GOTT'S MOVES IN: El Camino Real in Palo Alto is the newest road for Gott's Roadside, the Napa Valley burger maker that's equally famous for its ahi tuna.
Only in California, right?
Here, besides high-end burgers made from grass-fed Niman Ranch beef, brother-owners Joel and Duncan Gott serve sushi-grade ahi tuna burgers and ahi poke tacos (those are Gott's No. 2 and No. 3 bestsellers), plus updated versions of American diner classics.
If you're not familiar with Gott's, the mini-chain started life as a St. Helena roadside stand, Taylor's Automatic Refresher. When the brothers took over the property, they upgraded ingredients and added wines and microbrews to the menu, giving Gott's cult status as the first fast-food joint to offer a hearty Napa cab. They opened a second location at the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace, followed by an Oxbow Market one in Napa.
The Gotts grow much of their own produce and are big on Bay Area sourcing: Only free-range fowl from Mary's, for example, are used in the chicken sandwiches and tenders. The latter are soaked in buttermilk for 24 hours, then given a dusting of panko. The meaty beef-and-bean chili is made with San Francisco's Anchor Steam beer, and the city's Double Rainbow ice cream goes into the milkshakes (White Pistachio's a hit).
Although this Town & Country Village location was heavily renovated, the Gotts kept the original T&C beams from decades ago overhead and the cement floor underfoot. The paneling for the benches comes from wooden wine tanks -- the brown boards are from the exterior of the tanks, the red, naturally, from the interior.
What's next for Gott's Roadside? "We're kind of a pain. That's why we have only four restaurants," Gott says. "I want old buildings with character. I want to be around good restaurants. I want foot traffic." They're scouting locations now in the South Bay and East Bay.
Details: Open daily at 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. 650-326-1000; http://gotts.com.
NEW DIGS: Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has moved into its new, spacious home at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. The freestanding building (in front of the old restaurant) boasts lots more space for diners indoors and out. The main restaurant and private dining room can seat about 220 guests, and the patio has room for 70 more. Details: Open daily for dinner at 5 p.m. 180 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. 650-329-8457; www.flemingssteakhouse.com.
Send South Bay and Peninsula dining tips to Linda Zavoral, firstname.lastname@example.org.