Kerry Chan/Daily Journal
Longtime San Mateo restaurant 231 Ellsworth recently shut its doors.
Downtown San Mateo’s 231 Ellsworth shuts its doors after 28 years of fine dining and service.
In February, 231 Ellsworth was still considering plans to remodel and revise the formal dining room into a more modern and open space but Jeff Barnes, an agent from Intero Realty representing the owners, said it would have been a substantial investment.
Barnes said the owners decided that it was time to close the business, sell the property and get on with the next chapter of their lives.
The restaurant was known for its waiters in white-collared shirts and black suits serving sophisticated dishes such as Osetra caviar and quail egg, venison loin and oxtail ravioli. However, it struggled to compete with a crop of new restaurants that caters to an emerging clientele.
“If you just take a walk in downtown San Mateo you can see it has changed a lot and restaurants need to appeal to more a younger crowd,” Barnes said.
Astaria, another downtown San Mateo restaurant, recently went through a transformation and re-emerged as Three Restaurant and Bar, a chic space with an open kitchen and menus on the wall offering items like Brie Phyllo Poppers and Braised Oregon cod.
Like Astaria, 31st Union, The Attic and other San Mateo restaurants are moving with the trend of a less formal atmosphere. Ristorante Cappellini, another upscale restaurant, closed in March.
During the last months leading up to the closure, 231 Ellsworth made an effort to revamp the menu and promote Happy Hour by offering bar bites and drinks specials.
Chez Rueda, a patron who celebrated Mother’s Day and other special occasions at 231 Ellsworth, was disappointed in the closure.
“What a bummer,” said Rueda.