Does anyone remember Michael's?
Does anyone remember an old style steak restaurant called Michael's in the Bay Area? I think it was in Sunnyvale, Palo Alto or San Jose area. Red leather booths, etc. Is it still around?
Certainly -- Michael's, 830 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale (830 E. ECR would make it between about Wolfe and Fair Oaks). I have their business card on file (dated 1994) and am looking at it. Formally "Michael's New England Sea Food" although I know the place only from lunches, and recall steaks too. Interesting compound butter offered with bread, containing paprika and a touch of cheese? -- an old-fashioned detail -- anyway one I recall vividly from early 90s. Closed a few years later if I recall.
Bit of an old silicon-valley business hangout, one of several such (Pezzella's, which by the way remains open but isn't in the CHOW data base; L&C, Wagon Wheel, etc.). I had the impression Michael's was the sort of place where the "three-martini" lunch endured longer than elsewhere.
If you happen to be seeking places that resemble Michael's in style (even old SV hangouts!) I can recommend others, though there used to be more. Pezzella's Villa Napoli (not far from there) is one, Italian themed, handmade pizzas no two alike, steaks, etc. Separately, the retro leather-upholstered booth look, but recent and artificial, is a feature of modern chain steakhouses, such as "Grill on the Alley" in the SJ Fairmont.
I think I know what you mean. Durable independent unique restaurants, usually family-run, with atmosphere, maybe a little hard-boiled. The loyal regulars have been around the block a few times.
Pezzella's (1025 W. ECR, Sunnyvale 94087, 408 738 2400), which I expanded in my reply above in an edit, is more like Michael's in that way than is Original Joe's SJ. Looking over many longtime restaurant business cards in the area, I'm hard pressed to recommend anything as much (though some of the restaurants around San Pedro Square in downtown SJ, and downtown Willow Glen, have a little of it). Pezzella's, still going strong, opened 1957. Around 1991 I occasionally joined for lunch there some old-hand silicon-valley engineers who'd been meeting for lunch there weekly for 20 years. That's the kind of place, and the menu overlaps the defunct Michael's somewhat. (No compound butter, though ...)