The East Bay and South Bay have both just lost longtime legendary eateries. The two restaurants were as different as they could be: La Perla was a bustling Mexican food counter in gritty downtown Richmond; the Mt. Hamilton Grandview was an aging San Jose roadhouse that served steaks, seafood and views 1,500 feet above the Santa Clara Valley to diners who braved the winding drive.
What they had in common was longevity and family dedication. Between them, La Perla and the Mt. Hamilton Grandview were in business for more than a century -- a lifetime of work for generations of the Ponce/Bonds/Spradlin families and the Ciciarelli/Unger families, respectively.
In Richmond, as our colleague Chris Treadway reported, La Perla Mexican Delicatessen was a constant in the ever-changing downtown scene. Back in 1949, Mary and Heliodore Ponce launched La Perla as a grocery, then opened the deli at its current location in 1951.
The family originally planned to sell the restaurant in 2012. But customers got two more years of the popular pork over potatoes and conchas de pollo. The final day of service was May 2, with the Ponces serving long lines of loyalists until they ran out of food.
In San Jose, Nino Ciciarelli bought the circa 1956 Grandview and owned that for 30-plus years, operating it himself off and on. After he died in 1993, his wife, Lucie Unger Ciciarelli, and family took over, running the place for 21 years until last weekend. On Mother's Day, the 80ish Ciciarelli -- who started there as a waitress in 1971 -- retired, having baked and served her last cheesecakes (the signature dessert on the menu).
Both families have sold their businesses to new owners. Another taqueria may inhabit La Perla's space. And there are plans to remodel the Grandview into a new dinner house. But you can't just reopen and start serving up a legacy; that's something you have to earn.
Share your memories: What will you miss about La Perla and the Mt. Hamilton Roadhouse? Go to the Eat Drink Play blog at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/eat-drink-play/ and click on Comments.
More sourdough: San Francisco's original sourdough bread bakery, Boudin, is expanding again in the South Bay. Boudin SF is now baking loaves and serving breakfast (sourdough French toast, scrambles), lunch and dinner (burgers on sourdough baguettes, soup in bread bowls) at its newest restaurant in the West Valley Shopping Center, 5245 Prospect Road (between Saratoga Avenue and Lawrence Expressway) in San Jose. Boudin SF will be open daily from 8 a.m. until 9 most nights (8 on Sundays).
Top cannoli: Peninsula bakeries took the top honors when the Little Italy San Jose Foundation held its first-ever Cannoli Tournament. La Biscotteria of Redwood City (2747 El Camino Real), won the best cannoli title, and Romolo's Cannoli & Spumoni Factory of San Mateo (81 W. 37th Ave.) took home the people's choice award. Read all about the competition on the Eat Drink Play blog, http://blogs.mercurynews.com/eat-drink-play/.