The city of Palo Alto, California, said this week that celebrity chef Jose Andres could use gas stoves in his new restaurant, exempting him from the controversial new ban on natural gas hookups in new construction that takes effect this year.
City officials described the settlement with Andres as a “one-off,” saying that his exemption was a unique situation since the planned restaurant, Zaytinya, had been in the works since 2019 and had earned approval from the city at that time.
Andres had complained about the ban, noting that Zaytinya’s eastern Mediterranean concept relied heavily on gas and live fire, and he had threatened to pull out of the deal if he could not use the installed gas line.
The operators of Stanford Shopping Center, where the restaurant is slated to be located, had also threatened to sue Palo Alto if the project did not move forward.
“Without a gas connection and appliances, Zaytinya would be forced to alter its signature five-star reputation,” attorneys for the property’s parent company, Simon Property Group, argued in a complaint last month. If it forced compliance, they said, Zaytinya “will likely choose not to locate within the city,” a decision they said “would be an unfortunate loss for the residents of Palo Alto, as well as a compensable loss for which SPG would be forced to seek redress.”
The exemption illustrates the growing tension as cities and states across America move to implement restrictions on gas appliances. Nearly 100 cities and counties in the United States, mostly in blue areas, have already adopted policies that restrict the use of gas-powered stoves and heaters or phase them out in new construction.
And earlier this month, New York became the first state to ban natural gas stoves in most new homes and buildings beginning in 2026.