Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fatburger Opens First Bay Area Restaurant in San Jose

Fatburger is fast casual chain with made-to-order burgers, several different options for fries, and milkshakes. They are known for giant portions with a distinctive sweet relish and great optional toppings like eggs, guacamole, chili, and bacon. They just opened up their very first Bay Area restaurant in Berryessa (788 N. King Road). Unfortunately, I did not make it out there yet, but a few of my friends did and happened to take a few photos. The lines wrapped around the building, but I heard it was worth the wait.

Thanks to Diana and Kevin Zing for sending these in!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Downtown San Jose Whole Foods Opens on December 10th!

The highly anticipated Whole Foods on The Alameda finally has a grand opening date! Mark your calendars for December 10th. That is when both the grocery store and the two-story microbrewery/tap room open up. This will be the very first Whole Foods with an integrated microbrewery.

The store is grocery going to be 35,000 SQFT while the brewery building will clock in at 5,600 SQFT. There is a patio area connecting the two buildings which you can see in the photo below. The brewery will also have a coffee and fresh juice venue and a restaurant-style menu. 15 taps will be curated by an in-house brewmaster, which will host a wide variety of seasonal and local beers in addition to the signature brews made in house.

Whole Foods is also pursuing LEED certifications for the store given its many environmental initiatives. High recycled content bricks, reclaimed red cedar, and an onsite heat and power plant were all part of construction. 38 new trees were also planted on the street and parking lot, there are 4 electric vehicle charging stations, and low water plantings were used in order to reduce water usage.

This could really be a catalyst for The Alameda and West Downtown by the SAP Center. This opening gives residents within a few miles easy access to a high-end grocery store. This has been many years in the making--finally a Downtown Whole Foods is coming to fruition!

Source: Whole Foods Newsroom

Thanks to Alex Shoor and Andy Wasklewicz for sending this in!

New location on The Alameda features environmental innovation and company’s first in-store brewery in California

Emeryville, Calif. (Sept. 10, 2014) – A new 35,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market store will open on December 10th at 777 The Alameda (at Stockton) in San Jose, California. This is the second Whole Foods Market location in San Jose, and the 42nd in Northern California. The store will bring an estimated 150 new jobs to San Jose.

This new store will be home to the first in-store microbrewery and tap room for Whole Foods Market in California. The two-story, 5,600 square-foot brewery building will also house a coffee and fresh juice venue, as well as offering plenty of seating and a restaurant-style menu. An in-house brewmaster will create signature beers for the tap room, and a total of 15 taps will offer a wide variety of seasonal and local brews, as well as some nationally-available favorites.

Whole Foods Market San Jose is also innovating with this store via environmental initiatives. The company is pursuing LEED certification for the store, and this project is one of the company’s most environmentally efficient. Locally manufactured, reclaimed, recycled and low- to non-emitting materials are being used in construction including reclaimed Western Red Cedar siding, high recycled content tile from Fireclay (based locally), Forest Stewardship Council certified decking, and high recycled content bricks made in Sacramento. An onsite Combined Heat and Power plant will provide continuous electric and thermal power, reducing the store’s dependence on the public grid by around 90 percent. This is also one of only a few grocery stores in the nation that will use nearly 100% natural refrigerants by relying on a state-of-the-art CO2 refrigeration system.

Additional environmental features include:

38 new trees planted on the street and in the parking lot and plaza
Street light upgrade to energy-efficient  fixtures
Bio-filtration/retention for on-site storm water management
Four electric vehicle charging stations
Native Grasses and Wildflowers support local habitat
Low Water Plantings and drip irrigation reduce water usage
Jeff Giardinelli, who formerly ran Whole Foods Market’s Fresno store, has been hired as Store Team Leader. Michelle Hohmeier oversees local partnerships, sponsorships and charitable giving as the store’s Marketing and Community Relations Team Leader.

“We believe that while more and more people may be shopping online for groceries, there’s nothing that can replace the experience of sharing a great food destination with your friends. That’s why this new San Jose store is truly designed as a community gathering space,” said Giardinelli. “We’re hoping folks will stop by for a beer or a pizza on the way to or from a Sharks game, or that they’ll enjoy lunch in the breezeway. We’ve got plenty of space and are looking forward to serving this community with the highest-quality foods.”

As it brings redevelopment to the abandoned site within the Diridon Station Area Plan, the store will help create a dense, more walkable neighborhood. Five Percent Days, Nickels for Nonprofits, and food and fund drives will add to the store’s community support initiatives. Customers will find many local products on the shelves, too, as part of Whole Foods Market’s commitment to supporting local makers and growers.

More information on the brewery, local vendors, community partnerships and store features is forthcoming. For updates, customers can follow the store at

The Health Trust Launches Good. To Go. Initiative: Corner Stores Celebrate Healthy Makeovers

The Health Trust, its partners, and elected officials will celebrate the launch of the Good. To Go. 
initiative and showcase the first "conversion" of a San Jose corner store on September 17th, 2014,10am-11am.  Emit Mini Mart is the first local food retailer to convert part of its floor space to provide fresh, fun and healthy food to a wide array of San Jose residents. See photos and descriptions of Good. To Go. Corner store conversions at our Facebook page.

This is a fundamental shift away from the increasing health hazards of processed, sugary foods delivered to the nation’s kids. We expect to have local elected officials on hand, as well as local Latino radio personalities. Good. To Go. is also part our overall effort to provide healthy food to deprived neighborhoods via Fresh Carts. That effort won The Health Trust The Google Bay Area Impact Challenge in June 2014. 

