About ten years ago, it seemed like San Carlos was the center of the world for eating falafel — I remember once counting seven different places to get the fried chick pea delight. As the restaurant scene has changed, San Carlans have periodically commented on an overabundance of a particular type of cuisine — at time it’s been Italian, Japanese, or Mexican. So, we wanted to take a look at the distribution of cuisines today.
MAJOR CAVEAT — it can definitely be disputed how to classify certain restaurants, so the City of Good Eating made some assumptions and groupings with which all will not likely agree. For example, we combined bakeries and coffee/tea shops, put restaurants like Chipotle in Mexican instead of Fast Food, and classified restaurants like Asya as Asian Fusion instead of either Japanese or Thai. There was also some overlap between bakery and breakfast places, deli and American food, and among continental, Italian, steakhouses, and seafood. So, we just made some calls to create a general but not necessarily precise analysis. Note that in the master list of eating and dining establishments, we use two potential categories for each place — for this analysis, we combined them so as not to double-count.
The hands-down winner….the combined category of bakeries and coffee/tea houses with 15 locations in the city (this is of course assisted by the fact that we have three Starbucks). Even though San Carlans may have thought that Italian, Japanese, or Mexican places rule, we actually have more Chinese restaurants than all of those, with eight (and this doesn’t count Red Hot Chili Pepper, which we classified under Asian Fusion). With the exception of King Chuan, most of these Chinese restaurants are small and away from the busiest blocks in town, so it’s reasonable to infer that they don’t lead in terms of total patrons served.
The city does have more than its share of Mexican, Pizza, Japanese, Italian, and Wine Bars/Gastro Pubs. At the the bottom of the chart, we also boast representation from cuisines you don’t see in many suburban towns, including Afghan, Burmese, Hawaiian, Korean, Peruvian, and Southern/Creole. And, we haven’t mentioned that we have seven wineries and breweries!
Also, by our count, 30% of eating and drinking establishments in San Carlos are part of a chain or franchise (meaning that two or more exist), while 70% are individual to San Carlos.