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Los Gatos Tapas Bar Approved

Council votes unanimously to allow Enoteca La Storia owners Michael Guerra and Joe Cannistraci to operate Spanish-style restaurant/wine bar at Los Gatos Shopping Center.

will soon open in Los Gatos thanks to the Council giving the business the green light to operate.

On Aug. 6, town officials voted unanimously to allow owners Michael Guerra and Joe Cannistraci the necessary permit to begin selling their small platillos at 424 N. Santa Cruz Ave., a retail space that's been divided by Los Gatos Shopping Center owner Jim Zanardi and which was formerly 2 Fabulous Salon.

The new 990-square-foot, 20-seat business will be just three doors down fron ELS, next door to and will sell a modest selection of wines, which will be paired with tapas.

The tapas bar's hours of operation would be 3-10 p.m., Sunday and Monday; 3-11 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; 3-12 midnight Thursday through Saturday. A bakery that will be allowed on the premises is not restricted to those hours.

No outdoor seating would be allowed. On May 23, the Los Gatos Planning Commission recommended the Council approve the restaurant's request with modified hours of operation and alcoholic beverage service.

Councilwoman Diane McNutt noted that the permit runs with the land and expressed concern that once businesses open they may change and the only way to control what will replace them is by conditions granted with the permit.

McNutt wanted to know if the term wine bar is broad enough to allow the use to adapt to the market place. "This is a whole new concept. It's very trendy. It's likely to be popular, but tastes change ... if at some point, it wants to be more of a restaurant than a wine, is that OK?" McNutt asked.

The answer would be no, staff answered.

The establishment will also feature a raw shell fish bar that will include oysters, clams and mussels, based on food served in San Sebastian in Spain where seafood is highly consumed due to its proximity to the ocean. The shell fish bar will also feature Spanish sauces.

Cannistraci said they're working with strategic partner Jorge Bianchi, who's originally from San Sebastian, the culinary mecca of Spain, and who lives in Los Gatos and is married to a woman who's had a civil engineering firm in Los Gatos for 30 years.

Guerra said he had traveled to Spain for seven days to do research on tapas bars in San Sebastian. "We're really excited to bring this concept to Los Gatos," he said. "We're going to try to make it as authentic as we can."

The business will also have a wholesale bakery in the rear, which will operate during different hours.

"I don't foresee us becoming a [full] bakery. I don't foresee us becoming a brewery. This concept is similar to what we're doing with Enoteca, but in a little bit smaller space and doing some more fun things food wise," Guerra said.

"I'm very excited that we're bringing to Los Gatos a very authentic tapas bar ... Los Gatos is a culinary destination ... we're trying to replicate a very fine culinary tapas place ... I think we have all the ingredients to do so," Bianchi added.

Tamara Archer August 20, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Sounds delicious and love the concept! Looking forward to checking it out :)
Mike Calahan August 20, 2012 at 03:11 PM
This sounds like a great idea. When are they looking to open?
Jeanne Rajabzadeh August 20, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I have been watching them work on the space all summer. Can't wait for it to open. Sounds like a fun place, something different!
Larry Arzie August 20, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Don't let the FULL parking lot in front fool you. There is public parking lot that backs up to the restaurant in the rear. Also don't forget that wine by volume has more alcohol than a highball.
Jennifer Croll August 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I think this is great! Welcome!
Ivy Daley August 20, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Love tapas-very excited about the fresh shellfish bar!
Esmée St James August 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Perfect, I love this place already!
Dyan Chan August 22, 2012 at 12:12 AM
yum! sounds good!
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz August 22, 2012 at 05:00 AM
Looking forward to trying out this place!

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