Published in the March 28 – April 10, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Workers prepare the new restaurant site in downtown Morgan Hill.
Photo by Marty Cheek

Let’s put a rumor to rest. I’ve heard talk around town lately that two of the four major restaurants scheduled to open this year at the corner of Third Street and Monterey Road have backed out of the deal.

“Nothing could be further from inaccurate and grossly wrong,” John Razumich, partner and owner of Imwalle Properties, project developers, told me.

Part of the problem may be that building number two, the one next to Trail Dust, is up for sale, according to

Razumich said selling a building is not unusual and something Imwalle often does. Of the 110 projects they’ve built they still own about 12, he said. Part of that plan is creating a stable lease environment where the restaurants have a 10-year lease with two five-year options. So regardless of who owns the building, the leases are unaffected.

Razumich said Willard Hicks, a high-end steakhouse, is set to open first with a target date of May 15. It’ll be followed shortly by Tac-oh! Mexican comfort food. Then Opa and Burgers and More will open about 30 to 45 days later.

“It looks like slow progress, but the last part takes just a few weeks,” he added.

He said he’s looking forward to the openings and is pleased the community is excited.

We as well are looking forward to the new eateries opening downtown.

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Dressed in green shirts and leprechaun hats, 72 little “leprechauns” from the Charter School of Morgan Hill visited Hilltop Manor, senior living apartments, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The kindergartners excitedly sang songs including the “Hokey Pokey,” “Bingo,” “If You’re Happy and You Know it,” and an original song about leprechauns written by their director, Ashley Katz. After singing, the students handed out bookmarks handmade in art class and shared books with the seniors.

“It was an amazing experience for everyone involved and the room was filled with smiles and joy,” Katz told me. One resident said the performance was the highlight of her week.

We hope more Morgan Hill schools might promote similar cross-generational visits that bring smiles to everyone’s faces. They provided a wonderful opportunity for the students to practice being socially responsible through community outreach.

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Another wonderful school and music story … The United States Air Force’s Band of the Golden West visited Jackson Academy of Math and Music as well as Sobrato High School Friday, March 16. The quintet of brass instrument players was warmly welcomed by the students and faculty, Morgan Hill Unified School District Superintendent Steve Betando told us.

“One of the men is six-foot-eight. He plays the French horn,” he said. “So, when he walked onto the JAMM campus, the kids just rushed him.”

The musicians engaged the students and talked about the instruments and what it takes to master the instruments. They played classical music and the various versions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to show students how different musical styles can be used for the same tune. At Sobrato, Martin Murphy Middle School band students came over as well as Live Oak High School students to watch the performance.

“The band members were super impressed by how knowledgeable the students were on musical terms and their questions were right on point, even the little kids,” Betando said. “They told me they go to hundreds of schools and that our kids were the best behaved that they’ve seen.”

Glad to hear that our local students know how to be gracious hosts to our military guests.

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It’s all in the delivery, the cliché goes. And that’s especially true for United Parcel Service driver and Morgan Hill resident Reno Cromer. He was inducted into UPS’s prestigious “Circle of Honor” club. Each year the company welcomes drivers into the club from throughout the world to recognize them for delivering packages for a quarter century without a single accident. Reno is among 66 other drivers from California to be inducted into the company’s most elite club. The 55-year-old has been with UPS for 29 years. He drives in Almaden Valley.

“To be able to drive safely for 25 years without a single accident, when driving is your full-time job, it’s just an incredible achievement,” said Hector Venegas, Almaden Center manager and Reno’s boss. “Especially given the high levels of congestion in the San Jose area. Reno and everyone who joined the Circle of Honor are simply the best of the best on the road.”

Way to go, Reno!

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi