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Palo Alto's Tam Tam to close, but owners hope to reopen elsewhere

Uploaded: Nov 13, 2020
The owners of Tamarine announced that their more casual Vietnamese spinoff Tam Tam, opened in downtown Palo Alto last fall, will be closing this weekend.

Tanya Hartley and Tammy Huynh decided to not renew their lease at 140 University Ave., they wrote in an Instagram post. Tam Tam's last day will be this Sunday, Nov. 15.

Tam Tam's banh xeo, or moon crepes, filled with shrimp, pork, jicama, bean sprouts and mung beans. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The sisters and co-owners opened Tam Tam last September, wanting to bring a more casual, less expensive and "strictly Vietnamese" restaurant to the area. The large corner space has seen numerous restaurants come and go over the years. Before Tam Tam, the space was occupied by Opa Authentic Greek Cuisine, Palo Alto Grill, the short-lived alkymists and Miyake.

Hartley said the coronavirus shutdown has been hard for the relatively new restaurant, which initially shifted to takeout only in the spring and then resumed outdoor and indoor dining more recently — though with only two outdoor tables. Reopening the dining room didn't help much, Hartley said, because Tam Tam hadn't been open long enough pre-pandemic to develop an established customer base.

"COVID made it hard for our future in Palo Alto," Hartley said.

Tam Tam opened in 2019 in the space previously occupied by Opa Mediterranean restaurant on the western end of University Avenue. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

They're hoping to find a new space for Tam Tam in the area, Hartley said. In the meantime, they plan to offer a few Tam Tam dishes down the street at Tamarine, which is open for indoor and outdoor dining.

The sisters are also still planning to open a fast-casual Vietnamese eatery in Mountain View.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Old and in the way, a resident of Downtown North,
on Nov 13, 2020 at 8:39 pm

Old and in the way is a registered user.

This doesn't exactly surprise me. My husband and I thought we'd try them during the Before Time, a few months after they opened. It was 5:30 pm and there were two other couples in the room, which was otherwise deserted. We asked for a table, and they offered us a seat in the bar. I don't care for those tall chairs, so I asked why we couldn't be seated at one of the vacant tables. The host's reply was that those tables were booked for 6:30 (an hour away!) so he couldn't let us have one. Didn't bother to tell him my husband is the champion speed eater of Palo Alto. Just went somewhere else where they wanted to fill a table for an hour.

Posted by JF , a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Nov 14, 2020 at 4:08 pm

JF is a registered user.

Just like Tamarin, overpriced yet surprisingly low quality food and not so surprisingly awful service we came to expect from this group. Effectively, lowest food quality per dollar spend in the 10mi radius; guaranteed. Luckily many great restaurants will continue to operate and hope we can all support them.

Posted by Sorry to hear this, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 14, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Sorry to hear this is a registered user.

Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry to hear this. We have loved Tam Tam. I loved both the sit down experience and the takeout. Can't wait to hear where you land as we will be back. Also LOVE Tamarine. Our absolute favorite restaurant in Palo Alto.

Posted by AlexDeLarge, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 15, 2020 at 8:48 pm

AlexDeLarge is a registered user.

That location is the kiss of death...

Posted by Lee Forrest, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 17, 2020 at 10:52 am

Lee Forrest is a registered user.

>"...overpriced yet surprisingly low quality food"

^Considering the actual food costs & prep...many 3rd world 'street' dining offerings should reflect 3rd world street menu pricing.

In lieu of a street vendor cart, a corner food truck would seemingly suffice in order to escape exorbitant PA commercial rent costs.

Posted by Pat Markevitch, a resident of Downtown North,
on Nov 17, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Pat Markevitch is a registered user.

Now Gravity Bar is closed too. That is the 4th downtown restaurant to close this year. Sad.

Posted by chris, a resident of University South,
on Nov 23, 2020 at 11:21 am

chris is a registered user.

Although Gravity is now permanently closed, it hasn't been open in a long, long time.

I think the number of restaurants closed in downtown PA is more than 4.

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