As usual and expected, there have been a number of changes this year to the San Carlos food scene, although some of these specific changes are not usual or expected. Here’s a rundown of what we know so far (anyone with additional information please comment below):
- Doppio Zero – In June 2023, this location of a five restaurant chain replaced a series of failed spots (the latest being Otra Vez) that have occupied this large space on the 600 Block of Laurel Street. They specialize in Neapolitan pizzas and southern Italian food, which has lots of competition in town. But it has a great location, a nice large and modern interior, and a decent outdoor dining space.
- Molly O’s – Taking the location of the former Mayan (and before that, Sneakers) location on San Carlos Avenue, this Irish pub opened in May. Like most Irish pubs, the drinks (they do have Guinness) shine more than the food, but it seems like it’s gotten a decent crowd of business so far.
- Groovy Goose – Having opened in August, this coffee shop on San Carlos Avenue is just slightly away from the most trafficked pedestrian area, so it will be interesting to see if can compete with the many other options in town.
- Hapa’s Brewing Company – The third location from this brewery that has spots in Los Gatos and San Jose, it just opened this month and has a great location (a former laundromat) next to Town on Laurel Street. Lots of beer and some snacks.
- Out of the Barrel Taproom – A branch of yet another South Bay brewery (clearly the market thinks that San Carlans are drinking beer as much as wine!), this spot opened last month by the Caltrain station plaza on El Camino. It has a very long tap list, but limited food. It has a decent sized outdoor patio.
- Starbucks – I know it’s hard to believe, but this is the fourth (yes, fourth) Starbucks in San Carlos — in the Spring, it took over the old Burger King spot on Skyway Road near the airport. It’s a little out of the way unless you’re commuting to your job in Redwood Shores, but it is the largest and aesthetically nicest of the four Starbucks in town. It also has a drive-through.
- Impasto – “Coming Soon” to El Camino near the Caltrain station plaza, this restaurant also claims its speciality is Neapolitan pizza. With the new Doppio Zero, this will be at least four with this specialty and their own wood-fired ovens (also see Pazzo and Domenico), and overall there will be 13 Italian and/or Pizza spots in San Carlos. Like the beer and coffee scenes, it may be getting a bit crowded.
- Paris Baguette – A bakery/cafe that has heralded its presence on Laurel street (replacing Maverick Jack’s) for a while, it’s part of a a big chain operation (but we’ve heard good things). It should have a very sizable interior and a nice outdoor patio, and it could return that location to the “default meeting place” that it once was many years ago when it was Le Boulanger.
- San Carlos Noodle House – Also “coming soon,” this is the spot previously occupied by the San Carlos Bar and Grill just down from Drake’s on El Camino. There’s not much info on this other than hints of offering noodle soups like ramen and udon. Stay tuned.
- Izzy’s Steak House – this somewhat isolated restaurant has been closed for renovations since June, but they claim they are re-opening in “late 2023” with both design changes to the restaurant and new menu offerings.
- Baskin-Robbins – The ice cream shop on El Camino, across from Mediterranean Delite, appears closed for renovations.
(Maybe) Permanent Closings
- LivinRoom – The restaurant on the 600 block of Laurel Street had a unique approach — people renting a room (which really weren’t private rooms) in front of a TV with drinks and bar food — that may not have been great business. It never really caught on, and notices in front of the location say they are renovating and selling their furniture. But their website is also inactive — not a good sign.
- Sneakers — One of the oldest restaurants in San Carlos — it originally opened in 1992 and then moved to Laurel Street in 2018 — suddenly has paper covering its doors and windows. Also, the web site and phone number do not work. Although it has suffered from worsening reviews over the years, this is huge change the San Carlos food scene.