« Impasse Issue | Main | Ignoring it »

December 16, 2006


I've just heard that this is not a done deal, so now I'm wondering which information is accurate.

Cathryn Baylock


My family and I spent another evening at Towle's tonight listening to "The Legendary Jules Broussard-Last Time on the Avenue" performance. Since the news broke two weeks ago, we've been spending time eating, reminiscing and continuing our "long goodbye". Tuesday night is the last "Persian Night" with great middle eastern food. Long ago I had lunch at Towle's with Burlingame Historical Society archivist Martha May where she declared the Towle's corner "center of the Burlingame universe". She is right, much of Burlingame passes this special corner on a daily basis.

Thank you Meg and Mo, Kathleen and Lourdes, and the many other Towle's family who have kept us warm, loved and well-fed over the past five years. We are grateful for the gift of hospitality you gave to Burlingame. xo


Not sad to see this place (Towles) go. I've boycotted it for over 3 years, ever since they refused to let my 2 year old, potty training daughter use their bathroom because we weren't paying customers at the time. They did the same thing to a friend and her child recently. The woman owner (don't know which one) was so incredibly rude to me and my little girl, it was shocking. There is no place for this in a family town like Burlingame, so BYE-BYE, can't wait to try Perry's.
Piazza Italia, however, will be missed, I love those women and the great food!

The restroom at Towles is unfortunately precarious for many folks, and I can't imagine hustling a potty training toddler up there. I wonder if the new folks will address that issue. Hope the planning commission took a look at that.

What will be replacing Piazza Italiana? Also what is the story with that restaurant on the traintracks near Broadway? Is it called Pesce? Is is opened? Closed? Does anyone ever go there? Does the train stop there any more? Will it ever? I was wondering that the other day as I stopped at the traffic light. Anyway, I will be interested to see how they renovate the Primrose/Burlingame Avenue corner. What about Susans dress shop? Will they stay or go?

I've heard that Susan's stays, but don't take my word for it. I don't even know Piazza Italiana, so I can't help you with that one, and Pisces also seems dark as pitch to me. I've heard their restaurant reviews of late hadn't been that great, so now one has to wonder whether they are closing up. The train no longer stops at Broadway, as shameful as that is. It probably didn't help that restaurant, either.


Pisces is an off-shoot of Aqua, a well-known restaurant in San Francisco. I haven't eaten there, but everyone I know who has says it is very good. Jen, have you ever eaten there?

I do not believe the restaurant is dependent on the train station for business. Though I'm sure the express trains are not too appetizing. There are a few largely undiscovered, but very good, restaurants in Burlingame. The chef at one of them doesn't try to draw new business because he doesn't want crowds in his restaurant.

Jen, Pisces may not be the 'Chicken-Chicken' but it is one of the San Francisco caliber dining establishments in town. Palo Alto seems to have an unlimited supply of them, why shouldn't Burlingame?

Not sure what you mean by the slights, Fred.....I've never compared Pisces to Chicken Chicken......they have nothing in common and never did, (except both may be closed.)

In answer to your question, yes, I've eaten there three or four times, but not lately. I know the history, too. It was always excellent, albeit pricey, and the express trains added an interesting element to the eating experience.

Lately I'd heard they weren't as good. I haven't been back since there are so many other great choices, locally. We have lots to choose from. Frankly, I don't know how all these restaurants will fare in the end, considering the competition.


What slights? Chicken Chicken seems to be the one restaurant that never gets a bad review here on the voice. Chicken's good and the praises are endless.

Nope, before it burned, (and after) it got lots of praise: here, there and everywhere. We all miss it, and I fear it is lost for good. I think we are running out of places to grab good quality, tasty meals, to run home with.........the loss of that establishment is really a shame--we agree! Maybe the new mexican one on Burlingame Avenue will be good one--if it ever opens.

According to Horgan's SM Times piece, the Perry's deal fell through......still, Towles remains for sale. It would be nice if it didn't become another upscale establishment--the folksy atmosphere (whether one liked the owners, or not) was always its greatest asset.

Stefanie (Visitor)

I am so sorry to see this wonderful resturant go. I can't imagine how hard it is to run a resturant with no previous experience. Its hard to make everyone happy, including toddlers in the process of being potty trained. In my opinion, the owners and staff of Towles Cafe have done well for the four or so years they have been running the resturant. The owners of Towles Cafe have kept a smile on their faces and an attempt to please everyone, even people who feel the need to go to "Family Oriented" Resturants. Good seafood, Good music and nice people. BYE-BYE to hard-to-please people. P.S. I will be sure to warn Perry's that they might need to invest in a porter-potty, seeing as how they need to please toddlers and moms shopping on the avenue now.


It has nothing to do with "hard to please", the woman was downright rude. It wasn't like I was asking to use the bathroom for myself, but I thought anyone would have a heart and understand that little kids can't hold it for very long. I only asked there because we were right in front of the restaurant when my daughter had to go, I had eaten there before (she accused me of lying about that), and restaurants are usually very accomodating about that kind of thing in order to generate good will. Peets was more than happy to let us rush in there without buying coffee. How would it have hurt her to let a little kid use the bathroom? (If the bathroom would have been difficult for my daughter to use, as another commenter said, she could have said that - she didn't, she just said it was for customers only.) And this is clearly her pattern since she did the same thing to another mom and child recently. She lost business because of her rudeness -my husband and I eat out every week and we have avoided the place since. I don't understand Stephanie's "Family Oriented" comment - but if the owner's intention was to discourage children in the restaurant, she was clearly forgetting that parents hire babysitters and go out on their own too.


