A Campbell bakery known for its viral spiral croissants is expanding to Palo Alto, Tin Pot Creamery is pivoting to retail sales and Filoli's cafe has a new vendor. Here's the latest dining news around the Peninsula:
Tin Pot Creamery shutters scoop shops
Tin Pot Creamery's Peninsula scoop shops have closed following owner Becky Sunseri's bittersweet decision to transition the popular Peninsula ice cream brand to sales in grocery stores, citing concerns about the uncertainty of retail businesses and a desire to bring her ice cream offerings to a broader audience. The local chain was stationed in Palo Alto's Town & Country Village, Campbell's Pruneyard Shopping Center, Los Altos' State Street Market, and in the Bay Meadows development in San Mateo. Only the Chase Center location in San Francisco remains.
"I think in the last several years, the liabilities of having brick and mortar became crystallized to me," says Sunseri, a Redwood City resident.
Since she began her journey in the ice cream industry, she's become a parent to three young children.
"In order to be able to have something that works for my life and the business long term, it feels like grocery (distribution) is one of the ways we can continue to bring great ice cream to people," she says. "It's an evolution of the business."
Even before the pandemic hit, the landscape for food retailers was changing. Delivery apps were on the rise, and foot traffic patterns were headed in the wrong direction, she says.
So Sunseri and her team started the switch to grocery retail by debuting their eight most popular flavors in newly designed pint containers. They shuttered their scoop shops at the end of 2022.
The ice cream is made at a commercial kitchen in San Carlos and is currently being offered at Whole Foods locations throughout Northern California, Bianchini's Markets and soon, Raley's and Nugget grocery stores. They'll aim to expand to the Pacific Northwest and then nationally.
At least two of the shuttered Tin Pot Creamery locations will be replaced by different ice cream brands: The Penny Ice Creamery will fill the Palo Alto spot, while Humphry Slocombe will move into the Campbell space.
Santa Cruz-based ice cream brand The Penny Ice Creamery expected to open in April at Town & Country Village. The popular ice cream shop offers ice cream cones topped with marshmallow fluff, hand-torched to give it a s'mores flavor. Flavors range from traditional options like fresh mint chip to Verve coffee with chocolate almond praline and bourbon bacon chocolate.
The ice cream is made completely from scratch, including pasteurizing the dairy themselves, according to co-owner Zach Davis. For instance, while preparing the brand's mint chip ice cream, they add the mint leaves after it has been pasteurized and chilled; if the mint leaves are added to a hot mixture, the leaves can bruise and cause bitterness. The Penny works to source materials from local farmers and is eager to connect with the Santa Clara County farming community to explore "hyper local flavors," he says.
This will be the ice cream brand's first location outside of Santa Cruz County and its fifth overall, joining shops in Aptos, Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz.
"I know that there's a lot of people that appreciate good food, and food that has a great intention that goes into it," Davis says.
The Penny Ice Creamery, 855 El Camino Real #121, Palo Alto, 831-204-2523; Instagram: @thepennyicecreamery.
Quail Cafe boosts dining options with new vendor
Filoli, the historic estate with meticulously maintained gardens in Woodside, has partnered with Epicurean Group, a women- and minority-owned business, to provide food service at the on-site Quail Café. The partnership is expected to bring fresh food made on-site, more grab-and-go snack and drink offerings in the garden and gourmet-focused special events.
The Los Altos-based food services management company says it focuses on providing sustainable foods and plans to use produce sourced directly from Filoli's recently renovated vegetable garden, according to a press statement.
The cafe's winter menu includes Caesar, southwestern and beet salads; caprese, black forest ham and tri tip sandwiches; a sesame tofu wrap; and fresh baked quiche and daily soups, in addition to pastries such as scones, muffins, brownies and cookies.
The dining area at Quail Café reopened Feb. 8 following renovations. Food offerings are expected to expand with renovations complete, according to an Instagram post from Filoli.
The cafe is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Reservations and cash payments are not accepted.
Viral spiral croissant maker coming to Palo Alto
Marvel Cake, a Campbell bakery best known for its spiral croissants, has a new Palo Alto location currently expected to open in mid-March.
The bakery is a family business started by Maryam Menbari, according to her husband Reza Mirzadeh, who also works for the bakery along with their son. It began back in 2009 when Maryam was looking for a cake for Reza's birthday but couldn't find one that she liked. So she made her own.
"It came out really well," Reza says. She continued to bake for friends and family, but it wasn't until 2019 that the family got serious about building the baking into a business.
They opened Marvel Cake in Campbell in early 2020, hosting the grand opening three weeks before the pandemic hit. The business survived, and in 2021 and 2022, it began to thrive.
"Word of mouth helped us a lot," he says.
Today, the bakery has around 18 employees, and the team is looking to add seven or eight more for the Palo Alto location.
"We make everything from scratch," Reza Mirzadeh says.
The bakery's signature pastry is the cream-filled spiral croissant, made popular on TikTok. Additional offerings include cupcakes and custom cakes, including wedding cakes, alongside tarts and other patisserie offerings.
After seeing the spiral croissant from New York City's Lafayette Bakery growing in popularity, the Mirzadeh family decided to try making their own. Reza says the bakery often sells out of the spiral croissants within the first hour of opening, and customers have come from as far as Sacramento to pick them up. They have created a limit of three croissants per person and only one of each flavor (strawberry, chocolate and pistachio).
The new Palo Alto location will operate mainly as a retail outpost with the bulk of the baking done in Campbell, he says.