Bistro Vida in Menlo Park Celebrated as the 13th Senate District’s Small Business of the Year

For Immediate Release

SACRAMENTO – Named by Senator Josh Becker as the 13th Senate District’s Small Business of the Year, Bistro Vida of Menlo Park is being celebrated today in the capital as part of an annual salute to small businesses throughout the state.

“Bistro Vida and its owner Ali El Safy are standouts for recognition as the 13th Senate District’s Small Business of Year,” said Senator Becker, D-Peninsula. “Community spirit is part of Bistro Vida’s DNA. That’s been clear since Ali opened its doors in 1998. Thanks to that unflagging spirit and Ali’s leadership, Bistro Vida not only met the challenges of the pandemic, the restaurant and its owner also helped keep the vibrancy of Menlo Park’s Downtown alive.”

For example, Senator Becker noted, the parklet built outside Bistro Vida last year to make socially distanced al fresco dining possible is now part of a temporary community plaza, engaging several Santa Cruz Avenue businesses and stretching nearly the length of the block. People visiting the plaza, or simply passing by, can enjoy music by student bands that are showcased at the informal venue -- another amenity credited to Mr. El Safy. “That group effort Downtown, encouraged by Ali’s boundless good cheer, has warmed -- and won -- many hearts in our community,” Senator Becker said.

“I’m honored to accept this recognition,” Mr. El Safy said. “The pandemic was an eye-opener on how to run a business and survive in hard times. I am really thankful for the support of the community, the city and the government. The City of Menlo Park worked hard to reinvent the downtown. I did what I could. I kept all my employees, and we all did what we had to do to get over that hump. We reinvented ourselves. Everybody pitched in, and now there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Mr. El Safy and other California business owners named as the Small Business of the Year in their legislative districts are gathering in the capital today to accept the honors from their elected representatives as part of the California Small Business Association’s annual Small Business Day.

“Bistro Vida and Ali helped feed our community in so many ways during the pandemic,” said Senator Becker. “His inspiring work with neighboring businesses filled our community’s need to reconnect by providing a place for people get together safely outdoors with music, laughter and joy.”


Here is a video from the celebration and honors ceremony in Sacramento. 

Here is a photo of Mr. El Safy receiving a Senate Resolution in recognition of his and his restaurant's service to the community:

Photo of Sebaotr JOsh Becker and Ai El Safy, owner of the the 13th Dsitricdit


Bistro Vida Welcomes Menlo Park Police Chief David Norris

From left, Menlo Park Councilmember Ray Mueller, Police Chief David Norris, Senator Josh Becker and Ali El Safy at a Bistro Vida BBQ held this spring to welcome Norris as new chief.



Media Contact: Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404,

Content updated at 17:00, August 18, 2021, to add a link to video and a photo from the day's event.