News

Portola Valley: Alpine Inn has new owners

Popular burger joint is closed until March 1 for remodeling

The Alpine Inn in Portola Valley is known as a casual place for enjoying comfort food and drinks to go with it. Portola Valley residents Deke and Lori Hunter are the new owners of the eatery. (Photo by Adam Pardee/The Almanac)

The Alpine Inn, the Portola Valley beer garden and burger haven also known as Rossotti's, has new owners: Deke and Lori Hunter of the Hunter 1988 Revocable Trust.

A set of remodeling plans at Town Hall lists the trust as owner of the property at 3915 Alpine Road – home to the Alpine Inn and to roadhouses of some kind or another since 1868, according to a bronze plaque outside the restaurant. (The one-story building has long been designated as a historic structure, thereby protecting its exterior from modification.)

The Hunters bought the property in December, the previous owner, Geri Alexander of the Alexander family, said in an email.

Greg St. Claire, president of the San Carlos-based Avenir Restaurant Group, which owns three Peninsula restaurants – Town in San Carlos, Milagros in Redwood City, and Nola in Palo Alto – will be involved to ensure that the transfer in ownership "is a smooth transition," Alexander said.

St. Claire could not immediately be reached for comment.

Signs on the doors say the restaurant is closed but set to reopen on March 1.

The remodeling will be overseen by Woodside architect Stevan Patrick, according to plans submitted Feb. 6 at Town Hall. The tasks to be undertaken include repairing dry rot in the bar, the kitchen, the floors and the walls; adding accessibility features, including ramps, handrails and automatic doors; and replacing residential-grade equipment with commercial-grade equipment.

The list of equipment to be replaced includes the deep fat fryer, the range, three refrigerators, the griddle and the beer dispenser.

The historic features of the restaurant include the saloon doors out front and a beer cooler, the plans say.

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Comments

14 people like this
Posted by neenee
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Feb 8, 2019 at 12:13 pm

neenee is a registered user.

I sure hope they don’t change it too much - there’s too much remodeling going on in our area - we old timers love the old familiar sites!


7 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2019 at 12:23 pm


Will they be keeping the yellow-jackets in the outdoor eating area?


3 people like this
Posted by Jimmy Mc.
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 8, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Yeah - we old timers sure love some dry rot in our martinis. :-)


13 people like this
Posted by Burgerboy
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 8, 2019 at 12:25 pm

The food can only get better,it has not been good for years. Looking forward to some upgrades.


40 people like this
Posted by Steve Schmidt
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 8, 2019 at 1:19 pm

The region couldn't be any luckier than to have these people step up and save this local institution. Zott's is now in the hands of local people who understand the character and history of this wonderful tavern.
Three cheers to the Hunters!


58 people like this
Posted by Dave Ross
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Feb 8, 2019 at 1:41 pm

I'm happy to see this iconic roadhouse enter its new phase - which promises to carry on 150 years of tradition while updating the cooking facilities for the next decade or two. Thanks to the Hunters this property will not crumble to dust, as it would without a benefactor.

Anyone who believes the Alpine Inn could succeed financially on its own hasn't worked out the numbers. You can bet that the Hunters, real estate developers with long and deep experience, know exactly what they are doing - rescuing the place form oblivion, without plans to turn a profit. The remodeling and kitchen upgrades alone will overwhelm the sales for at least a year. I imagine that they will underwrite the operation for as long as they own it, and their prospects for a financial return on this hefty "investment" are negligible.

I encourage folks to recognize what is going on here - people who care about the Town's ambiance and history stepping up because they are able and willing. So - this is my shout-out to the new owners for making this investment in our community. Thanks.


15 people like this
Posted by Danna Breen
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 8, 2019 at 5:20 pm

This is simply thrilling for our town, Zots is in the right hands and local hands to boot. Deke and Lori et al understand the place and the community, Cant wait for the new opening. We will be there for sure,


4 people like this
Posted by Rafi B
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Feb 9, 2019 at 8:59 am

To the new owners of Alpine Inn, please add a :

Grilled Chicken Sandwich on Cibbata with Chipotle Ailoi, Avocado, Jack Cheese, Red Onion, Lettuce Sandwich.

Please buy better breads and rolls to improve quality of food!
You now own one of the most iconic spots in the area, clean it up. Imrove the Food Quality, fresh and tasty and charge more! The Fries need to be improved big time too.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2019 at 11:36 am

I'm glad they're proactively making it ADA accessible. That should help them avoid a costly lawsuit like the one that closed down the Dutch Goose for awhile.


3 people like this
Posted by Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Thanks to all those who stepped up and got involved to save Zott’s. You truly do care about the community and protecting such a historic place. Bravo to you all!
I’m a “lifer” at Zott’s and was there for my 1st time with my folks (Zott’s old timers as well) when I was 3 weeks old. Yes, we love Zott’s.
Love the ideas...I just hope they keep it RUSTIC, and that Greg St. Claire doesn’t try and turn this into another upscale, overpriced restaurant (Like those mentioned in article).
To add to that, I am NOT a fan of it becoming a full bar (YES, that apparently is happening), and am VERY concerned of how this will affect the community. It’s fine the way it is...plenty of other bars to tend to in the area, if that’s your fancy. Prices for beer and wine will most likely double as well.
I get it, the food does need some work, and having a new and updated kitchen benefits us all. Certainly the beer garden could definitely use some work...i.e...CLEAN UP the creek/ OVERGROWTH, and show off the majestic creek side once more. If need be...add some sort of low level fence/ standing bar rail up top for people to sit, eat, drink and watch over the creek/ their kids. (You can even close access to the creek, when it’s deemed unsafe during those winter/ spring / night times). Make it fun for the “whole family” to enjoy. Maybe add some gas fire pits (fully screened/ glass encased of course), new Solar lights in back (plenty of sun for that).
Again...My only worry though, is that they overdo the renovations and take away its originality!
Thanks again to Deke, Lori and others in the Trust for making this happen...just remember...
Zott’s is iconic for being Rustic and original...Keep it that way!!!


