Bistro Vida is a French café established in 1998 by Ali Elsafy in downtown Menlo Park. After living in France and going to cooking school there, Ali left his successful restaurant, La Luna, and created Bistro Vida.

Ali portrays himself as a man of diverse character. He has lived in New York and France, and has learned to speak French, Arabic, Italian, and not to mention, English. Since beginning his career in the food industry, Ali has always found it difficult to find employees for his restaurants, however he has enjoyed meeting the people of Menlo Park, his clients, the parents from his children’s schools, and the business owners in the area.

Nevertheless, throughout his 27 years as a Menlo Park local, since his arrival in the 80’s, Ali has not only traveled and owned successful restaurants. Over the years, Ali became a Sacred Heart Prep Alumni, a soccer player at Foothill College, and a father. He now enjoys running, playing soccer for a league, and spending time with his family after serving the community of Menlo Park at Bistro Vida.


About the photo-journalist: Jose Sainz-Medina

This collection of photographs and articles serves as a form of storytelling; it highlights business owners who have established their roots in Menlo Park and have faced challenges, as well as notable achievements throughout their lives. Jose Sainz-Medina hopes to serve as a visual storyteller. A storyteller who can interpret the stories that people, like business owners, want to tell about themselves and their business, explaining who they are and what their business provides to the community. After four years of studying photography and two years of journalism at Eastside College Prep high school, Jose developed a love for both visually and verbally communicating to those who are willing to listen.  In his spare time, Jose spends hours at his local Starbucks making coffee, as well as focusing his photography towards architecture and natural landscapes. In the fall, Jose will face his own challenges as he begins his college career at the University of California, Riverside.