Opening Doors

Who says that California doesn’t have fall colors?

While I’m sure the eastern part of the United States puts on a much more impressive display, we do have our moments. The above struck me as I was walking along Hopkins Avenue this week to examine the progress on the Hopkins Avenue Traffic Calming project, which now is making a great deal of visible progress. That project got underway some time ago, but for months, it seems, the bulk of the work was focused on making sure that the underground storm drains and sanitary sewer pipes were ready for the surface work to begin. But starting a couple of weeks ago, a handful of work crews went up and down the street, replacing various curb corners, like this one:

I was impressed with the speed at which the crews worked. One crew was focused on demolishing the old curbing. That crew was closely followed by one putting in the wooden forms for the new curbing. And then a third crew, following right on the heels of the second, poured the new concrete. Finally, the narrow bit of asphalt needed to join the new concrete curbs to the existing asphalt street was installed. This last, incidentally, may be temporary, since I believe that the whole street will be repaved once the rest of the project is completed.

Pretty much all of the curbs that needed to be replaced were swapped out a week or two ago, although the one at Hopkins Avenue and Lowell Street (just across Lowell from Stafford Park) was left until now. This week, it, too, began the transformation process:

That was just a side show, however, with the real work this week being focused on tearing out the asphalt where the new center islands will be located:

Very soon I expect the crew with the wooden forms, followed by the crew pouring concrete, will work their way along Hopkins Avenue from El Camino Real to Alameda de las Pulgas, forming and pouring the concrete curbs that will define these new center islands, which will eventually be landscaped. While they are at it, I’m sure, those crews will take care of that intersection at Hopkins Avenue and Lowell Street. What they probably won’t be working on, at least not yet, is the triangular parklet at the corner of Hopkins Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas. That parklet has already had some new curbing installed (along the curve leading from Hopkins Avenue to Alameda de las Pulgas), but given that the parklet is being used to stage project materials, and thus has trucks driving in and out of it from time-to-time, likely the contractor will wait until late in the process to replace that final bit of curbing:

I frequently walk along Hopkins Avenue — especially now, while the traffic calming project is ongoing — to get to downtown. Recently I noticed that three new businesses are coming to downtown Redwood City, and I’m excited, at least for two of them.

First, a storefront I’ve been monitoring for years (ever since one of my favorite Redwood City restaurants, Aly’s on Main, closed) is showing signs of an imminent new opening. Here is what the storefront at 911 Main St. looks like today:

There isn’t yet a sign indicating the name of this new venture, but some of you may recognize the graphic on the door (you may need to zoom in to get a better look; click the image for one you can zoom in on): that is the Ghostwood Brewing logo. It seems that this former restaurant space will be home to a new restaurant/taproom/cocktail bar-type place, one brought to us by the folks who previously operated the Ghostwood Beer Company taproom on Brewster Street just west of the Caltrain tracks. That previous location didn’t have a kitchen of any kind, and thus was just a taproom with food, when there was any at all, provided by food trucks parked in the back parking lot. This location, on the other hand, already had a well-equipped kitchen, so I presume that the word “Kitchen” appearing on the front glass means that they’ll either be a full restaurant, or at least will be providing really good bar food to go along with the “Craft Beer” (brewed by them, I presume) and “Cocktails” that are also listed on that front glass.

Although the Brewster Street taproom has been closed since August of 2020, Ghostwood has continued to brew its beer from an industrial space on E. Bayshore Road in Redwood City. Undoubtedly that beer will be served here, so fans of Ghostwood Brewing will have another outlet to enjoy (and possibly purchase for home consumption) Ghostwood’s beer. Regardless, I’m intrigued, and am very much looking forward to the opening of whatever this new venture is called.

Redwood City recently lost one high-end steak restaurant, when Arya (at the end of Theatre Way) closed. Some time before that, though, Redwood City’s other high-end steak restaurant — Courthouse 2021 — closed. That restaurant space, which had a prime location at 2021 Broadway (next to Zareen’s, and across the street from Vesta), has been empty and boarded up since March:

It shouldn’t be boarded up for much longer, however. I was delighted to hear that this is to be the newest home to Mazra, a Mediterranean restaurant that has been doing gangbuster business in San Bruno for the past two years. It seems that Mazra got so popular that the proprietors decided to open up a second location to relieve some of the pressure on the first — and that little ‘ol Redwood City is to be the beneficiary.

From what I’ve read, folks have been lining up outside Mazra’s San Bruno location to get their falafel and charcoal-broiled kebabs (among other things). Their new Redwood City location will be serving those, plus some items not on the San Bruno location’s menu, such as a Turkish breakfast (which at least initially will only be available on weekends). The Courthouse 2021 space is terrific in that not only does it have a relatively large indoor dining room, but also has a generous amount of space for outdoor seating, given that it sits on one of the Broadway blocks that is (temporarily, but possibly permanently) closed to vehicular traffic.

I’m looking forward to trying both Mazra and whatever Ghostwood’s latest incarnation turns out to be. I will admit to somewhat less personal enthusiasm for the third new venture I spotted, although my lack of enthusiasm is simply because I’m guessing that this business will not be aimed at me. But I do wish lots of success to Angel Looks Studio, the newest tenant for the historic retail space at the corner of Main Street and Stambaugh Street that until some months ago was home to Lovejoy’s Tea Room.

