What to know about the Peninsula’s splashy new food hall, opening today

Helena V Berbie

Los Altos food hall State Street Market, arguably the most notable restaurant project the Peninsula has seen in years, opened today with a host of big name chefs and restaurants headlining the establishment.

The splashy food hall, located at 170 State St., will eventually feature projects by chefs like Srijith Gopinathan of Taj Campton Place in San Francisco and Ettan in Palo Alto, Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière in San Francisco and Meichih and Michael Kim of Michelin-starred Maum in Palo Alto.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Anne Wojciki’s development firm, Los Altos Community Investments, is behind the market, which they hope will become a major Bay Area dining destination, much like San Francisco’s Ferry Building or Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. Additionally, the developer partnered with Bon Appétit Management Company, a massive restaurant management company based on the Peninsula, to create several stands inside the market. These restaurants and bars, whose menus were developed by Bon Appétit culinary director Robbie Lewis, were the first to open on Tuesday.

State Street Market also boasts a teaching kitchen that will host classes, cookbook authors and other events.

For now, the 20,000-square-foot space is only open for takeout and outdoor dining. Tables are set up outside along State Street, plus there’s a large parklet with wine barrels for casual eating and drinking. There are also tables set up in an open-air walkway between the food hall and El Alto, Des Jardins forthcoming Mexican restaurant.

Although it’s been hailed as the Peninsula’s first food hall, State Street Market follows the long-closed Liddicoat’s in Palo Alto. While not called a food hall, the downtown “restaurant mall” housed numerous food stands and was a major draw for the area at the time.

Read on for more details on State Street Market and the 11 restaurants and bars opening there.

State Street Market. Outdoor dining and takeout. 170 State St., Los Altos. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.


Bǎo Bèi: Meichih and Michael Kim, whose restaurant Maum won a Michelin star for its modern Korean cooking before it closed due to the pandemic, are back with a more casual and personal project. Bǎo Bèi, named after a term of endearment they use for their young son, reflects Meichih’s Taiwanese roots and Kim’s Korean ones. “The menu is informed by the way we eat at home, where we mix Taiwanese flavors and Korean flavors,” Meichih Kim said. This means they’ll serve a classic pork belly gua bao, the fluffy Taiwanese bun, but with the addition of gochujang, the Korean fermented red chile paste. Another gua bao is filled with shrimp mousse and aioli made with Taiwanese black vinegar and then deep-fried whole, inspired by a Korean fried shrimp toast dish called menbosha.

Deep-fried shrimp gua bao from Bao Bèi at State Street Market in Los Altos.

Deep-fried shrimp gua bao from Bao Bèi at State Street Market in Los Altos.

Provided by State Street Market

Bǎo Bèi also serves two noodle dishes: dan dan mian with pork gravy and a soft-cooked egg, and seolleongtang, Korean beef bone soup. For dessert, there’s bu ding, a panna cotta-like Taiwanese soy pudding topped with black sugar syrup and roasted rice whipped cream.

Once the market is open for indoor dining, diners will be able to enjoy a gua bao with a Taiwanese beer at tables custom designed by Meichih Kim. The tables take inspiration from Korean textile patterns and incorporate the reds and blues of both the Korean and Taiwanese flags.

Opening: mid-September

Little Blue Door: Srijith Gopinathan, a fine-dining chef known for his inventive Cal-Indian food at Taj Campton Place in San Francisco and Ettan in Palo Alto, is going fast-casual at State Street Market. Little Blue Door will serve vada pav, the Indian street food sandwich typically featuring potato, with cauliflower instead; Ettan’s popular smoked butter chicken; and other “classics done with Cal-Indian tweaks,” Gopinathan said. (It’s the first time he’ll be serving food from a counter, he noted.)

Along with business partner Ayesha Thapar, who opened Ettan, Gopinathan is aiming to deliver the same culinary ethos underpinning the other restaurants — fresh produce-driven, creative Indian food — but in a laidback setting at a more affordable price point.

Opening: November

El Alto: From acclaimed Bay Area chef Traci Des Jardins, El Alto will meld California and Mexican ingredients and techniques, like a lighter mole made from local apricots and almonds. Des Jardins is best known for her groundbreaking San Francisco French restaurant Jardinière but has also opened several Mexican restaurants, partly in homage to her maternal grandparents, who were from Mexico. El Alto is located across an open-air walkway from the main market in its own space.

Opening: fall 2021

Speakeasy bar: Downstairs from El Alto is an underground, unnamed speakeasy bar. The menu, developed by Des Jardins and her team, will focus on agave, tequila, mezcal and whiskey.

Opening: fall 2021

Tin Pot Creamery: State Street will house the newest location of Becky Sunseri’s popular small-batch ice cream shop. Tin Pot is known for playful ice cream flavors with baked goods mixed in, like maple ice cream studded with pieces of donut. The market location will serve scoops, sundaes and ice cream floats. Sunseri, a former Facebook pastry chef, has grown Tin Pot from a grassroots ice cream delivery service to four Bay Area shops that offer national shipping and sell pints at Whole Foods.

Opening: Sept. 10

State Street Market's Ostro is a raw bar and seafood market with oysters, ceviches and crudos on the menu.

State Street Market’s Ostro is a raw bar and seafood market with oysters, ceviches and crudos on the menu.

Provided by State Street Market

Ostro: Across from Bǎo Bèi is a raw bar and seafood market called Ostro, one of Bon Appétit’s stands. Customers can head here for oysters, tuna crudo with cured olives and caviar with toasted brioche.

Opening: Sept. 7

Murdoch’s: The main bar in the center of the food hall, Murdoch’s, serves classic cocktails, plus bar fare like burgers, mac and cheese and a wedge salad. It’s named after Steven Murdoch, a Los Altan and Prohibition-era bootlegger.

Opening: Sept. 7

El Alto Jr.: This month-long pop-up is one of two places in the Bay Area to try Impossible Foods’ new plant-based chicken nuggets. Des Jardins, an Impossible Foods culinary advisor, created El Alto Jr., to appeal to children and families. The nuggets, the only dish on the menu, come with shoestring fries and Des Jardins’ grown-up take on ketchup, made with tomatillos and paprika. On the side is a cup of sliced mango, cucumber and other vegetables, inspired by the fruit stands found on street corners throughout Mexico. The chicken nuggets will likely be on the menu for younger diners at El Alto when it opens, Des Jardins said.

Opening: Sept. 7

Cowgirl Creamery: The Bay Area’s cheese darling will open at the market later this year with Cowgirl’s famed triple cream Mt. Tam and other artisan cheeses.

Opening: fall 2021

Margherita flatbread from Banks & Braes at State Street Market in Los Altos.

Margherita flatbread from Banks & Braes at State Street Market in Los Altos.

Provided by State Street Market

Banks & Braes: Flatbreads, burgers and grilled flank steak are on the menu at Banks & Braes, another one of the Bon Appétit creations. The Impossible nuggets are also on the stand’s kids menu. In another nod to local history, Banks & Braes was the original name of the area where Los Altos was developed.

Opening: Sept. 7

Grains & Greens: Head here for dishes like grain bowls and salads, served alongside smoothies. Most of the menu can be ordered as a bowl with barley, quinoa or brown rice, or as a lavash wrap, like marinated Hodo tofu with pickled daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro and a ginger-soy dressing.

Opening: Sept. 7

Elena Kadvany is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ekadvany

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