Essanay Cafe

UPDATE: The owners have decided to keep the restaurant open and hope that the new Niles Town Square will boost business. They’re open for dinner Wed. – Sun and brunch on the weekends. On the other end of the food spectrum, I’m told the KFC on Fremont Boulevard in Irvington has closed.

The very tasty Essanay Cafe on Niles Boulevard could cease to be a full-time restaurant very soon. Owners of the white tablecloth establishment will meet tonight to discuss its future. They’re all locals who have put a lot of money into the place, but the economy has taken its toll. They still have more than a year remaining on their lease.

One idea is to keep the place closed most of the time, but open it for special events like the Open Mic night and for private bookings.

I don’t usually do plugs, but the restaurant will offer its Recession Dinner meal on Wednesday night — a three-course healthy organic meal for $12. Whether it will be open for business on Thursday is undetermined.


Washington Hospital CEO made nearly double next highest paid Bay Area public employee

Washington Hospital CEO Nacy Farber took home $876,831 last year. The next highest paid employee was Marin Healthcare CEO Lee Domanico at $498,000.Three of her subordinates were also in the top ten among Bay Area public employees, even though they make less than half what she made.

How is that possible. Read this story, which was in the Contra Costa Times and hopefully was also in Sunday’s Argus. For real, read it. Click here and read it.


Torrico talks tough about NUMMI

Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico is quoted extensively in this Chronicle story about a Save NUMMI rally yesterday in SF.

Here’s what Mr. Torrico said:

“It ain’t over till it’s over … We’ll take the bills and sit in Toyota’s lobby until someone talks to us,” he said. “And if we don’t hear what we want to hear, we’ll fly to Japan and sit there until someone talks to us there.”

Is this cause for optimism?

Well, there have been times when Torrico hasn’t been able to deliver on his tough talk. Take for example his comments on the budget at a town hall meeting I covered last year. Here is some of what he said:

“If they’re not going to consider tax increases, I’m not going to consider cuts,” the Newark Democrat said during a budget forum he sponsored Wednesday at the Fremont Library. “I don’t care how long the budget impasse goes for.”

There was more:

“I’m tired of Sacramento; I’m tired of not making any changes,” he said. “I will not vote for a budget that only has cuts.”

It wasn’t Torrico’s fault that California has the strange two-thirds rule for passing budgets that lets the minority party rule the roost. But when it comes to talking tough about Hard Times, he and everybody else take a backseat to the master, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes.



I’m perplexed by some of the comments critical of the city. 

What could they have done to keep NUMMI: Fix some potholes on South Grimmer? Schedule garbage pickup every day? Let Building Department employees freelance for the plant when they’re short on work?

It just doesn’t seem like there was a lot they could offer. Am I missing something?


Springtime for developers and environmental firms, winter for Kirby’s and Marriott

I didn’t get a chance today to call some of the folks who own land near the future Warm Springs BART Station, such as Jack Balch, David Beretta and the Sobratos. They are likely worth more today than they were yesterday.

NUMMI had successfully fought to make sure the land they owned near the future station wasn’t zoned for anything more lucrative than office space, and office market stunk even before the economy stunk.

Now, one figures, they could build whatever they want: high density housing, shopping centers, etc.

The closure is bad news for Kirby’s. I didn’t know that the Irvington bar opened at 6 a.m. to accommodate one shift of NUMMI workers. I also didn’t know that Red Wing Shoes, which has a Fremont location, supplied footwear for the plant. Thanks to the Fremont Chamber for that tidbit.