650 News: Astaria in San Mateo Becoming A3, John Paul Carmona Rumors

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Astaria. Yelp photo by Todd N.

Sunday March 31st will be ~ASTARIA~’s last day in San Mateo. Owners Alicia Petrakis and Eleni Lolas will be closing the restaurant (which is in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel) for a major remodel, with plans to reopen in June as a new place entirely: ~A3~. The new restaurant aims for a hipper, more urban vibe, with dishes intended for sharing and a full bar with a rooftop patio garden. Stand by for more details on a reopening date. I’ll always have a soft spot for the Benjamin Franklin Hotel—our family friend Freda used to work there (they don’t build them like her anymore), and I remember they had a machine that dispensed Shalimar in the ladies room (Freda was a BIG fan). 50 E. 3rd Ave. at S. San Mateo, 650-344-9444.

John Paul Carmona, the former chef de cuisine at Manresa, has thrown some fuel on the rumor fire with comments he made about opening a new place on the Peninsula. According to Grub Street, he talked about opening a new place in an undisclosed town in the 650 while cooking at the Pigs & Pinot event this weekend. No word on the location or much of the concept, only that it will be “a casual concept with high standards” and a cocktail bar will be attached.