Palo Alto’s venerable University Cafe is going through some gradual but major changes after an eventful year. In the summer, a car crashed into the building, and more recently, owners of nearby The Old Pro bought the cafe. Now called Local Union 271, it emphasizes local farmers and producers, who even get their own part of the menu. Local Union 271 continues the any-hour, any-occasion flexibility of its predecessor, serving an egg whites and turkey omelet for breakfast, sandwiches or barbecue chicken flatbread at lunch, espresso and red velvet cake in the afternoon, or salmon risotto, deviled eggs with crab and roast chicken for dinner. Happy hour food and drink specials also are an important component. The menu isn’t as enormous as those at some diners, but everything seems to be covered. Yet this is a semi-temporary situation. In early 2015, the restaurant will close and get a complete remodel. The new second edition will continue to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it wil be in a contemporary atmosphere, with a more ambitious menu and more of an evening bar focus.
271 University Ave., Palo Alto; (650) 322-5301.
Even though Pacifica indeed has a better view of sunsets than sunrises, Sunrise Cafe and Grill, now open in the Linda Mar Shopping Center, is serving breakfast and lunch in the 49-seat space that was Kerri’s Coffee Shop for 44 years. (It closed in 2013). After a year-long renovation, husband and wife Armando Maya and Maria Vela run the cafe; Maya, who cooked at Half Moon Bay’s Main Street Grill, is in the kitchen. Wake up with a stack of pancakes, a side of hash browns or eggs Benedict with bacon and toast. At mid-day, the lengthy menu offers hamburgers from the grill, salads and sandwiches. The revamped interior still follows the classic diner theme, with counter seating and roomy red booths that are perfect for enjoying a chocolate milkshake.
1241 Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica; (650) 359-3811.
San Carlos, South San Francisco
People with a sweet tooth on the Peninsula will be pleased that two familiar bakeries in the region have opened up new shops. Susiecakes in San Carlos serves signature cupcakes in many flavors, including fluffy coconut and chocolate mint. Elaborate layer cakes, available by the slice or in enormous show-stopping sizes, will delight holiday partygoers. Pies, banana pudding and other sweets round out the choices. Meanwhile, Paris Baguette has opened a bakery and café in South San Francisco’s Westborough Square. It offers layer cakes, French and Asian-inspired pastries, breads (baguettes, of course, are featured), sandwiches and coffee in a bright modern space that encourages lingering.
649 Laurel St., San Carlos; (650) 282-2253. Susiecakes.com
2278 Westborough Blvd., Suite 202, South S.F.; (650) 952-0404. Parisbaguetteusa.com</p>