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October 05, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New owner for the Dutch Goose New owner for the Dutch Goose (October 05, 2005)

Menlo Park man takes over the West Menlo landmark

By Jane Knoerle

Almanac Lifestyles Editor

The Dutch Goose, 3567 Alameda de las Pulgas, a Menlo Park institution for generations, has been sold. But don't worry. New owner Greg Stern of Menlo Park won't be turning it into a yuppie bistro.

"I've been coming here since I was 4 years old after T-ball with my dad, and throwing peanuts on the floor. People come here because the Goose doesn't change and I'm sensitive to that."

Amend that statement a bit. "Somewhere down the road I'd like to start serving french fries," Mr. Stern says.

On October 1, Tom Moroney handed over ownership to Mr. Stern; Mr. Moroney will stay around for at least six months to help the new guy learn the ropes.

"I'm really fortunate to have Tom stay on. I've learned customers come in here to see Tom (as much as they do to have a beer or a burger)," Mr. Stern says.

Mr. Moroney has owned the Goose for 27 years, leasing the property from the Beltramo family. For years, rumors of its closing were repeated so often he posted a sign for his employees to assure them he was staying in business. Despite rumors, he says, "the deal was cut just two months ago."

Mr. Moroney took over the restaurant from the late Pete Eccles. Mr. Eccles had changed the name from the Busy Bee to the Dutch Goose, the name of the tavern in Kansas where he had his first beer.

The Goose still uses Pete Eccles' recipes for its famous deviled eggs and buys its meat from the same butcher. Deviled eggs, steamed clams, and of course, burgers are menu favorites.

The Goose features 10 beers on tap, and is best known for Anchor Steam beer. Fritz Maytag, who saved the Anchor Steam Brewery from bankruptcy in the 1960s and restored its luster in the eyes of beer connoisseurs, was a regular customer when he attended Stanford.

Stanford ties remain close for the Goose, although Mr. Moroney concedes that college kids don't drink like they used to. The senior class at Stanford has an annual Pub Night at the tavern and the business class has an annual bash there.

A couple of years ago, the Goose was spiffed up a bit. The walls are painted a pale yellow and a tile floor replaces the ancient wood floor. The tables have been laminated, making it pretty hard to carve your initials, although a few still try. The Budweiser sign still glows over the pool table. On Saturdays the restaurant is filled with families.

After a few months, Mr. Moroney will leave the restaurant business where he's worked for 40 years, and will be able to spend more time with his seven grandchildren. All six of his own kids worked at the Goose during their teen years.

Greg Stern realizes Tom Moroney will be a hard act to follow. "Tom does everything around here -- from cooking, to busing, to sweeping up."

Running a restaurant will be a change from Mr. Stern's past career as a stock broker and commercial real estate agent, but he says he's ready. The Menlo-Atherton and USC graduate has made the commitment and he's signed a 20-year lease.

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