Serramonte Center reopens food court

The smell of chicken teriyaki and pancit, a popular Filipino noodle dish, fills the air upon entry into the renovated Harvest Food Court in Serramonte Center. A big stone fireplace crackles on the left whilevendors such as Betty Boop’s Diner, Sbarro and the popular Panda Express and Manila Bay Cuisine are their fare to the right.

The food court, located in the west wing of the mall directly across from the bus station, is the latest project in the center’s multmillion-dollar renovation effort, which began in 2003.

Missing its scheduled completion date last Wednesday, the court went through last-minute touches in the days before its official opening ceremony today.

During the celebration, with city officials and members of Daly City-Colma Chamber of Commerce set to attend, Serramonte officials will make a $1,000 donation to America’s Second Harvest Food Bank of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

On Friday and Saturday, shoppers will be able to win prizes and watch a balloon sculptor to kick off the food court’s opening.

The court, which has been dusty with renovation efforts for 10 months, has tripled in size and now will seat 465 hungry shoppers.

“In terms of its appearance, it beats everyone,” Serramonte General Manager Dick Bartlett said. “I think we have raised the bar for the other [malls] out there.”

According to Bartlett, the expansion cost several million dollars.

“It was always too small and it was never a real food court,” he said. “This really created a real food court with much more seating and more room to move around. Now even if it’s packed, you can still find a seat.”

But not all nearby businesses are happy with the expansion. The nearby clothing store, New York & Company, gave up 10,000 square feet to the food court after this summer’s remodeling. Natural Beauty, a makeup booth located several feet from the eateries, is also not benefiting from the increased traffic.

“Most of the time it’s ladies with children,” said a Natural Beauty employee who asked to remain anonymous. “They are hungry, so it’s harder to stop them and keep them concentrated.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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