Poor House Bistro owner Jay Meduri pauses in front of the relocated restaurant, Friday, April 14, 2023, where preparations are being made to finish the patio’s paver installation. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

The Victorian home that housed Poor House Bistro in San Jose was trucked from its spot on Barack Obama Boulevard to a new home a few blocks away in Little Italy back in January 2022. So you might have expected that we’d all be enjoying jambalaya, beignets and blues by now.

But we aren’t, and nobody’s more disappointed by that than Poor House owner Jay Meduri. On top of regular construction delays, the crazy storms this winter didn’t help things. But he’s optimistic the eatery will be ready to open its doors by late spring or early summer. It just needs a few finishing touches — and some fundraising help to get it across the finishing line.

There’s a benefit on April 20 at Narrative Fermentations, the brewery and taproom at 100 E. Alma Ave., which will help cover the costs of pavers for the patio, which are needed to allow water to seep into the ground — a necessity in the flood-prone Little Italy area next to the Guadalupe River.

“Unfortunately, the costs have exceeded our budget,” Meduri said. “We are very fortunate to have some great musicians donate their time to help PHB get back on solid ground — or pavers.”

Those musicians are the Maxx Cabello Jr. Band and the Rome Yamilov Band, who’ll perform at what’s being dubbed the “4/20 Smoking the Blues Fundraiser.” Tickets to the 5 p.m. event — $30 in advance, $40 at the door — include a Poor House Bistro buffet.

Alum Rock Park in San Jose, photographed Jan. 13, 2023, has been closed since the start of the year because of damage from winter storms. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
Alum Rock Park in San Jose, photographed Jan. 13, 2023, has been closed since the start of the year because of damage from winter storms. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

ALUM ROCK PARK REOPENS: Another sign that the recent sunshine might not just be a passing illusion: Alum Rock Park has reopened for the first time all year. The 720-acre San Jose park, rooted in history and beloved by hikers, had been closed since New Year’s Eve since the first wave of atmospheric river storms bashed through the area. The San Jose Conservation Corps and city workers cleaned up boulders and fallen trees from trails, allowing the park to reopen to hikers and cyclists starting this weekend.

The work’s not done, though: Many trails are still closed and will be reopening in the coming months, and the main road through the park is still damaged, so cars aren’t allowed in. Limited parking is available in the lot at the Penitencia Creek Road entrance, but it’s first-come, first-served.

BRONCO BUCKS: Santa Clara University pulled in a record $5.5 million in just 24 hours during its 10th annual Day of Giving, a total that was buoyed by a $1 million matching challenge to support the athletics department from SCU alum Steve Sordello — senior vice president and CFO emeritus of LinkedIn — and his wife, Susan Sordello. SCU President Julie Sullivan and her husband, Bob, also offered to match gifts up to $10,000 made to the LEAD Scholars Program, which is aimed at supporting first-generation college students.

And don’t think this was all about dollar signs, either. The university’s Red Cross Club co-sponsored a blood drive that brought in volunteers and 45 donation appointments, and the Division of Mission and Ministry sponsored a food drive, bringing in three barrels of nonperishable food and hygiene items for the Bronco Food Pantry.

SKIP THE BOOK, SEE THE PLAY: If you never got around to reading “War and Peace,” let me save countless hours of your time and suggest you head to 3Below Theaters in downtown San Jose this month. That’s where San Jose Playhouse is producing the South Bay premiere of “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812,” a sung-through musical by Dave Malloy based on a 70-page section of Tolstoy’s massive tome.

Scott Guggenheim, who is directing the show, told me that it was well-received during its yearlong run on Broadway in 2016 but never became a household name like some others at the time. The “electropop opera” was nominated for 12 Tony awards in 2017 — and won two — but was overshadowed by “Dear Evan Hansen” that year. And then plans for a touring production were scuttled when COVID-19 shut down theaters everywhere.

The show, which opens with two nights of previews starting April 20 and runs through May 28, stars San Jose Playhouse regular Stephen Guggenheim as Pierre and Paloma Aisenberg as Natasha. Get more information at www.sanjoseplayhouse.org.

FLORAL FUN: With all the recent wet weather, we’re in the midst of a super bloom — which has been great for flower lovers and somewhat terrible for those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies. But the flower lovers get the nod this weekend, as the Clara B. Rees Iris Society is having its spring show, “Showers of Flowers,” on April 16 at the Campbell Community Center’s Roosevelt Room.

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