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Palo Alto Grocery Store on the Brink of Closure Saved by Two Customers

Country Sun Natural Foods on California Avenue was bought by two frequent customers who wanted to keep the store from closing

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The exterior of Country Sun, a grocery store in Palo Alto. Google Maps
Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

A comeback is an unusual but welcomed trend that’s followed the closing of a few beloved Bay Area restaurants in 2023, with establishments like Stonemill Matcha, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, and Sláinte going through the motions of closure — only to be brought back by fans, customers, and former employees. Such is the case over at Palo Alto’s Country Sun Natural Foods, which initially announced its impending December closure back in October 2023. Now, Palo Alto Online reports that the California Avenue store was bought by two “frequent customers who are well-known to Country Sun staff,” according to the news outlet.

Those two customers — who prefer to stay anonymous, Palo Alto Online reports — pulled together the resources to purchase the store, created a business plan, sought business advice from established businesses such as Dandelion Chocolate, and worked out a rent reduction with the building’s owners. Former CEO Scott Otte has left the business, and now a new leadership structure will be installed at the store.

Bird flu tears through Sonoma County

News of Avian Influenza infiltrating Sonoma County has been out there since early December, crescendoing as the owners of favorite duck purveyor Liberty Ducks let customers know the disease has also afflicted their flock. The Mercury News looked at the damage and it’s not pretty: Due to Avian Influenza, 1.1 million potentially infected birds were slaughtered. Yet despite swiftly moving to quarantine farms and eradicating the birds, the flu continued to spread. Liberty Ducks and Sunrise Farms are among the affected farms highlighted in the story, but altogether the Mercury reports that 4.5 million chickens, ducks, and turkeys were killed across five California counties in just two months. A state of emergency has been declared by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

Food trucks coming to the Tenderloin

A new food truck gathering debuts in the Tenderloin starting Saturday, January 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Hoodline reports. Setting up at Larkin and Eddy streets, the gathering will feature two affordable food trucks and music. After Saturday’s event, the gatherings are scheduled for every Wednesday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., until March 30.

‘Alpine chalet pop-up’ set for the East Bay

Danville’s Blossom & Root is best known for its plant-based dishes, and now the restaurant will host married chefs Sally and Marius Kamber for a three-day, “Alpine chalet pop-up” running Wednesday, January 3 through Friday, January 5. Sally Kamber hails from Michelin-starred KLE in Zurich and Marius Kamber is chef de cuisine at KLE sister restaurant (and Bib Gourmand-listed) DAR; Sally Kamber is a Danville native, and during the couple’s break in the Bay Area, she and Marius will cook up dishes “melding Alpine traditions with local California ingredients,” a press release shares. It’s a “mix and match format” featuring four plates for $34 per person or four plates for $42 per person. Service on January 3 and 4 will run from 4 to 7:30 p.m., and Friday’s service will span both lunch and dinner, running from 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Reservations are recommended and more information can be found via the Blossom & Root website.