Michelle- Lighten up and let it go. As Stephanie points out, not every restaurant can accomodate every request. Have you ever been to Towles and had a line of people waiting down the stairs? I have. Because of its location on the avenue and the flight of stairs leading to the bathroom, I'm sure the owners had a hard time pleasing everyone. In a tough business environment, I'm sure they had to put their customers first. I don't think we should bash people until we have walked a mile in their shoes.


Again, the issue was rudeness. Had she been polite about it, there would have been no issue. She was not. Here is the difference: saying "No she may not use it, you are not a customer -I've been here for 3 years and I've never seen YOU in here before!" (what she said) verses something like "I'm really sorry, the bathrooms are difficult to access, I think an easier one would be Peets down the street, why don't you try there?" The first is rude, the second is not. I "let it go", I just don't patronize businesses where the owners are rude. Would you feel good about the place if you were treated like that?


It's always sad to see a restaurant close, especially one that's family run. That is the unfortunate reality of the restaurant business where more fail than succeed. Hopefully we'll get a few new good choices that work for both families and singles.

I was also confused by Stefanie's comment about "Family-Oriented" restaurants, but I'll assume she didn't mean that in a bad way. There are plenty of restaurants on the Avenue that don't work for kids, and you can only feed your kids a Crepevine grilled cheese so many times (maybe a good topic for another thread?) The fact is that most restaurant and store owners on the Avenue are very accomodating for parents with kids. I think they realize that if we ask to use their restroom, it's not because we left the house saying "Boy I hope I get the chance to bring my three kids into a public restroom where I'll have one on the potty and two touching everything in sight." I agree with Michelle. I have no issues with someone saying that we can't use their restroom if there's a good reason. Otherwise it's just alienating potential customers, and the "family-oriented" audience is a big customer base here.

Most places resolve this with a simple sign "Sorry, Restrooms reserved for Customers Only."

Stefanie (Visitor)

How unfortunate that after almost five years of running a thriving business that the focus of this blog is negative. These two women have put their heart and soul into bringing something different to the Avenue. Give Them A Break. There are no live music venues and no place where us "50ish" folks can hang out and have a good, fresh decently priced meal. I know for a fact that at least one lawsuit has been filed and another threatened from NON Customers who have slipped upstairs waiting for the bathroom or stumbled on the stairs. Or maybe you didn't hear the story about one of the owners being arrested from a NON Customer who used the restroom and then made a citizens arrest for battery - saying that the owner touched them. I wish the two gals lots of luck in their new ventures and I for one will miss having a "Cheers" on the Avenue. Michelle...did you think about putting your child in a Pull Up before you started your shopping trip????
P.S. Checked out Towles today and there are THREE signs saying Restrooms for Customers Only


Stefanie - You seem to have a lot of bitterness toward people with children. Sorry to hear that. It's only natural for some people to like a place and others to not like it for one reason or another. The only negative comment on this blog was from someone who had a bad experience with the owner. It's hard to disagree with someone else's experience unless you were there. It sounds to me that judging from the rest of the comments on this thread that the owners of Towles will be missed, and I think it is always sad when a local restaurant has to close. But when I walk around Burlingame and see all the families, it makes me think that I've picked a good place to raise my children and hopefully they'll eventually choose to stay here as well and form the fabric of this town. But I guess my 'pro-family' stance is also a matter of opinion, the same way that a favorite restaurant is a matter of opinion. I just don't think I should lecture people about how they should choose their restaurants or prepare their kids for a shopping trip. Let's be civil.


Our family loved Towles and ate their frequently -- we will be very sad to see it go. Meg and Maureen have provided a great service to the community. Towles was a great local hang-out -- a place where one could enjoy a wide variety of food choices (how many places offer everything from oysters on the half-shell to a burger?) and hear live music. It was our "Cheers" -- a place where everybody knows your name. Thank you, M and M! I wish you well.
My two cents on the above bathroom controversy: I used the bathroom at Towles many, many times -- but only when I was eating at the restaurant. It is not a convenient bathroom. When I am on the Ave and need a bathroom, I would recommend the following to young parents -- or anyone else: The Public Library, Starbucks, Copenhagen, Peets, Pottery Barn, BlockBuster. Il Fornaio. All of these can be accessed without climbing up a narrow flight of stairs.


James, this comment is for you. I know the difference between "their" and "there" -- despite my blog above. I usually blog quickly and don't stop to proof. It there were a way to let you blog with red ink, we could assign you the function of proofing and editing. As it is, we'll just have to wait for your corrections :)

Jen, you had mentioned that according to Horgan's piece the Perry's deal fell through. Do you have details on that article? I had not read it.

It was the SM Times, I think the local section, and it must have been the beginning of this week. Horgan writes a column that is far left, top to bottom of the page with his picture at the top. Sorry I wish I had more info. It just sounded like they were looking for another party to move in to the space., so it may be awhile.


Try the link above for the John Horgan article.


Michelle get a life!!! Stop whinning about the bathroom issue. There are many situations in life where people cannot accomadate to you and your needs. Move on. Find another place to use the restroom. GET OVER IT!!!! Find something else to occupy your time.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

About the Voice

  • The Burlingame Voice is dedicated to informing and empowering the Burlingame community. Our blog is a public forum for the discussion of issues that relate to Burlingame, California. On it you can read and comment on important city issues.

    Note: Opinions posted on the Burlingame Voice Blog are those of the poster and not necessarily the opinion of the editorial board of the Burlingame Voice. See Terms of Use

Contributing to the Voice

  • If you would like more information on the Burlingame Voice, send an email to [email protected] with your request or question. We appreciate your interest.

    Authors may login here.

    For help posting to the Voice, see our tutorial.