SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A mom-and-pop Italian restaurant in San Jose has served hot pasta to comic legends, to baseball greats. But now, it’s losing its lease, to make way for a sleek cafeteria for tech workers.
Paolo’s Restaurant has been serving authentic Italian in San Jose long before Silicon Valley was born.READ MORE: With Playoff Dreams Dancing In Their Heads; San Francisco 49ers Fans Return To Levi's Stadium
“There’s a bittersweet tinge to this,” said Carolyn Allen Samavarchian, who owns Paolo’s.
Samavarchian is a second generation owner. She was just four years old when her dad opened the first downtown location in 1958.
Paolo’s has been in the RiverPark Towers for the last 24 years. A week ago, she found out the restaurant would lose its lease.
“It is sad, really sad, but sometimes it’s just time to move on,” said Jill Muller, a diner at Paolo’s on Wednesday.
Samavarchian said the restaurant will be replaced by a startup friendly cafeteria and work and play space for techies. The owner said she has seen the average age of workers in the office park drop about 20 years in recent years.READ MORE: Mothers Tearfully Remember Children Slain In Bay Area Homicides
“It’s unfortunate that the history though doesn’t carry more value and weight,” Samavarchian said.
Essie Samavarchian has been a server for 32 years. When asked about her favorite memory, she said, “Serving Paul Newman several years ago, and Eddie Murphy and Joe DiMaggio long time ago.”
In all those years, customers said the food hasn’t changed. Menu standouts include classics with a personal twist, such as the veal shank and house made Pappardalle, which are both recipes from the owner. these are both the owner’s recipe.
The most famous dessert at Paolo’s is the cannoli. The recipe was brought over from Sicily by the owner’s grandfather.
“The food is always perfect here,” said Marc Parkinson of Los Gatos, who is planning to dine at Paolo’s every night for dinner until the restaurant closes its doors on Saturday.MORE NEWS: Oakland Ties 2020 Homicide Total in First 9 Months of 2021
For Parkinson, it’s mostly because of the people. “I mean the food helps a lot because it’s really good, but you really feel like you’re part of a family when you come here,” he said.