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Mahalo Grille Closed

Original post made by downtown diner on Dec 28, 2009

According to the information on Yelp, supposedly validated as provided by the owner of Mahalo, they are permanently closed. The "water damage" excuse may have been just that. It was a good location, had pretty good food, but the owners just treated people like trash. The unwashed public may not have seemed good enough for them but at least we spent money there. They should have treated everyone with a little more respect.

Comments (21)

Posted by love to eat out, a resident of California Reflections
on Dec 29, 2009 at 7:48 am

If they are closed permanently.. it is not a great loss... i totally agree with the fact that the people who worked there were rude and if you asked them for suggestions they couldnt even recommend anything because they never tasted most of the meals.. how sad...where has customer service and just mere friendliness gone..


Posted by downtown diner, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:29 am

I read on the other thread about the "water damage" that they had fired all of the employees with no talk about re-opening. That's a great way to say happy holidays. Most of the servers were nice but not really all that competent. The owner and his wife were just nasty. If you read some of the Yelp comments it seems that was the biggest complaint. If you hate people that much, don't be in a people oriented business. I know someone who dropped a couple hundred dollars for a wine dinner. The owner sat at his own table, having a great party of his own, never even greeted the people who had paid big bucks to be at this special dinner. My friends were approached only once during dinner, to get their credit cards to pay for it. Aren't you supposed to play host at something like that? Geez, he should have opened a ditch digging business or something.


Posted by Know it all, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 29, 2009 at 4:23 pm

My only experience with this owner was after being told that a $150 gift certificate I was given was effectively worthless because he wouldn't honor it based on a supposed dispute between himself and the previous owner of the restaurant. A waiter had given us a form letter telling us how sorry they were etc... All of a sudden a guy shows up telling us he's the new owner and then re-explains why they won't take our valid gift certificate. He tells us he will give us 30% off on our meal that evening as a concession. He then spent the next hour or so explaining how he was born to be in the restaurant business and had done extensive study on why everyone else was failing and he was going to succeed wildly. He was extremely disparaging to the previous owner (who unknown to him was a personal friend of ours), and was completely arogant throughout the night. He finally left (thank goodness). When our bill showed up no discount was given. Apparently he didn't communicate to our waiter and couldn't be reached after leaving. How ironic.....

He seems to have reaped what he's sowed! Too bad the way he treated his employee's during the holiday season. Mahalo was a unique little gem until this pretender took it over.


Posted by P-town Dad, a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 30, 2009 at 8:43 am

I'm surprised the restaurant lasted this long. I visited when they originally opened with the previous owner and the fish was awful...never went back again.


Posted by Christina, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:02 am

My husband and I went there shortly after it opened and decided never to go back. The food was not that good and the service was really bad. I'm glad they are closed!


Posted by Nosy Neighbors, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:59 am

Are we talking about the same Mahalo? Don't know what the above posters experienced but I have never had a bad meal, cocktail, service, or attitude from the current or especially the past owners. I will say that when Patrick (the prior manager) was let go the new owners son (tall, blonde guy, don't remember his name) was kinda "fussy." The problem here people is that you have to know how to treat your restaurant people as well. For starters is helps to not be a jerk, demanding your bread, water & specifically made cocktail be delivered to you in a specified time frame & particular order. I've seen some of you "customers" in restaurants before & if you were a guest in my house I'd kick your ugly, self-centered, elitist butts out my front door!

So I'm sorry that Mahalo is closed. Josh, the chef was a smart, young guy (oh yeah with 3 kids, right at X-mas time too, I bet your all really sad about that. Go back to Livermore.

[portions of post removed due to offensive language]


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:09 am

I have to say I always had good meals there, but the restaurant seemed to be managed in an inexplicable manner. They were often closed when you would expect them to be open -- Saturday & Sunday lunches for example, in the warmer months, when every other place on Main St. was packed with outdoor seating, they were closed, at least this last spring/summer/fall. Nice chef, nice waiters, but the ownership/management was clueless.


Posted by mom2boyz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:55 am

Great. What does one do with two $50 gift certificates? What a waste.


Posted by downtown diner, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 11:30 am

For Nosy: I think you make a good point about some people being way too demanding. What we all seem to agree on is that the food was either great/good/so-so/bad (depending on your personal taste and the specific item), the service was generally polite if not completely competent but the management totally sucked! If the owners had any talent dealing with customers it was never witnessed by me and clearly not by many others either. As for being closed at strange times . . . it sure was. Pretty basic to be open when the people are out but what do I know, the owner was the self-proclaimed expert in the restaurant business.


Posted by Long time resident, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 30, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I must agree with the negative comments about this restaurant - the only thing I would add is that not only was the food bad and the wait staff incompetent, but the prices were outrageous. We went there once and never returned. I'm not sure what has happened to the downtown restaurants and their pricing, but this is Pleasanton, folks, not San Francisco. We can get a much better quality meal for less money in the big city than in our own back yard, and that doesn't quite add up. It seems the local residents have just learned to accept mediocrity (and think it's good) in exchange for the ambience of our charming downtown. We should be able to have both.


Posted by Not sad to see you go, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm

We ate at Mahalo a few months ago and we could not believe how awlful it was. I mean, not just bad but really BAD. It was like everything was microwaved. If there was a chef in the kitchen cooking, I would be surprised. Thank God we had a 2 for 1 coupon. They have also gotten way overpriced for what you get. Let's keep our fingers crossed something decent goes in there. It really was a very attractive place with great ambiance, just poorly managed.


Posted by lisa, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Gift certificates are for the birds. My daughters received them for businesses in the mall. When they went to spend them they were told that their gift certificates were no longer valid because there was a monthly fee attached to them. By the time they went to use them the fees had eaten up their worth. I for one am glad to say a hui hou to them.
There was a phenomenal Hof Brau that opened for about two months downtown...now that was some great eats and great people....


Posted by Timothy T, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 31, 2009 at 8:26 am

I'm in the restaurant business and "know how to treat my restaurant staff." That being said, the staff at Mahalo were regularly nice but often clueless about the food, what wines go with it, and completely inefficient. I'd often get my food then never see the waiter again until it was time to order dessert or pay the bill.

The food was decent (Not much in downtown is "great") but it had promise and they blew themselves out of the water with their own incompetence. No surprise that the owner would rather take the settlement money from the flood damage over opening it back up again. He was clearly born for a different business.

If Pasta's can stay open and in business, it's obviously not that hard to do in the downtown area, you have to really blow it to go out of business and that's exactly what Mahalo did.


Posted by Long time resident, a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 31, 2009 at 8:44 am

[Post removed because it is off topic]


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 31, 2009 at 10:58 am

The Main St. restaurant scene is obviously much better than in the past, but I don't think anyone is doing anything really innovative. But for those people who complain about the prices, remember that Pleasanton is not a sleepy little town anymore. It's the wealthiest middle-sized city in the U.S. (see Wikipedia, etc.) and prices are going to reflect that. Pleasanton is not San Francisco, but that's more because it's a wealthy enclave, not because it's a random suburb.


Posted by Valerie Long, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 31, 2009 at 11:00 am

In Feb my friends took me there as it was my choice. Service was very slow as it was over the lunch hour. What does one expect? I thought the food was excellent then.
Too bad it was very diffferent and Livermore doesn't have that kind of resturant in town.


Posted by Chuck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Well, the opinions seem to be all over the ballpark about the food, service, etc. My wife & I have had lunch there a couple of times this summer and Fall, and were quite pleased. BUT -- the gift cert. that we received from a family member is now WORTHLESS!!
It is pretty obvious that almost ANYONE thinks they can run a restaurant, and that clearly is NOT the case! Some of them are turning over so quickly that it makes your head spin! And, it seems City regulations about not posting your menus for the first six months works against the success of a new business -- WHY are we doing that?


