Dittmer's set to reopen | June 1, 2012 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

Eating Out - June 1, 2012

Dittmer's set to reopen

Popular place for gourmet meats nearly ready, new grocery stores coming

by Daryl Savage and Rebecca Wallace

Rising from the ashes, the popular Dittmer's Gourmet Meats and Wurst-Haus is scheduled to reopen this month in Los Altos. A fire heavily damaged the original Dittmer's in Mountain View more than a year ago.

Fans of the 34-year-old family business' bratwurst, frankfurters, country-style bacon and other smoked, fresh and lunch meats should be pleased.

"Open, open, open," one person recently wrote on the Dittmer's Facebook page.

"I drive by with intense longing and near-accidents. Please open soon," another commenter urged.

The new store will be located at 4540 El Camino Real in the former Wells Fargo Bank building in the Village Court Shopping Center in Los Altos. Its 5,000-square-foot space has undergone a major transformation. Although the shell of the building remains, the interior has been redone, with artistically tiled walls, new wood floors and at least seven refrigerated display cases to hold the varieties of sausages and smoked and fresh meats.

Last week, store owners posted a photo on Facebook of the cases, all new and covered with plastic. "Getting closer. Meat cases came in today," the caption read. In response, 273 people "liked" the post.

The original Dittmer's, which was at 400 San Antonio Road in Mountain View, shut down after the two-alarm blaze in January 2011. Officials blamed the fire on a malfunctioning smoker. Wood chips inside got overheated and set alight due to a faulty thermostat switch, they said. The blaze was mainly in the attic and rafters, but the store's interior suffered heavy smoke damage.

Dittmer Bubert opened the store in 1978, crafting his meats with the traditional German methods he learned in his native Germany. His son and daughter are also involved in the business.

A longtime Mountain Vew resident, Bubert told the Voice last December that he was sorry to move his store out of the city. But, he noted, the new location is "right across the street from Mountain View."

A hot market for markets

In other food-related retail news, construction is well underway for the new market on the northeast corner of El Camino Real and San Antonio Road in Mountain View. It is expected to open under the Sprouts Farmers Market banner due to Sprouts' recent merger with Sunflower Farmers Market. Both stores specialize in fresh produce.

The combined company is expected to have about 150 stores, including a Sprouts that is already in operation at 111 E. El Camino Real in Sunnyvale.

The new Mountain View Sprouts is taking over the former sites of Rasputin Music and DSW Shoes. (Rasputin moved and reopened earlier this year at 1939 El Camino Real in Mountain View.)

Meanwhile, across the way on the southeast corner of El Camino and San Antonio, a new Safeway is sprouting. The 64,700-square-foot grocery store is estimated to be completed by the end of the year, city planner Melinda Denis said.

Neighboring Palo Alto is also expecting two new grocers. The Fresh Market, a North Carolina-based, European-style market, will open its first West Coast store in the Edgewood Plaza center on Embarcadero Road.

"The Fresh Market will be breaking ground soon in Edgewood Plaza for an expected opening in late 2012 or early 2013," said Thomas Fehrenbach, city economic development director for Palo Alto.

And in late summer or early fall, Miki's Farm Fresh Produce is scheduled to move in at 3445 Alma St. in Palo Alto. The company bills itself as "an all-encompassing organic grocery store." Owner Michael "Miki" Werness is a former manager at Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market, both in Berkeley.

Daryl Savage and Rebecca Wallace write for the Palo Alto Weekly, one of the Voice's sister papers. Send tips about retail news to shoptalk@paweekly.com.


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