Massive Millbrae restaurant causing parking nightmares


Judging by the number of patrons coming in and out, the mammoth Tai Wu restaurant on El Camino Real seems wildly successful, right from its opening day in March. All the cars are certainly keeping the parking valets busy, but success does have its price.

"They basically opened a restaurant with some 400 seats and no intention of providing parking and just letting parking overflow into the neighborhood," said Millbrae resident Ed Jarvis.

Jarvis lives in the residential neighborhood just behind the 460,000 square foot restaurant. Residents here say the quiet tree-lined streets have become a parking mecca for Tai Wu's patrons.

"I would like to be able and come and park in my spot in front of my home," said resident Michelle Dixon.

The reason Dixon can't is because the restaurant doesn't have enough parking spaces. The overflow parking has affected merchants as well. Tai Wu's next door neighbor Auto Zone had to put up a sign at its parking lot to keep out restaurant customers.

"We were having a lot of complaints from our customers that they had no place to park their vehicles," said Isagani Diaz, the Auto Zone manager.

Vern Bruce owns Millbrae Locks. His store is right across the street from Tai Wu. Parking he says has affected his bottom line.

"Our walk in business, it went down almost 33 percent, basically a third," said Bruce.

Mayor Wayne Lee says the city is working with the restaurant and its neighbors to come up with a solution.

"It was very hard for the neighborhood and we apologize and we're working really hard to mitigate that," said Lee.

The mayor says there is an upside to all this for the city, that he would rather have a parking problem than lots of parking and no business.

The city will hold a hearing on Monday to address the issue.

The restaurant did not respond to our request for an interview.

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