Posted by SteamRoller, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 1, 2010 at 8:39 pm

As an employee of Mahalo Grille, let me just set the record straight. None of the employees at Mahalo Grille were fired. And actually, the owners have always done a pretty good job of taking care of their employees. If you really want something to gossip about you should turn your talk toward the owner of the building. Now there is a guy who should be examined and judged. Not the owners of Mahalo. This man would rather see his own building sink into the ground than spend a penny to maintain it in an operational condition for his tenants. The owners of Mahalo have always shown me respect, loyalty, and treated me like family. And I don't know about you, but as an employee, those are exactly the type of people I want to work for.......


Posted by Fan of Downtown Business Success, a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jan 1, 2010 at 11:50 pm

It is easy to talk behind peoples backs and spread rumors. That's OK, the truth always comes out in the end, so I wouldn't pay attention to the rumor spreading.

The official release said "temporary closure" and that Mahalo Grille plans on "re-opening" as soon as possible. I confirmed that to be the case after personally speaking with one of the owners recently. They are in fact still very much in business and responding to phone calls and emails contrary to the erroneous posts above.

I urge the residents of Pleasanton to stop the rumors and instead have some sympathy for the people impacted by Mahalo's temporary closing in the middle of the busy holiday season. Dozens of hard working families have been impacted by an unfortunate event.

What puzzles me is that this very paper voted Mahalo Grille the best seafood in town - two years in a row and they have received many other accolades which makes the comments more of a head scratcher. Obviously Mahalo is doing something right. I guess that most of the above reflects those few loud voices that didn't vote for the readers choice the last two years?

Here is a vote of support not just for Mahalo to come back stronger then ever, but for ALL small businesses and their families and employees who are struggling through this difficult economy.

Small business success is good for Downtown and good for Pleasanton residents. The wonderful schools and amazing services available to all of us are a DIRECT result of businesses like Mahalo Grille that contribute to the local economy.

If you don't want to eat at Mahalo, fine, go somewhere else, but show some respect for the families of Mahalo who did nothing to deserve these comments and be thankful that it is because of these businesses, their owners and the families they employ that all of us have the kind of services that are the envy of most other communities.

These are incredibly tough times, not made any easier by petty jealous individuals with a sick sense of self entitlement demonstrated above and other posts like it. Grow up!


Posted by downtown diner, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2010 at 8:48 am

It seems that the owner of that building put on a new roof before Richard took it over. So why the charges from "steamroller"?
FoDBS -- if you have received answers to your emails and calls you are the exception. Or are you the plant for Richard? I don't think anyone on this thread wants to see businesses fail but the way the owners of Mahalo treated customers it was not much of a surprise. No one likes to think of employees and their families displaced at any time but over the holidays it is the worst. Loss of business insurance pays only the owner, no reimbursements for the employees.
Mahalo is the only seafood restaurant downtown, not hard to be voted the best. As for the "self entitlement", is it too much to ask to be treated with respect as a valued customer? Especially by the owner? How about honoring the gift certificates which were no doubt part of the transfer of business assets? If Richard wants to re-open, which I would like but very much doubt, that would be a good thing for downtown. But first he should take some lessons in how to be less arrogant. From the reading of this thread it is clear that I was not the only one treated poorly.


Posted by JVD, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Mahalo didn't seem to know much about Hawaiian food. I lived in the islands just long enough to know about a few native specialties, and when Mahalo opened I thought it would be a great place to order one or two. A surprise was in store for me: Mahalo's menu was really about mainland food, and there was no passion or guava drinks, no poi, and none of the other staple foods that are common in Hawaii. It would be great to have some truly authentic world restaurants downtown, rather than just "theme restaurants" that just offer mild variations of food you can get anywhere in the 48 US states.


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