Ask A Local About Willow Glen
What brought you to Willow Glen? My wife and I used to live up in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Since our children had both moved out for college and we were looking to downsize. We decided on Willow Glen, it’s such a lovely town with so many things to do. Plus the architecture here is incredible!
What do you like best about it? I love that it’s a charming small town, with tree-lined streets and quaint little shops and avenues. I also love how many neighborhood events there are. And how close everything is. We live walking distance to downtown, so on Fridays we’ll walk our dog into town and grab a glass of wine outside and then walk back. It’s really lovely and the town itself is very pet friendly, almost every store leaves out water for dogs.
What do you like least? There’s nothing really that jumps to mind; possibly how crazy the housing market had gotten recently. Willow Glen is a well-to-do neighborhood so it generally reflects the greater Silicon Valley area, but I was quite shocked when a burned-down home was listed at $800,000. But there are plenty of opportunities to buy homes here at a relatively reasonable price.
How has your neighborhood changed since you moved there? We haven’t been here long enough to notice too much change, but there’s always a home being either worked on or completely torn down and built up again.
Do you need a car to get around? I like to have a car just in case, but there are VTA light rails and Caltrains stations on the borders of Willow Glen so a car isn’t necessary. There’s also plenty of bikeways to get around and a lot of things to do are walking distance away.
What's the neighborhood housing stock like? Willow Glen is a very well established and sought after neighborhood. As I checked online to see what the housing stock was like I actually found quite a bit on the market right now.
Better for buyers or renters? Recently I’ve noticed it’s about the same. If you can afford a home in the bay area I say go for it and if you’re saving up to buy one or only looking to rent then there’s plenty of options in Willow Glen for you as well.
Tell us something we don't know about the neighborhood: Brushed up on some history and I found out that Willow Glen went from being unincorporated to a city. And then annexed into San Jose because they were having sewage problems.
Any fun town traditions? Willow Glen is no different than any other town in the South Bay, their farmers’ market is delightful. The town also has some other big events that are quite fun. There’s Dancin’ On The Avenue which is an annual summer street party on Lincoln. There’s a Founder’s Day in September that celebrates the neighborhood’s cultural heritage and rich history. And in the winter all the residents buy very small similar-looking Christmas trees. We decorate them and put them on our front yard and it’s really quite lovely. Really makes you feel at like part of a community.
Best grocery store in your hood? Other Ask a Local posts have already covered Zanotto’s, but I would still highly recommend it! The selection, the locality of their produce, the fact that it’s family owned, the staff, and those sandwiches are all amazing. Another really wonderful grocery store if you love to cook Latin food is Arteaga’s Food Center. They have a huge selection of produce, meats, and goodies. If you love tres leches cakes as much as I do, then I would say you have to stop by and get a slice. They’re the bomb!
Good for kids? Absolutely. The neighborhood’s public and private schools are a huge draw from many families. There is no shortage of activities or events hosted by the town specifically for children. And the town itself is incredibly safe!
Notable Residents: There’s Jeff Foskett, guitarist and singer of the Beach Boys, Holly Hallstrom from The Price is Right; Erik Kretz the drummer of the Stone Temple Pilots; and a number of the San Jose Sharks and San Francisco 49ers players.
Best place to get brunch? I’d have to go with either The Table or Bill’s Cafe. Bill’s is more of a diner brunch and The Table is a bit more upscale. Both have wonderful food, a casual atmosphere, and wonderful staff. As far as suggestions, from The Table I’d have to go with either the lemon ricotta pancakes or dungeness crab salad and from Bill’s I would highly recommend the veggie skillet.
Best park? If you’ve got young children it’s Lincoln Glen. They have soccer fields, a large playground, sandboxes, and a water fountain area. But as our children have grown, I’d say my current favorite park is Del Monte because it’s a really wonderful dog park.
Beloved neighborhood joints? Hicklebee’s Bookstore is a gem! It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It’s a children’s bookstore that I used to shop at a lot when my girls were younger. The store itself is quite magical and the staff are hands down amazing! I used to go in and tell them a little about what my girls were reading and their hobbies and everytime I’d walk away with a winner.
In regards to food, though Bertucelli’s La Villa Delicatessen is where it’s at! Their handmade ravioli is delicious. Even talking about it makes me hungry!
Best Coffee Shop? I’d say it’s gotta be Elva’s Coffee Stop. It’s pretty close to my house and everything there is wonderful. I stop in sometimes on my way to work and pick up a breakfast burrito and coffee. Their burritos are a must eat! They’re absolutely delicious and they have a wonderful drink selection. My wife also wants me to suggest the white chocolate mocha, apparently that’s quite tasty as well.
Where’s your favorite nightlife spot? My wife and I really like 20twenty. It’s a nice spot to grab a glass of wine or beer, cheese platter, and catch a game or sit outside and talk. And we do appreciate that you get 40% off on bottles of wine and beer to-go everyday!
Stereotypical residents? Generally, I’d say Willow Glen is made up of families of all sizes and ages or, those like my wife and myself, who were looking to scale down once our kids went off to college.
Describe your ‘hood in one sentence? Willow Glen is not just a neighborhood but a community that is truly invested in the well-being of its residents.