Novato uses recruiter to find new res...

Novato uses recruiter to find new restaurateurs

There are 72 comments on the Marin Independent Journal story from Jun 14, 2010, titled Novato uses recruiter to find new restaurateurs. In it, Marin Independent Journal reports that:

Looking to spark more downtown nightlife and foot traffic, Novato has hired a head hunter for restaurateurs.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Marin Independent Journal.

trees

Novato, CA

#41 Jun 15, 2010
Novato Transplant wrote:
OMG the comments about parking in Novato KILL me. After living in the City for 18 yrs, I just find that comical. I've never had to park more than a half block from where I need to go in downtown Novato. Although I will say the trees in every 5th parking spot are whatever were just DUMB. Does anyone know why they didn't plant them in the SIDEWALK, like everywhere else? What was the rationale there?
Your only answer is stupidity for the trees. You also must go downtown at midnight to park.
Free lunch

San Rafael, CA

#42 Jun 15, 2010
Novato Transplant wrote:
Does anyone know why they didn't plant them in the SIDEWALK, like everywhere else? What was the rationale there?
From what I've seen of Grant Ave, I would guess because if they were in the sidewalk they would be too close to the buildings and obstruct the sidewalk. They could have widened the sidewalk to address this, but then you'd be back to the issue of lost parking spaces. Downtowns (at least the healthier ones) don't have seas of surface parking as they are trying to encourage a more pedestrian-friendly and scaled environment. Some parking is provided on the street but parking strucutres take up the slack. I find it interesting that people complain about having to walk a block to a store but have no qualms about parking out in Timbuktu and having to walk a longer distance to the Target/Home Depot/mall/etc.

Since: Apr 10

Location hidden

#43 Jun 15, 2010
Novato Transplant wrote:
I don't know when you're going to Whole Foods, but every time I've been there - about a dozen times now since the opening - it's had a very healthy crowd. Whole Foods, which I was very skeptical of, has turned out to be a lifesaver and a wonderful addition to Novato. I can't see how anyone would be **** about ANOTHER grocery option. There are NO little 'bodegas' or produce markets as there are in the City and it's a great place to go to pick up a few onions or bread without having to negotiate a massive supermarket like Safeway.
Novato's restaurant woes are due to one of two things - most eateries are crappy low-end or pretentiously high end, and nearly ALL of them are overpriced. The town needs some cute midrange choices - think Crepevine in the City & San Rafael. A place that could double as a decent cafe - which doesn't exist in Novato - would be wonderful. Something unpretentious and sans white tablecloths but not greasy or processed would be just the ticket.
You can't complain about having more choices - what was ever wrong with that? And yes, Novato desperately needs a good Thai restaurant that isn't ridiculously priced.
I don't know when you're going to Whole Foods, but every time I've been there - about a dozen times now since the opening - it's had a very healthy crowd. Really when are you going there ? What time of day ? Two of my neighbors work there and they tell a different story along with myself. I personally go there two or three days a week and love it as easy shopping and quick checkout through the one or two checkout stands open. Do i walk grant ave shops ? No Why Parking, I tried that once and went shopping at whole foods and put them in my car. I then walked up and down Grant avenue and when i was walking back on the other side of the street i looked at the meter maid on her scooter stop at my car. End of subject me and grant ave.
Shopper

Novato, CA

#44 Jun 15, 2010
I also shop G & G market. Yes i live and work in Novato. Why do i do this ? Simple As i am sick and tired of the stores here. Trader Joes and their small parking lot, Whole foods and everything from china, The local stores and their prices. Shop G & G one time and you will say the drive is worth it.
FatFreddysCat

Tracy, CA

#45 Jun 15, 2010
So Novato City Government plants trees in every other parking spot downtown to hose parking, then hires a restaurant consultant to get more downtown restaurant business. What's next, will city government fill every parking space with trees?
Zorro-Dystopia

Petaluma, CA

#46 Jun 15, 2010
Hmmm wrote:
This idea proves that we have a very inefficient marketplace. Capitalism should have brought entrepreneurs to Novato not a head hunter. It seems to me bribery money for would be restauranteurs would be a better approach. It would probably work well.
Yes, the free marketplace is littered with barriers in Novato, thus the inefficiencies and business failures.

Hey, if we are going to bribe and subsidize, let's pay people to eat in Novato.
Whitetrash4life9 4947

Novato, CA

#47 Jun 15, 2010
All you will find in Novato are people that have decided to compromise.

As much as the city tries to gentrify itself, it will still be a crappy little hell-hole.

No amount of cafes and over-priced places for lunch will ever make Novato at all a 'desirable' place to live.
Ponder This

Novato, CA

#48 Jun 15, 2010
I have said many times on these boards that Novato is a culinary wasteland and that the restaurants in Novato serve formula food. There are always the home team idiots who respond with praise about the quality of the food in Novato, and who call those are critical of Novato "snobs."

