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Handles Gastropub to replace Farmer Restaurant at Pleasanton Hotel

Original post made on May 30, 2011

The Farmer Restaurant in the Pleasanton Hotel on north Main Street will close after its last diners are served next Sunday with a new restaurant to replace it in September.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, May 29, 2011, 9:08 AM

Comments (38)

Posted by downtown diner, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 30, 2011 at 6:07 am

Interesting! A brew pub across the street from the brew pub. Main St. Brewery can be OK if they like you there. If not, be prepared to be ignored by everyone. This will be a welcome addition.

Posted by OldTimer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 30, 2011 at 8:14 am

At least it isn't another bank!

Posted by CCC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 30, 2011 at 8:45 am

Well, it looks like Castlewood is still the best place to get a quality dinner in a beautiful setting.

Posted by Scott Walsh, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 30, 2011 at 9:23 am

John Madden should buy the place.

Posted by Resident, a resident of West of Foothill
on May 30, 2011 at 10:01 am

Castlewood would be great if you support what they did to their workers. If you do not support their actions, you should not support their club in any way.

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Downtown
on May 30, 2011 at 10:06 am

At least it's not another Indian restaurant cooking curry 24/7.

Posted by Carlos, a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 30, 2011 at 11:20 am

Gastropub?? What are they going to serve? Green beer and chili?

Posted by kt, a resident of Birdland
on May 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

Finally, a place where families can gather for some good beer, decent food (hopefully) and some 'character'. Have gone to 'brew pub' across the street, and have been turned away because we were with our kids after a certain hour - 8:00?? P-town needs a place like Peets Brass Rail in Danville that brings families back downtown! Hope they are successful!

Posted by Scott, a resident of Downtown
on May 30, 2011 at 11:51 am

This is welcome news. Someone needs to show the Main Street Brewery what customer service and quality food really is. It will not be hard to outshine that place. Rude bartenders who hide behind the center island with their backs to you and make you feel like you are doing them a favor for buying their overpriced drinks and nasty food. We welcome this new pub. Good luck.

Posted by Tadius, a resident of Downtown
on May 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm


You hit the nail on the head. At the Main Street Brewery, the booze is way overpriced, the food is swill, and the bartenders are bungwads.

Posted by orange11, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm

While not downtown, the Hopyard Grill is an excellent, family friendly brew pub with decent food. Whenever I've been in there, it's teemed with kids. And they understand customer service well.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Foothill High School
on May 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Um...if The Farmer was "an immediate success" as the reporter writes, why exactly did Sue Martinovich decide to close it and lease the space out to someone else. There's a part of the story the writer has forgotten to include.

Posted by dancermom, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 31, 2011 at 8:19 am

Exactly what we need downtown: a place to go after soccer games, bring the kids, meet friends for a beer. Never had a good meal at Main Street Brewery and I love the outdoor patio at Farmer's. Hopefully the new owners will make use of it! (And get rid of the moldy smell of the hotel inside!)

Posted by Longtime resident, a resident of Country Fair
on May 31, 2011 at 9:18 am

Scott Walsh is right - John Madden should buy the hotel. Everything he and his sons get involved with is a success. A gastropub could be a good thing, if it is done right. But, the skeptic in me (based on what has come and gone here in 30 years) says it won't be and we'll end up with yet another mediocre restaurant in our downtown. With few exceptions, 'good food' and Pleasanton restaurants do not seem to be synonymous, unfortunately.

Posted by Lessismore , a resident of Mohr Park
on May 31, 2011 at 1:28 pm

We went to The Farmer Restaurant twice and got very poor services both times and new went back.

, a resident of the West of Foothill neighborhood, on May 30, 2011 at 10:01 am
You need to get better understand the facts.

Posted by Mary, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on May 31, 2011 at 1:47 pm

What this place needs is The First St Ale House in Livermore!! It is hands down the best family/pub place around with not only great staff but AMAZING Food and well priced!! If the Gastropub will be anything like the Ale house then it will be a HUGE Success for downtown Pleasanton. The Main street brewery is HORRIBLE is ALL aspects!!

