A new restaurant drops into the paseo, or passageway, between two downtown Mill Valley streets, heralding a return to dining in comfort and style. Down the way, a new spot for crepes lands at the Mill Valley Lumber Yard, Larkspur welcomes a new gift store and a Salvadorean restaurant, and other notable businesses open nearby.
There is a timeless quality to the exposed-brick and wood building that winds between Throckmorton and Sunnyside avenues in Mill Valley. Established in 1936, “el Paseo” has operated in one form or another as a restaurant for all of its 85 years. The current owner, Mill Valley resident Ki Yong Choi, a hospitality and hotel management professional, is re-launching it as a bistro in October. Chef Brandon Breazeale (Bodega Bay Lodge and 31st Union in San Mateo) helms the kitchen, presenting a menu featuring New American recipes such as chard-wrapped, oil-poached halibut with burnt shallot puree and maitake mushrooms or duck breast au jus with Brussels sprouts. Brunch, lunch and dinner will be available. But the charm remains in Paseo’s storied ambiance. The serpentine space opens onto numerous patios, nooks and crannies, which Choi plans to embed with cozy couches and string with Edison bulbs. Two dining rooms with quartz tabletops frame the kitchen and the Paseo bar remains in its familiar spot. While the team awaits a mixologist, sip a classic cocktail in the classic space or savor an all-American dessert of peanut butter semifreddo in the enveloping intimacy of this Paseo.
17 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley; 415.888.3907
EAT & DRINK
Mary Margaret Stewart and her daughter, Iman Bengana, were so busy one day shortly after opening their crepe and ice cream shop in the Mill Valley Lumber Yard in September that they had to close to restock. “It was insane,” Stewart says. The tiny shop does savory (cheese-walnut-pear) and sweet (Nutella) gluten-free and gluten-full crepes, plus soft-serve ice cream and milk shakes made with Valley Ford’s Double 8 Dairy buffalo milk.
129 Miller Ave, Mill Valley; 415.888.3041
A family-run restaurant dedicated to the culinary delights of Mexico and El Salvador arrived at the shopping center across from the Mt. Tam Racquet Club earlier this spring. Breakfast means eggs tucked into a burrito or served with plantains and pupusas. Burritos and tacos are available come lunchtime with fajitas, carne asada and typical Central American dishes like pollo encebollado and bistec Salvadoreño rounding out the dinner menu.
574 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur; 415.758.7057
It’s almost unheard of to find Right Bank Chateau St. Georges Bordeaux Blend available by the glass, but it’s the norm — along with individual pours of wines from Alsace, Greece and Burgundy — at a new Hayes Valley wine bar from owner Chris Nickolopoulos,. The wines are complemented by a menu of shareable snacks (brandade gratineé, Marin Miyagi oysters, clam dip) from executive chef Pesha Perlsweig.
528 Laguna St, San Francisco; 415.595.1624
Owner Meggie Sichi has deep roots in Marin – her grandfather worked at the Mill Valley Lumber Yard when it was still a mill. The Corte Madera resident chose downtown Larkspur to open her gift shop, however. Designed to be a one-stop shop for gifting, the shop features customized gift boxes for baby showers and house-warmings and gift boxes with themes as varied as “pink,” “cool dude” and “cocktails.”
236 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur; 415.886.8136
Known for a chair that rocked the world of office furniture, the office furniture supply company debuted a retail store in San Francisco’s Marina District in September. A dedicated ergonomic specialist is on hand to help you determine how to sit well and relate the health-positive benefits of postural distribution of weight in the home office or wherever work finds you.
2108 Chestnut St, San Francisco
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Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.