6 people like this
Posted by Bob S
a resident of Woodside High School
on Feb 10, 2019 at 9:56 am

Thanks for saving this precious tavern. Please don’t change it too much.


1 person likes this
Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2019 at 11:14 am

I have biked up there from Palo Alto, taken 3 generations for >50 years. Delighted that this landmark will be in safe hands and become handicapped compliant so as not to make a local lawyer richer.


16 people like this
Posted by lrhunter@me.com
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 10, 2019 at 11:40 am

lrhunter@me.com is a registered user.

We are excited to be part of the team working to re-open PV’s historic Alpine Inn, formerly Rossotti’s. Your support is much appreciated and needed as we endeavor to complete the repairs, maintenance and code upgrades required with the change of ownership. Know that all of the partners live in the neighborhood and hold Zott’s as an important part of our community. We plan to maintain the casual good cheer and historical integrity of the place while introducing a few healthy additions to the existing menu.
Currently we are shooting for a mid-March re-opening. Please visit our website for updates: Web Link

PS: Thanks Rafi B. for the chicken sandwich recipe ~ sounds delish!


3 people like this
Posted by Bob Berry
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Feb 11, 2019 at 7:50 am

Many thanks for the upgrade! We have a great appreciation for those who wish to preserve our heritage thru preservation of history without profit being the only motivator! I hope there is a big grand opening party for all of us dedicated to such a cool place for meeting with old friends and meeting new ones as well!


3 people like this
Posted by Shredder
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 11, 2019 at 10:51 am

Thanks Deke & Lori. Zotts is in good hands. Look forward visiting when you re-open...


11 people like this
Posted by isaidso
a resident of Woodside School
on Feb 11, 2019 at 1:11 pm

stop with the demands and personal requests. be happy someone bought the place.


2 people like this
Posted by Brian Weatherman
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2019 at 9:32 pm

Thank you .... I look forward to downing a quart of Miller High Life there once again .... hopefully you open by St. Pat's


2 people like this
Posted by III
a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2019 at 10:56 am

How about adding a smoker meat pit?
Happy to volunteer on the Pork Shoulder/Pork Butt into pulled pork team!
III


6 people like this
Posted by Leslie Kriese
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 13, 2019 at 8:29 am

Hey Deke and Lori - thank you for giving this icon Portola Valley place another life. Its great to know that it is in such great hands. If you could keep the hitching rail it would be greatly appreciated. There are very few place left where one can ride in for a bite, a beer or lunch. Thank you so much for taking on Zotts.


3 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of another community
on Feb 13, 2019 at 5:38 pm

I've been going to Alpine Inn for over forty years, having grown up in Palo Alto. I'm stoked that the Hunters are saving this place, and Greg St. Claire is the perfect guy to handle the food plan. I eat at his restaurants regularly and the food is top quality and fairly priced. I'm looking forward to the renovated and improved Rossotti's!


4 people like this
Posted by Jeff Mead
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 14, 2019 at 6:51 am

Change is good and the Hunters are great! I agree with Dana that having the old Zots stay in local hands is wonderful. See you there!


Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 14, 2019 at 10:58 am

Like so many others, lots of Stanford memories remain and very happy to see the legend live on. I would only request one thing be returned.... French Burgers and steak fries. Burger on a French roll. I don't care what it cost.


2 people like this
Posted by Larry
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 15, 2019 at 7:52 am

I now live in Singapore, went to the Priory in the late '70's -- @ 1976 i had my first Zot's burger. Over the years I've continued to stop by any chance possible and look forward to the new owners efforts to re-establish this iconic landmark. The place definitely slipped the last few years in quality, dropping the rectangular burgers and buns for round burgers/buns took away a big piece of the charm IMO. I hope to be back soon and see the changes.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike D.
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 15, 2019 at 10:00 am

Reuben sandwich, please add this to the menu. While you are at it, a Torpedo sandwich a la The Oasis (RIP).


1 person likes this
Posted by Guy and Connie Wade
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Feb 15, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Say yes to the Hunter's we love Zott's. So happy to see it will be done with respect for all to still enjoy the history. Please remember to keep the wall of all remember friends who have shared time at Zott's and still in all our memories and hearts.We now live in Washington State But Guy and his brother's Mark, Chad And Ford shared many times playing music and great memeories. Thank you for bring Zott's back
Guy and Connie Wade


Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 26, 2019 at 7:12 pm

Are these old timers kidding? Don't change much?? The place is a dump, the food is gross, and the people that work there too.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2019 at 7:42 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Rick:

Then I guess you won't be going there. The rest of us that liked the place WILL. You can go to the Village Pub and spend a fortune. The rest of us understand that just because it costs a lot, it doesn't mean it's really "good". There's such a thing a as "comfort food" and that's what Zots provided.


2 people like this
Posted by Bruce
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2019 at 4:47 pm

Thanks for buying the place, Deke and Lori. My Dad was a regular in the '40's, my brother and I were regulars in the 70's, his son in the 2010's, and I always like to stop and sit a while in the back when I drive through. My daughter goes there now.

Don't forget (there's a sign inside the main doors on the right hand side), this was the site where the very first email was sent back in 1976 or 77 from the back picnic tables! That's just as special as the swinging doors. Memorialize the table!


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