As contrived as the practice is, there is a reason we mark the beginning of a new year by promising to better ourselves. We humans are creatures of habit who take cues from the daily turning of the globe and the Earth’s elliptical path around the sun. And in the non-stop hustle and bustle of daily life it’s important to slow down and take stock of where we came from and where we’re goingat least once every 365 days.
In a valley where time seems to move faster than most other places, 2017 absolutely blew by. Still, in the past 12 months we’ve seen the South Bay swell with great new restaurants, improve its standing as an arts and entertainment destination and continue to develop as the global leader in tech.
Before perusing our list of New Year’s Eve parties, press pause on your inner hare, think like the tortoise and join us as we reflect on the last year.
From the foothills of East San Jose to the quiet slopes of Menlo Park’s Intestate 280 corridor, 2017 has been a big year for local food. High up on Mount Hamilton Road, local restaurateur Maurice Carrubba has transformed the GrandView Restaurant, reimagining the legacy brand as a top-flight venue and steakhouse where patrons can enjoy great farm-to-table food, live entertainment and a spectacular vista. On the opposite side of the valley and a little farther north, Maderathe Rosewood Sand Hill restaurantquietly regained its Michelin star.
San Jose may just be boasting the lion’s share of new eateries and drinkeries in Silicon Valley. Those looking for a jolt should make sure to take note of Academic Coffee; at the intersection of South Second and East William streets, they have an innovative menu of caffeinated beverages and small bites. Just around the corner, on South First Street, the guys at Uproar Brewing Company are serving something a bit strongersome of the first beers brewed in the heart of downtown. Their to-the-point menu of pub fare is on point, as well.
Silicon Valley nightlife is the best it’s been in decades. This past year saw so many great shows in downtown San Jose. Run The Jewels played City National Civic, Coldplay gave the middle finger to Santa Clara’s curfew when they played Levi’s Stadium, and the city’s smaller venues definitely upped the ante. Over the summer, things got so jampacked with great music that The Continental and The Ritz ended up competing for left-field electronic fans when the former booked Stones Throw Records signee Mndsgn and the latter hosted the buzzed-about Seattle producer Sángo on the same night. It caused a bit of a headache for promoters, but it’s something that would never have happened even a year ago when we were already feeling so great about the SoFA District’s music scene.
It’s not finalized, and plenty of people are crying foul for the anticipated gentrification it will cause, but Google is in talks with the city of San Jose to move in next door to the Shark Tank. The proposed project would finally push the Diridon train station to become the South Bay transit hub it has always promised to beconnecting BART and Caltrain lines. It would likely also spur the picturesque and historic Alameda corridor to live up to its full potential as another hotbed of food, nightlife and culture. And it would certainly make San Jose’s insistence that it is the “Capital of Silicon Valley” true.
Out in Fremont, the Tesla plant has been feverishly cranking out the Model 3 as fast as it can. The electric car company’s success has only been improved by introducing a car aimed at average new-car buyers and promises to cement the region as a leader in drivable tech.
The South Bay’s surge in growth has led to soaring rental prices. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Local agencies appear to be getting serious about creating more affordable-housing initiatives and San Jose even signed off on its first “tiny home” village to help confront the region’s homelessness crisis.
And while we don’t want to see the working class squeezed out of the valley, we are pleased to see the revitalization that an influx of homebuyers has had on many of San Jose’s historic neighborhoods. Take the Martha’s Garden area for example.
The area, located just south of Interstate 280 is rife with Edwardian, Craftsman and American Modern architecture. The neighborhood is also home to the recently refurbished Faber’s Cyclery, which looks as if it’s just about ready for someone to turn it into a gastropub.