Los Altos is a sleepy little town nestled in the hills of Santa Clara County. Its beginnings go back to 1906 when 140 acres of land between Mountain View and Palo Alto were purchased by Paul Shoup from Sarah Winchester (of Winchester Mystery House fame). Building began in 1907, but the town really exploded after World War II. Los Altos became well-known for its apricot orchards and for the clouds of golden acacia blossoms that were mailed across the country. Today, Los Altos residents include the founders of some of the largest tech companies in the area, such as HP’s David Packard, Apple’s Steve Jobs, and Adobe’s Chuck Geschke. While Los Altos may be small, it has many hidden gems worth exploring.
Manresa Bread, founded by Avery Ruzicka in 2013, is much more than just bread. While their fresh rolls, cookies, and pastries are enough to satisfy any sweet tooth, they also sell treats such as handmade granola and coffee made with beans from Santa Cruz-based Verve. Direct importing their own wheat berries, stone milling their flours daily, and hand-shaping all breads sets them apart from an average bakery. Savvy customers know to arrive early, because Manresa tends to sell out of bread quickly.
Staffed by “students, teachers, librarians, storytellers, and children’s literature experts and enthusiasts,” Linden Tree Children’s Books is an indie bookstore selling children’s books and toys, as well as books for teens and adults. Formed in 1981 by Dennis and Linda Ronberg, this bookstore has a well-curated and diverse line of products. The toys for sale include puppets and book-related dolls, science and math games, art materials, and puzzles, making it the perfect place to shop for children’s gifts. Linden Tree also hosts events, including book readings and trivia nights.
Chef Chu’s first opened its doors in 1970 and has been a local favorite ever since. Lawrence C. C. Chu (Chef Chu) still plays an active role in the kitchen and daily operations of the restaurant, and it is his energy, culinary philosophy, and creative menu that has played a major part in the restaurant’s success. The fame of Chef Chu’s has spread far beyond the Bay Area—portraits on the wall showcase some of the most well-known guests, including former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, basketball star Jeremy Lin, former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, and a young Justin Bieber.
Founded in 1995, the Los Altos Stage Company is a non-profit theater company dedicated to “engaging the community and artists in creating and experiencing intimate, professional-quality theater.” This neighborhood theater company produces a diverse set of shows each season, seeking to display the full canon of American theater. The theater only has 99 seats, which creates a cozy and intimate setting, bringing the audience into the performance in ways that are simply not possible in a larger setting. With over 100 shows under their belt, the Los Altos Stage Company is a staple of quality, community-centered theater in the Bay Area.
In late 2015, Rod Newman opened Honcho, affectionately named after how his mother would chide: “Look who’s the head honcho.” Rod seeks to work with local breweries and wineries as much as possible. The menu is constantly changing in order to provide the best of the best to customers. Honcho offers small plates, such as popcorn with dill and cheddar, and low-proof cocktails, which are made with wine, sherry, beer, or vermouth as the base. After a long work week, customers can grab a drink and relax on the dog-friendly patio—the perfect way to wind down.
Explore more of Fremont with the hashtag #ExploreLosAltos, or discover all of Silicon Valley with the hashtag #ContentExplore.
Written by Elle Mitchell
Photos by Arabela Espinoza and Daniel Garcia