Two restaurants short of a destination

Continuing our cooltown audit of developments across the San Francisco Bay Area, our next stop is in San Mateo, north of San Jose (and Santana Row, as reviewed just previously.)

The historic main street downtown is coming around with new, independent restaurants and stores, though it’s still missing some sense of identity that an active, grand pedestrian-oriented public place would provide. They were very close with the plaza fronting the Century Theaters (pictured), but weren’t able to provide any reason for people to actually inhabit the space rather than walk right through it.

They needed two popular, local indie restaurants with outdoor seating to fill the space, the first step in establishing a neighborhood on the comeback. Unlike Fruitvale Village, profiled last week, this plaza has a major advantage in having a social traffic draw via the theater, but there’s no reason for them to linger once the movie is over.