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you say the word "demi-glace" in Novato, 95% of the people think you are talking about a wax you might use to polish your pick up truck, or worse, beautify that stunning motor home parked in the driveway!

Novato's food has all the taste and creativity found in a slice of Wonderbread! What more can one expect from such a white bread town?
Novato Transplant

San Rafael, CA

#49 Jun 15, 2010
I don't agree that Novato is a 'crappy little hell hole.' Sure it has some crappy hell-hole-ish little pockets, but Jesus, Mill Valley and Fairfax can be REALLY funky, too. I guess it depends on what one defines as a crappy little hell hole......you know, Detroit, Richmond, Lake Elsinore and the like. After being an urban dweller for so long, I find it novel to turn my suburban corner, spent five minutes walking up a hill, and feel like I'm in the middle of ranchland. It all comes down to one's point of reference, I suppose - I do note that Marinites love to bash one another - West Marin has their own ethos, Tiburon might as well build a peace wall at the town border, etc. Coming from the city, it's bizarre yet amusing. All of Marin is pretty nice, I think, relatively speaking.

As for Whole Foods, I've been there on weekend afternoons, weeknights after work, and for the first time this morning upon opening. At no time did it ever seem like a ghost town - just reasonably populated. I fail to understand how anyone could be irate at having more choices rather than less; is it really just the monolithic Millworks building that folks grousing about Whole Foods, or what?

Thinking that a grocery store of any kind will revitalize a lagging downtown - with little real industry and of a town with such spread out square mileage - is a bit naive, but it sounds like pretty much anything was in improvement over the past. A coworker of mine, now 39, grew up there, and she said there really wasn't much there.

Novato does lack many things - a real gym, for one. I couldn't believe there wasn't a Bally's, Gold's, World, Crunch, or even real 24 Hour Fitness in such a place - that was a bit of a surprise. Nor any decent, non chain cafes - even sleepy little beach towns in San Diego have those, so......? But in any case, it does seem to be looking up.........except for that horrid Dollar Store that's going in where Big Lots was. That should've been a Borders, World Market, or hey, Whole Foods. Any other ideas? I'd love to ehar what people think should've gone there instead.
Novato Transplant

San Rafael, CA

#50 Jun 15, 2010
LMAO @ demiglace comment!
Novato Transplant

San Rafael, CA

#51 Jun 15, 2010
But wait - as for white bread - isn't Novato the most diverse town in Marin (perhaps aside from San Rafael?)? Surely it's not more whitebread that Mill Valley or Belvedere.....unless by whitebread you simply mean less affluent, not necessarily 'whiter,' but I didn't read it that way.

I spent my last 4 years in the City living in the Outer Sunset, which I loved but which was also a culinary wasteland, with the exception of one darling Thai restaurant I adored. The rest of it was garbage - old folk's food ('formula') and ethic eateries (think Italian, for one) taken over by Chinese entrepreneurs who just couldn't churn out the same product as their predecessors. The Western Addition wasn't much better, though now I understand it is. Even if SF, you need to be near certain hubs.
love2eat

Novato, CA

#52 Jun 15, 2010
I love Wild Fox and E&OTrading Co? Forget about Larkspur. Head on down to Novato!
Catherine from Novato

San Leandro, CA

#53 Jun 15, 2010
Maybe Novato businesses should consider staying open later than 5:00 PM on weekdays or even, on weekends? Maybe even a Sunday? I HAVE to go to San Rafael or Petaluma to find a manicure shop open on a Sunday?

Walden mentioned Jersey Diner's....they're open 24/7 and serve breakfast/lunch/dinner all day -- not just at the "normal" hours for those meals. The best ones feature a variety of ethnic and American foods at reasonable prices, quickly, and in clean/comfortable surroundings. Shift workers, people getting home late, or trying to sober up after a night of partying have no place to go as the sidewalks are rolled up at Novato (& thruout Marin) at 9:30 or so. The few restaurants "open" until 10:30 are only open that late on Fri/Sat. It's safer to starve then eat at Denny's...too many scary hygiene issues.

Agree with the Gold's comment. ALSO, how about a decent bookstore or even a card store like a Hallmark? Get that theater open and producing something or tear it down.

How about a web-site that made it easy to find Novato's retailers in all of the town's nooks/crannies and get them to include their hours too! Petaluma and San Rafael have a concentrated downtown and have retained their downtown charm. The Millworks destroyed the old time charm and Novato is too spread out anyway...it's time to come up with a new paradigm for Novato, as the "old, charming downtown ship" has sailed.

For example: Embrace our "white bread red neck image instead of denying it! Novato an oasis of crass commercialism in hippie Marin! We've already got Mill Works, COSTCO, Target, multiple Safeways, and middle-class shopping malls. According to some posters we've even got the scary cops. So turn "downtown" into a lot of low-middle class suburban housing for young families and empty nesters/active seniors --- get that light rail stop in and you could make downtown Novato a transit hub to Novato's many retail "neighborhoods".

