Danville Express

Newsfront - September 7, 2007

What's happening downtown?

Danville Hotel to become new lunch spot

by Natalie O'Neill

Danville diners who bemoan the closing of Lisa B's bistro will soon have another reason to eat out for lunch.

A casual sandwich spot will take the place of the popular venue that closed in the Danville Hotel in January.

Sideboard Neighborhood Coffeehouse and Kitchen, a coffee shop-restaurant, has signed a leasing agreement with Castle Companies, the organization that owns the historic area.

"It's the kind of place you can sit and work at your computer or wait and meet friends," said owner Ford Andrews, adding that it will have free wireless Internet.

Individually fresh-ground cups of coffee along with pastries baked onsite, sandwiches and salads will make the place an excellent outdoor lunch and breakfast location, he said. It is expected to open in two months.

"We're very excited about it," said Tom Baldacci, who owns the property through the Castle Companies. "(The leaser) has a great background and it's much easier to work with individuals as opposed to a chain."

Andrews has been a partner at Scott's Seafood Grill and Bar in Walnut Creek, and he will be renovating the location to "open it up." He'll also be adding new appliances, equipment and changing the restaurant to meet health code, said Gary Riele, leasing agent for the Danville Hotel.

"He's basically renovating the whole thing," Riele said, adding that Andrews was the right fit for the location.

With several restaurants opting for the venue, leasers felt Andrews would be the best fit and signed him on a couple months ago.

"He has had a lot of enthusiasm," Riele said.

Apple-smoked bacon, tomato and avocado sandwiches, short-rib sandwiches and Ceasar salads are just some of what the lunch menu offers. Dinner options are in the works, Andrews said. Patrons will order at the counter, along with their coffees, and then staff will bring their plates to them.

Other changes to the area behind the Danville Hotel - including narrowing Railroad Avenue and building retail and apartment venues - are somewhat in limbo, Baldacci said. But the plans will likely go before the Town Planning Commission early next year.

The Danville Historic Design Review Committee has been examining remodeling plans to ensure the design plans mesh with Danville's existing character and meet regulations in the beloved historical district. The town has also hired a historical architect for input on how to make the new structures fit with what already exists.

"It's a little bit of a tennis match," Baldacci said of the lengthy approval process.

Much review, including both functionality and aesthetics, has called for multiple drafts and discussions about both the appearance and the functionality of remodeling downtown. Traffic, parking and architectural style have been the subject of many meetings.

Baldacci also said Castle Companies made and attempted to buy the building on Hartz Avenue owned by the San Ramon Valley Times but his offer wasn't accepted.

The plans for the area behind the Danville Hotel are still about three years away from completion, Baldacci said.


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