The Farmer Restaurant in the Pleasanton Hotel on north Main Street will close after its last meals are served next Sunday with a new restaurant to replace it in September.
Restaurant staff handed customers glossy cards yesterday along with their table checks promoting Handles Gastropub as the new restaurant.
Handles bills itself as a restaurant that features "American comfort food" and also will offer 30 craft beers and 16 local wines. Mixed drinks also will be available.
On its Facebook page posted Friday, Handles Gastropub lists its general manager as Brent Schwager, who is also listed as the operator of Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Brian Hampton is named as the chef of the new Handles restaurant here.
Handles will be the third restaurant in just a little over two years in the hotel.
Pleasanton entrepreneurs Bill Laube and his wife Vernie, who had owned and operated the hotel restaurants since 1983, surrendered their lease and terminated 40 employees on New Year's Eve in 2008.
Sue Martinovich, the hotel building's owner, later opened Farmer, patterned after the Elegant Farmer that she and her former husband and parents owned in Jack London Square. A down-home type of restaurant, Farmer became an immediate success in Pleasanton, with its fried chicken special always a menu favorite.
Martinovich has owned the two-story building since 1980, long after the facility actually offered overnight rooms for guests. She ran the ground floor restaurant for three years before selling that operation to the Laubes.
It's not clear who will lose their jobs in this latest closing but waiters and waitresses said they've been told their jobs will end when the Farmer Restaurant closes. They said it's unclear if they will be offered new jobs when Handles opens.
Over the years, the bar at the hotel has become more popular than the restaurants. Shannon Gallagher, a graduate of Foothill High School, is the bartender; Melissa Orgain is banquet manager; Rinaldi is the restaurant's business manager, and Roberto Ortiz is the head chef.
Martinovich has been active in Pleasanton Downtown Association events. At one time, she told city officials that she would soon seek approval to extend the north end of the hotel to allow for outdoor dining alongside the banks of the Arroyo Del Valle.
That hasn't happened although both the PDA and city planners have encouraged her to proceed with those plans.