but given the portfolio of the architecture firm handling the design I’m hopefully they’ll end up with an appealing proposal. Either way Main Street should feel pretty different in a few years with all the recent investments.

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