Restaurateur aims to jazz up Millbrae 

The historic Sixteen Mile House downtown is scheduled to reopen in early May, and officials are already expecting it will be a shot in the arm for after-hours life on Broadway.

Construction is expected to wrap up later this month on the old structure, located at 448 Broadway, after eight months of construction. Owner Peter Liu, who also owns Peter’s Café, located at the corner of El Camino Real and Millbrae Avenue, said that since the restaurant and bar will only be open from 3 p.m. and on, it will likely attract more people seeking an after-work drink or steak dinner.

The downtown institution, named for its exact 16-mile distance from San Francisco, is considered one of the most notable links to the city’s past. It was originally a rest stop built in 1872 by the Sanchez family, the original landholders of present-day Millbrae and Burlingame, according to the Millbrae Historical Society. In later years, it held court along the railroad tracks as a restaurant and tavern.

It remained open in that capacity until last August, when Liu purchased the property with the intention of refurbishingthe one-story, 2,500-square-foot steak house. The new-and-improved restaurant will have approximately 60 seats and a bar that can hold 15. Liu said much of the old memorabilia related to the restaurant, including photos and old newspaper clippings, will be displayed on the walls.

City Manager Ralph Jaeck said the restaurant could inject life into downtown, which has some restaurants and a handful of popular bars encompassing the downtown after-hours life.

"It looks like it’s getting pretty close," Jaeck said, noting that from his own personal test, the restaurant is indeed 16 miles from The City. "We’re all pretty excited about it."

City Planner David Petrovich said the city is hoping for even more vibrancy from a proposal for five additional housing units on the building’s second floor. Millbrae is looking to encourage more residential development downtown, but due to cost concerns, Liu opted not to move forward with the dwelling units planned by the previous owner.

"That’s kind of a shame, we are really hoping to encourage more of that kind of development downtown," Petrovich said.

Liu said he may consider adding the units as planned sometime in the future.

"I’ve always been a fan of the location," Liu said. "It’s centrally located, it’s got a lot of history, so when I knew the owner was selling I decided to try and give it its old feel."

tramroop@examiner.com

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