A close look at the awning above the entrance to 901 Main St. reveals a pair of scissors and a comb; they’ll surely be a women’s hair salon, among other things (nails, perhaps?). Their Facebook page is a bit vague, only referring to this new venture as a “family owned business that provides all types of self care services.” Once they’re open, we’ll know for sure what else they do, if anything. In any case, I’m delighted that this highly visible corner location isn’t remaining empty for long.

Those three businesses should be opening their doors soon. There are two other businesses proposed for Redwood City that face a much less certain future, however: according to an article in The Daily Journal, there are proposals for two separate gun shops in Redwood City (currently, it doesn’t appear that we have any). One is for this space in Roosevelt Plaza, which formerly housed a fitness studio:

The other is for a space in a building on El Camino Real between Brewster Street and Hopkins Avenue that currently is home to a collection of small businesses:

If Redwood City is to accept a gun shop anywhere, that second location seems a better choice. The first is in a well-trafficked shopping center that is very close to schools and a branch of the Redwood City public library. Add to that the fact that there is a Baskin-Robbins just a couple of doors down from the proposed location, and you get a lot of kids spending time in the center.

To my mind the Roosevelt Plaza location seems inappropriate, but I’ll leave the decision to the folks who can truly do something about it if necessary: the Redwood City Council. This Monday, October 24, that governing body will be considering an urgency ordinance that would temporarily put a moratorium on firearm retailers in the city, thereby giving the Council time to really think through the issue before taking permanent action (or not). (Redwood City currently does not have any regulations specific to firearm retailers; they would be treated just like any other commercial retail business.) The Council’s initial deliberations will take place during Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. and can be watched online or attended in person. Refer to this web page for instructions on attending, viewing, or participating in this or any other City Council meeting. Oh, and if you’d like to submit written comments in advance of the meeting, email them to, and be sure to mention item 9A in your subject line.

Thanks to reader Elliott for being the first to bring the gun shop issue to my attention. His email to me included a link to a letter in support of the urgency ordinance; if you’d like to read and possibly sign on to that letter, click this link.

On a final note, I opened this post with an artistic display of nature’s beauty, and will close it with art of another kind. If you haven’t driven the Jefferson Avenue underpass beneath the Caltrain tracks lately, allow me to point out that the artist who was commissioned to add a mural to the north side of that underpass (Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith) is well underway with the project:

The theme of this mural is racial equity. The artist said the following about their mural during the competition to select a winning artist and design:

Creating an equitable world requires telling an honest recount of history and sharing our hopes and dreams for the future. My design is a balance of these ideas, illustrating historical travesties alongside accomplishments and visions. The design I am presenting has a non-linear timeline where stories weave in and out of each other.

Thus, this mural, which will include notable figures from not only Redwood City but surrounding areas such as North Fair Oaks, will show both the good and the bad (the latter including the shameful treatment of American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II). Certainly it will be thought-provoking. And, as you can probably tell from the above photograph, quite beautiful. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing it complete.

Today (October 21) marked the deadline for Redwood City’s third annual Halloween home decorating contest; watch for an announcement of the contest entrants and winners, which should be posted to the city’s Halloween Hub, soon. That website also lists a couple of great Halloween-themed activities for kids, including tomorrow’s Halloween Spooktacular (for which you can pre-register, although drop-ins are welcome). That activity will take place at the Red Morton Community Center from 12 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 22. There are also events scheduled for the 28th and the 30th, I should note; check out the Halloween Hub for details.

Those events may be for kids, but some of our merchants have not forgotten us adults. On October 28 from 9:30 p.m. to closing, Alhambra Irish House will be holding a “Peaky Blinders style” Halloween costume party. There will be a cover charge starting at 9:30 p.m., but be aware that happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m., and food will be served until 9 p.m. Then, the next day, Saturday October 29, Freewheel Brewing Company (in the Marsh Manor Shopping Center at 3736 Florence St.) will be holding their annual Halloween party (time TBA). They are encouraging the wearing of costumes: do so and you can get a pint of beer for $5 (no word whether you can still get that price if you aren’t wearing a costume).

5 thoughts on “Opening Doors

  1. You were wondering about how much higher the current King Tides are right now.
    Do google “Alan Steel King Tide Redwood City” images…I got a photo from Feb 9, 2020 showing the bay lapping the site of the Alan Steel building and completely covering the bay trail.
    This was 2 years ago and the sea level is rising faster each year.

    Always enjoy your articles. Thank you.

  2. Greg — Thanks for all the information and neighborhood observations you provide to the rest of us. Am always fascinated and learn something from your posts. I can’t express how strongly I oppose an unnecessary gun shop in Redwood City, no matter where it it located. (There is already one in San Carlos, right on El Camino Real, by the way.) So I really appreciated “reader Elliott”‘s letter that others of us could adapt and send in on this matter. Am very glad he shared it with you — and the rest of us who read your blog.

  3. I don’t have a problem with a gun shop at Roosevelt Plaza. School kids will not be going in to buy guns. If they watch TV they know guns exist and someone has to sell them – legally – so I just don’t think it’s an issue. Is it any different than a liquor store or a store that sells tobacco products? Roosevelt is an elementary school, so it has younger students. I think the kids won’t even notice and if they do, once the novelty has worn off, it will just be another store. It’s the parents that create the issue, not school aged children.

    • The younger kids definitely get excited about guns, what rock are you living under? Also, one can’t murder other people with Tobacco and liquor BTW, do you think your analysis though before just posting BS?

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