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San Mateo's Astaria to close, become A3
March 30, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal Kitchen staff at Astaria Restaurant and Bar in downtown San Mateo talk between preparing meals. Much of the restaurant's team will remain as it is transformed into a new restaurant starting next month called A3 that is scheduled to open in June.

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal

One of downtown San Mateo's hottest spots hopes to get even hotter in the coming months as owners Alicia Petrakis and Eleni Lolas will close their Astaria Restaurant and Bar and launch a new restaurant at the former Benjamin Franklin Hotel called A3.

After 10 years, Astaria will close its doors March 31 when it serves its final Easter Sunday brunch.

Petrakis and Lolas plan to start an extensive remodel of the space as soon as Astaria closes and hope to have A3 open in June after six to eight weeks of remodeling, Petrakis told the Daily Journal.

The new restaurant will have the same team and same energy with a new atmosphere, menu and new name, she said.

A3 will offer a more urban experience as downtown itself has been transformed with all the new young adults who work for tech companies that call the area home.

"The area is evolving and the demographics are changing," Petrakis said.

A3 is not a new idea, she said, but with the Benjamin Franklin now being occupied by the Draper University of Heroes, after sitting empty for nearly a decade, there is more certainty that a new restaurant will survive in the spot, she said.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper is now the restaurant's landlord and recently extended it a five-year lease.

Petrakis and Lolas have noticed that people and the way they dine are ever evolving.

While Astaria guests love the food, it is sometimes too much for them, they contend.

They are calling their new spot A3 because it will be essentially the third stage of Astaria's evolution after opening in 2003 and then changing its menu dramatically in between.

A3 will introduce a menu of vibrant flavors that encourages sharing and socializing at the table, Petrakis said. Petrakis and Lolas want customers to be able try several things on the menu every time they visit.

The duo also hopes to attract some of the crowd from restaurant-rich B Street up to their section of downtown, which is more retail oriented.

A3 Restaurant and Bar will feature organic, sustainable products from local farms and its own roof-top garden. It will also serve hand-crafted cocktails and plenty of items made from scratch.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106



Tags: restaurant, petrakis, astaria, lolas, after, downtown,

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