Since: Jan 09

Novato, CA

#54 Jun 15, 2010
Foodie wrote:
Also Novato did a "great" job of recruting a bunch of places to eat at the new Safeway plaza so that in itself takes business away from downtown.
I actually love those places near the new Safeway: Toast, Sonoma Latina, Pasta Moto... are all really good (haven't tried the bakery). I find myself down there a lot.

I've always thought that In&Out would be smart to open somewhere in Vintage Oaks, though I guess the ensuing traffic mess would be a major problem.
bridge to somewhere

United States

#55 Jun 15, 2010
I think that Novato is a really nice little town. We chose Petaluma as it is more livable and lively.

And yes, G&G is the best supermarket in Petaluma. We shop there often and just love it...

Target is coming to town in a new development. I am not thrilled but for some that will be one more reason to never leave town.

We have a wide variety of restaurants here and downtown is lovely.
Whitetrash4life9 4947

Novato, CA

#56 Jun 15, 2010
Catherine from Novato wrote:
Maybe Novato businesses should consider staying open later than 5:00 PM on weekdays or even, on weekends? Maybe even a Sunday? I HAVE to go to San Rafael or Petaluma to find a manicure shop open on a Sunday?
Walden mentioned Jersey Diner's....they're open 24/7 and serve breakfast/lunch/dinner all day -- not just at the "normal" hours for those meals. The best ones feature a variety of ethnic and American foods at reasonable prices, quickly, and in clean/comfortable surroundings. Shift workers, people getting home late, or trying to sober up after a night of partying have no place to go as the sidewalks are rolled up at Novato (& thruout Marin) at 9:30 or so. The few restaurants "open" until 10:30 are only open that late on Fri/Sat. It's safer to starve then eat at Denny's...too many scary hygiene issues.
Agree with the Gold's comment. ALSO, how about a decent bookstore or even a card store like a Hallmark? Get that theater open and producing something or tear it down.
How about a web-site that made it easy to find Novato's retailers in all of the town's nooks/crannies and get them to include their hours too! Petaluma and San Rafael have a concentrated downtown and have retained their downtown charm. The Millworks destroyed the old time charm and Novato is too spread out anyway...it's time to come up with a new paradigm for Novato, as the "old, charming downtown ship" has sailed.
For example: Embrace our "white bread red neck image instead of denying it! Novato an oasis of crass commercialism in hippie Marin! We've already got Mill Works, COSTCO, Target, multiple Safeways, and middle-class shopping malls. According to some posters we've even got the scary cops. So turn "downtown" into a lot of low-middle class suburban housing for young families and empty nesters/active seniors --- get that light rail stop in and you could make downtown Novato a transit hub to Novato's many retail "neighborhoods".
Very even-handed.

Yes, maybe with a lot a "revitalization", Novato could some day make itself a semi-desirable place to live. The likes of - oh, let's say Walnut Creek.

And I laugh. Is it "snobbish"? Yes.

Novato still is, and always will be, a very much 'pick-up trucks and Budweiser' kind of town.

As long as I see Confederate flags hung in windows, I'm going to call 'em as I see 'em.
Whitetrash4life9 4947

Novato, CA

#57 Jun 15, 2010
Whenever the topic of quality of life in Novato comes up, I can never fail to point out the fact that Novato has the highest concentration of convicted sex offenders in all of Marin. More than in San Rafael, which as 5,000-10,000 more people? I know they are everywhere nowadays and very easy to find out - But Novato seems to have a lot for the city of its size.

You don't get the protesting like we did a few years back in Southern Marin anymore. Perhaps because these offenders are far more common then people thought.

Check out how your city 'ranks' on Meghan's Law website
Marinite

AOL

#58 Jun 15, 2010
total waste of money. the city gives every business such a hard time when trying to comply. Remembet Golden egg
omelete house. It took over 1 year after their fire to get the city's approval. Nothing less then harrasment.

the city council members are old and crusty. except for Denise Athas...she's a breath of fresh air!!
from Novato

AOL

#59 Jun 15, 2010
Whitetrash4life94947 wrote:
<quoted text>
Very even-handed.
Yes, maybe with a lot a "revitalization", Novato could some day make itself a semi-desirable place to live. The likes of - oh, let's say Walnut Creek.
And I laugh. Is it "snobbish"? Yes.
Novato still is, and always will be, a very much 'pick-up trucks and Budweiser' kind of town.
As long as I see Confederate flags hung in windows, I'm going to call 'em as I see 'em.
I'm glad you think that of Novato because it givesw me great satisfaction to know you won't be moving here because your are not welcome in my town!!!
dish washer

Novato, CA

#60 Jun 15, 2010
from Novato wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm glad you think that of Novato because it givesw me great satisfaction to know you won't be moving here because your are not welcome in my town!!!
Bite me as i live here. Where are you ?

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