Mike Wallau was born and raised in Palo Alto, California, just down the street from where he opened the first Mike’s Café. He spent 20 years working every facet of the restaurant business and in 1995 decided it was time to strike out on his own.
Mike opened the first Mike’s Café in Midtown, Palo Alto, on April 1st, 1995. It was an immediate success, quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite and a not-so-well-kept secret throughout the community. Families came for dinner, business partners met to discuss deals, and everyone agreed that Mike’s Café was just about the best thing that had ever happened in Midtown.
As word spread and Mike’s in Palo Alto became widely popular, the cozy destination seemed to need more space. Rather than expanding, Mike found the perfect location in Menlo Park for a fabulous second restaurant. The second Mike’s opened in 2004 and has been equally popular with the Atherton and Menlo Park communities. Mike’s Menlo has a bustling lunchtime crowd, and is full of lively customers enjoying great food, cocktails and appetizers seven nights a week.
In 2006, a local developer bought and renovated the picturesque Ladera shopping center in the California foothills near the famous Windy Hill. It seemed that Mike’s Café was destined for a third location. As the excitement built and word spread, a third Mike’s Café opened in 2007 just in time for a hugely positive local reception. The Portola Valley Mike’s Café offers a beautiful ambiance in a rural and relaxed setting, with spacious outdoor seating and a gorgeous mahogany bar. A mural of well-known Windy Hill overlooks customers as they enjoy the delicious, fresh ingredients of the Italian and California cuisine for which Mike’s is famous….at least in this cozy corner of the world.
Mike and his wife Ellen (who works at the Palo Alto restaurant) live in Midtown, Palo Alto, where they raised their two daughters, Chelsea and Taylor. Mike keeps busy at all three locations. If you stop by, you will see him greeting customers and working with the chefs. You might even catch him sitting down to enjoy one of his favorite dishes. Mike has lovingly developed Mike’s Cafés into the delightful and scrumptious destinations many refer to as simply “Mike’s”. We hope to see you there soon!