Home News Entrepreneur turns his Asa Los Altos restaurant over to colleagues

Entrepreneur turns his Asa Los Altos restaurant over to colleagues


Saying that he is “stretched too thin” to devote the proper attention his family and his two restaurants deserve, Bay Area entrepreneur Andrew Welch announced Tuesday afternoon that two of his longtime colleagues will take over the Asa Los Altos location.

The restaurant on downtown’s State Street will become Roja, with Roberto Juarez as chef and James Ashe as bar manager — and Welch will maintain the Asa Los Gatos location.

“James and Roberto are part of the original founding team that made Asa Los Altos such a success,” Welch wrote in his note to customers. “While the name will change to ‘Roja,’ the spirit of excellence and passion for sustainable harvesting and stellar service will remain at the heart of the restaurant.”

Welch has long been a figure on the Santa Clara Valley’s culinary scene. In 1998 at the age of 21, he opened The Basin in Saratoga and ran that for popular restaurant for 21 years. He gave that up in 2019 to focus on Asa, the venture named for his son. The Peninsula location was first, followed soon after by the Los Gatos restaurant.

In 2021 Michelin honored the Los Gatos restaurant, then called Asa South, with a Bib Gourmand, its award for affordable fine dining. The Los Altos restaurant has offered what’s largely the same menu.

The Asa restaurants have become known for their contemporary farm-to-table American dishes with Italian and Spanish influences, and for their Wayback Wednesdays. On those days, Welch and his chefs pay tribute to Casa de Cobre, a Mexican restaurant specializing in Michoacan fare that Welch operated in Saratoga for some years with executive chef Marcelino Hernandez.

Customers had been clamoring for a taste of Casa, so the pair brought back the recipes in 2020 — and the tradition has continued, with the restaurant packing the entrees for takeout during the Covid era.

In his announcement, Welch said a smooth transition is planned from Asa Los Altos to Roja, but no date was given for the turnover.

Details: 242 State St., Los Altos; and 57 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, Los Gatos; www.asarestaurants.com

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