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Menlo Hub owner evicted, restaurant closes

Uploaded: Jan 28, 2014
Menlo Hub at 1029 El Camino Real in Menlo Park has closed, with the owner in major debt to the landlord.

Owner Mehmet Erkus said he was behind rent for about six months "due to slow business."

Landlord Jean Chen said Erkus' debt stretched back to 2012, but she wanted to give a "young guy" a chance. However, she said an eventual grand total of $150,000 in debt prompted her to file an unlawful detainer complaint in November of last year.

The Menlo Hub website, now down, posted a message in early 2014 that the restaurant would be closed for construction for the month of January. Erkus said he did this in the hopes that he and Chen would find a solution.

He said he had possible partners he wanted to bring in to help save the sinking ship, but Chen turned him down. He vacated the property on Jan. 13.

"She said she didn't want to work with me anymore," Erkus said. "Legally I am at default. She had the right to take over the restaurant."

What formerly opened as Oak City Bar & Grill six years ago morphed into Menlo Hub under Erkus in 2012, with a new name, look and feel.

Above: A Friday night at Menlo Hub in June 2012. Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.

"I wanted to create a neighborhood place, a bar everyone could come to freely (with) a friendly atmosphere," Erkus said. "It didn't work out. I guess there's a difference with a single person trying to be everything, especially at a place this big. Menlo Hub requires a professional team and so many managers. I tried to do it by myself and unfortunately, (it was) not realistic."
What is it worth to you?


Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Jan 29, 2014 at 3:17 pm

So now we have too large vacant restaurants on the same block of El Camino. The food trucks at the strain station maybe become the only places to eat in town.

Posted by c-ya, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:11 am

erkus was a nice enough guy, but he clearly had no idea how to run that business. his quote in the "article" show how he totally missed the boat and didn't understand that he was in the restaurant business, not the bar business - that's why the food sucked and his customers went away. the original oak city chef kerry dolan's fried chicken, mac and cheese and meatloaf made that place - when she left (almost immediately after erkus took over) along with her comfort food recipes, they were sunk.

Posted by WP, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 12:27 pm

We tried it twice for drinks and appetizers and the food was underwhelming. There are lots of great options in Palo Alto, it would be great if a more experienced restaurant operator could come in and make something successful. It's kind of sad with Su Hong and Menlo Hub out of business, Applewoods is good but that stretch of El Camino in Menlo Park could use more successful restaurants.

Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm

This stretch of ECR has become a culinary wasteland. With Menlo Hub and the former Su Hong occupying the same building, it's time for the owner to give it a reboot.

Posted by My2Bits, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Agree - the food at Menlo Hub was lousy and it felt odd to sit in an empty restaurant. Our biggest issue with Oak City and Menlo Hub is lack of parking around that location. It is just a pain to park and get in - so the food and ambience has to be worth the hassle. It would be wonderful to attract more fresh and forward restaurants to the area. We would much rather eat in Menlo Park than drive to Palo Alto or Redwood City.

Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 12:53 pm

No loss here. The food was awful & the bar was unappealing with zero personality. I hope Ms. Chen eventually gets back some of her money.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Two restaurants down on this block but Trellis continues to shine. I hope that those diners who formerly visited the Hub will transfer their business to this little gem of a restaurant so that it will continue to thrive and provide lovely meals Menlo Park residents well into the future.

Posted by walk2town, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Trellis - great food and roof-top dining deck ....still there for your enjoyment.

Posted by DowntownBusiness, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Trellis is great... and luckily there will be more options to come. Word on the street is that the former counsel of Facebook is investing in a new gourmet restaurant. It will be at the old Gambardella's site across from the Martin law office / wealth management building, and will feature a known chef. Not on El Camino, but my hope is that this will make for fewer trips to Palo Alto for those business lunches. Can't wait!

Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm

I'm not convinced that any restaurant can survive there. The property appears to be too big for the clientele that location can attract. Experienced restaurateurs have struggled there, including Joey Altman (when it was the Wild Hare which only lasted three years).

The building owner should divide the space into two before considering taking on another restaurant. Both spaces don't need to be F&B outlets, one could be retail/office space/etc.

However, to turn the property loose on Yet Another Restaurateur doesn't seem like the wisest course of action.

Posted by Diner, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 7:50 pm

The lack of anything to do at night in Menlo Park, especially since the BBC was shut down and the lack of restaurant variety and quality it really making it tough to support the community.

Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:34 am

Never even heard of the place. Menlo Park is just not the place to eat in, or do anything else for that matter as far as going out is concrened. There are a couple of good restaurants in downtown Palo Alto and on California Ave, but we enjoy the restaurants on Castro St in Mountain View the best.

Posted by GSteele, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills,
on Jan 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Feel bad for Mehmet, a really good guy. As Oak City he had some really good dishes. The moussaka was very good as was a bolognese dish and shrimp in a clay pot with eggplant, etc., all with a Mediterranean (Turkish) flair. In recent times, the Chicken/Ribs thing wasn't too good, pizza was okay but the competition next door was better. MP still has some pretty good places, Left Bank, LB Steak, Bistro Vida is excellent, Barone's, etc.; but I will miss Mehmet.

Posted by CURIOUS, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Feb 1, 2014 at 7:11 am


Posted by mary, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle,
on Feb 3, 2014 at 5:10 pm

What is with Su Hong? Why has it never reopened?

Posted by Save Menlo fro Save Menlo, a resident of another community,
on Feb 3, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Trellis is for sale; don\\\'t you understand that those trying to "Save Menlo" are driving anyone and everyone (who wants to do business in Menlo) away? Nice El Camino Corridor that they won\\\'t let anyone do anything with because it will mean change, and change they don\\\'t want! And boy, those food trucks will really be a great addition to such a vital (not) downtown.

Posted by Mefell, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks,
on Mar 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Too bad, we loved going to Oak City with Mark and Myles behind the bar and Kerry\'s great cooking. We did benefit by meeting couples at the bar we have made beyond-the-bar-scene friends with. Mehmet is a great guy and I feel for him. He did give it his heart and soul.

Posted by Harry, a resident of another community,
on Jun 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Is the building housing the old Oak City Bar and Grill what used to be the Underground Hofbrau back in 1969?

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