Many San Jose neighborhoods rely on local corner stores and mini marts for their food purchases – businesses where snack foods and sugary beverages are plentiful while fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce.  The Health Trust Good. To Go. initiative is changing this by increasing the number of places where fresh and healthy foods can be conveniently and affordably purchased and, equally importantly, by marketing these new “fun, fast, fresh” foods as a superior competitor to packaged convenience foods.  Emit Mini Mart is one of dozens of stores participating in the initiative through healthy makeovers.

Who: The Health Trust CEO Frederick J. Ferrer, Damian Trujillo, members of San Jose City Council, members of Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, participating Healthy Corner Store owners, Fresh Carts vendors, Good. To Go. partner organizations
When: September 17th, 2014, 10am-11am
Where:  Emit Mini Mart, 1492 Almaden Road, San Jose, CA 95125

About Healthy Corner Stores The Healthy Corner Store campaign is being launched this year by Hispanic Chamber of Commerce- Silicon Valley (HCCSV) to provide equipment, upgrades, training, marketing materials, and business development assistance to store owners who agree to carry fresh produce and other healthy “grab-n-go” items. Forty stores will be converted over two years with help from HCCSV’s bilingual business advisors and managers, The Food Trust, Salter Mitchell, and The Health Trust.   For more information, visit

About Good. To Go.Good. To Go. is a community-based campaign aimed at increasing San Jose residents’ purchase of produce and healthy foods.  The campaign is organized through a network of on-the-ground, trusted community vendors, including corner store retailers, Fresh Cart mobile produce vendors, and urban farmers. Participating vendors receive branded materials, marketing assistance, and media coverage to drive consumer demand for the new “fun, fast, fresh” items atGood. To Go. outlets. For more information, visit the Good. To Go.Facebook page:

About The Health TrustThe Health Trust is a nonprofit foundation that provides grants, services and advocacy to support its vision of Silicon Valley as the healthiest region in America through its three initiatives – Healthy Living, Healthy Eating, and Healthy Aging. The Health Trust Healthy Eating Initiative works to increase access to healthy foods through policy and system change. The Health Trust won Google’s Bay Area Impact Challenge in June for its proposal to create new distribution channels for affordable produce in Santa Clara County, receiving $500,000 to distribute 50,000 pounds of produce to 10,000 low-income residents in Santa Clara Valley.  For more information,

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hotel De Anza is Getting a $5 Million Upgrade!

The historic (and awesomely Art Deco) Hotel De Anza is about to get a serious upgrade from its new owner, Lowe Enterprises. Being 84 years old, it has quite a storied past. It was one of the first luxury hotels in San Jose, hosting such guests as Eleanor Roosevelt, The DuPonts, Jack Dempsey, and Fred MacMurray. Then it fell into disrepair and was almost torn down in the 70's. Luckily, the late San Jose Redevelopment Agency saved the building and restored it. The Hotel De Anza as we know it today was re-opened in 1990, just in time to compliment the new San Jose Arena.

Now that over 20 years have gone by since the latest major renovation and the Downtown hotel market is doing very well, the timing is perfect for a major overhaul that will keep and perhaps even enhance its historic character. Lowe Enterprises is going to spend $35,000 on each room, which will include a full redesign of the rooms with modern bathrooms, new beds, new furniture, and newer tech/amenities. Another $1.5 million will go into upgrading common areas and other parts of the hotel.

In addition, Lowe is considering improving the food program and may even add another eatery on the ground floor that would be open to the street. I'm assuming this would be something more casual since they already have La Pastaia.

I consider this great news all around. This is one of my favorite buildings Downtown and it deserves a decent upgrade. Soon there will also be an AC Hotels building across the street, giving San Jose visitors a choice between both vintage and modern luxury on Santa Clara.

Source: SVBJ

Sunday, September 14, 2014

El Camino Real Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Below is a short video the VTA put together for the El Camino Real BRT project. Note that BRT is going to be branded as "Breeze" and is closer to Light Rail than bus service. There will be limited stops, partial dedicated lanes, and comfortable stations almost identical to Light Rail. The El Camino Real BRT line will start in Downtown San Jose and go all the way up to Palo Alto. For more info, have a look at the BRT Webpage.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Stats: San Jose Metro Tech Salaries Top San Francisco

Average salaries for the tech industry have risen meteorically over the last year. The average compensation for a tech worker in San Francisco is now $156,518. What could be crazier than that? Well, the average compensation in the San Jose Metro is $196,000!

Before your head explodes at that figure, note this is average compensation not median compensation. Execs wearing hoodies made of platinum thread and unicorn leather are factored into the formula. Speaking of hoodies, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg's $3.3 billion in stock options the average compensation for the mid-Peninsula is $291,497.

Source: SVBJ

Friday, September 12, 2014

14th Annual Antique Autos in History Park

This Sunday, History San Jose is hosting the largest Antique Auto Show on the West Coast! There will be over 200 antique autos, fire equipment, bikes, and more. For all of the details, just have a look at the brochure below.

SoFA Street Fair this Sunday!

The SoFA Street Fair is a free, all-ages music and art festival on September 14th. Three outdoor stages and multiple indoor stages will be setup throughout SoFA with dozens of performances from noon to night. You can see the musical schedule below. For more information click here or here.