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Signs Point to Openings and Closings

Two local businesses used the old standby note-in-the-window to let customers know of plans. A banner announces Garden Mediterranean Restaurant reopening as Garden Bistro.

A sign in the window of a vacant space at the Square shopping center says that a restaurant is making plans to open in a space between and .

Betty Thorne, who manages the center for Horizon Properties, said she was not at liberty to release the new tenant's name but would invite the new shop owner to contact Patch with details. That hasn't happened yet. She would only say it's going to be a burger shop.

This might be good news for neighbors of the center, who saw  close in March. Last year, closed, and a Chinese restaurant and a coffee shop closed several years ago. ,  and are the only eateries left at the Square.

Meanwhile, Thorne said there there is nothing new to report about the Square's largest vacant spot previously occupied by a succession of grocery stores. 

Round Table Closes Ignacio Location

People in Ignacio are wondering what will move into the vacant corner of the Del Prado Square shopping center since decided last month to cap off a run of more than 30 years there.

Calls to the pizza parlor are being automatically rerouted to the chain’s other at the Triangle Plaza 1565 S. Novato Boulevard, behind restaurant. 

Branding signage from the Ignacio location has been removed but, peeking into the windows, it appears that the space has all of the furniture and fixtures in tact.

Garden Restaurant Reopens Bistro-style

remodel that started May 1 was quietly completed with a soft opening June 3 and is now ready for fans of Hilda Hattar’s Mediterranean cuisine to return to the renamed Garden Bistro.

The new menu has a heavier focus on small plate items and made with sustainable and organic ingredients, according to Hattar.

Small plate items like the fig and goat chesse bruschetta ($8), risotto with Italian sausage ($9.50), and dolmas ($7.50) could easily serve as entrees, especially when combined with a half salad or cup of soup.

The Garden Bistro kept some of the favorite salads (fattoush, tabouleh and Mediterranean) and entrees including lamb shank with couscous ($24) and beef ossobuco with herb risotto ($24) from the old menu. But regular customers know that the daily specials are the items where Hilda Hattar’s creativity and imagination are evident.

To complement the meal, the restaurant has a wine list with 23 selections available by the glass.

According to Hattar, what started out as a redecorating of the dining room turned into a full-scale remodel of kitchen.  Even the parking lot got a fresh coat of slurry and striping.

Upgrades to the dining room include reclaimed wood tables, stained concrete flooring, new lighting fixtures and a beautifully color-coordinated paint palette used on the walls and seating.

The restaurant remains a family business with Hattar’s husband, Saddeh Hattar, often there chatting with customers.

Hilda Hattar said that after 20 years the change was due. She added that she wanted to do it for “the next generation” of diners. But she was also speaking of family, saying her daughter Nadia is now going to be in charge of the bistro.

The Garden Bistro is at 333 Enfrente Road, Novato, 883-9277, Lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday; Dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday; Sunday Brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  gardenmedrestaurant.com.

Tom MacDonald July 13, 2012 at 06:29 PM
We have always thought that the Garden was the best food in Novato. Now we can't wait to try out the improved version.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr July 14, 2012 at 04:17 AM
The Garden Restaurant has some of the best food I have ever tasted. I hope that their clientele follows them to their new location.
Tina McMillan July 14, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Same location but with a new look. And yes, really, really good food!
Rick Voorhees August 16, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I just saw that Fresh and Easy backed out of the Cove Shopping Center in Tiburon recently. They should give this shopping center a look, they could take over the old Delano's space. This would be a great addition next to the CVS store.
dave August 30, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Great point Rick, Fresh n Easy is a great place, I have shopped at the Napa location and they are very good.

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