Posted by CCC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm

The PATIO of the Hotel is much too beautiful for smelly brew, drunks, and kids...yuk, what a mix to be avoided at all costs ! !Please don't waste that site.. It's beautiful for dates, special family gatherings, sunset cocktails and nitecaps and twinkle lights...and Main Street events. Too bad the current owner pushed out Bill Laube.
I hope the owner and the Maddens think carefully about preserving
the beauty of the hotel patio....that's what I've always gone there's 'key' to Pleasanton's 'MAIN' street.
Like I said, for a beautiful alfresco outdoor setting it CCC.
(and to narrow minded 'Resident' get over it... if you keep cutting on your nose ,there won't be anything left.)
Yes, the Madden family should buy it, to insure class...remember Momma Madden owned and operated a bar in Dublin for years.

Posted by huh?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I see a lot of family-friendly talk but this is a BAR, with premium booze, and supposed 'high quality' foods - not the fare that most kids are used to, enjoy, or are even allowed to have. There are many adults that enjoy being in the company of other adults without a bunch of kids running/yelling around...

While there are places that make the mix work (usually with sub-par food and drink - i.e. TGIFridays,Applebees) I,for one, hope this place is adult-focused and NOT family-focused.

just sayin....

Posted by Tissy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2011 at 5:11 pm

The WORST hamburger I ever had was at Farmers...consequently, we never went back. From what I've heard, it was NOT an "instant Success". I have had much better food across the street at Main Street Brewery. Say what you want, the new name, dreadful! Gastropub...PLEASE!

Posted by June, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Dont hold your breath. Im sure the Maddens considered the purchase being next to the Rose Hotel and all. If it suited them, they would have purchased it by now. I dont think they have a cash flow problem. It will take alot of money to upgrade the interiors and the process in Pleasanton is probably too much brain damage. Between picky historian-wanna-bes, beaucratic all-inclusive community input, no wonder the Maddens stick to renovating in Livermore downtown these days were residents and City Hall are friendlier.

Posted by Tissy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2011 at 6:04 pm

June...I totally agree!! Especially the picky historian wanna bes!

Posted by downtown diner, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Thank you "huh?" for taking the words out of my mouth.
This town does NOT need another nice place turned into a veritable Chuck E Cheese by catering to screaming kids. When will people get it through their heads that kids and dogs do not belong everywhere?!?
If it's a bar and it serves booze the rules should be pretty clear -- over 21 or go find a cheap, noisy dump to let your kids run around in. I stopped going to the Hopyard for just that reason many years ago. Having a pint of beer dumped into my lap when the out of control kids ran into the server sort of killed my enthusiasm.

Posted by just me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2011 at 6:47 am

The Pleasanton Hotel was once a restaurant that we could be proud of. It was a special place to take out of town guests, bay area residents knew that it was the place to go. It was also a great place for a wedding reception. Notice that I have have used the word WAS several times.

Posted by Mary, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 1, 2011 at 8:35 am

For those that want "upscale" and "classy" take your pic at the 20 Italian restaurants on Main Street!! or over priced Steakhouses!! come on!! We have ENOUGH Snooty places for those who like to flash thier money and look down at the little people, a pub IF DONE RIGHT can be good for all!! Maybe some of you need to take a look at First Street Ale House in Livermore and see that there are NO kids running around knocking drinks down, it has something for everyone.. that is one thing Pleasanton does not have on Main street.. and sorry Round Table Pizza does not count! Come down off your pedastools people and realize the more family friendly places the MORE MONEY you will make!!

Posted by Nosy Neighbors, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

Nosy Neighbors is a registered user.

The greatest line from an otherwise mediocre movie, "you've got a a bar?"

It would appear fairly simple to me. The state of California allows minors to be on the premises of an establishment that is a bona fide eating place.

Web Link

I still can't tell if Handles will operate a true brewing facility on the grounds but even they do not they should be able to obtain a liquor license for beer, wine & a full bar. The real question is whether or not they could or would want to separate the bar/band area inside the restaurant to be a true 21 and over area only.

When I think "Gastropub" I'm envisioning something like Henry's in Berkeley, or Gordon Biersch/Thirsty Bear in S.F. Granted both these places are in a more urban setting & Henry's caters to a large college crowd but neither place is by any stretch of the imagination a "Chuck E Cheese" type of place where kids are concerned. I've rarely encountered the out-of-control screaming brat in either place and I would truly hope that the average helicopter mommies in this town would better restrain their offspring.

So if there's a baby in the bar let's just hope mommy dabs a little rum on juniors pacifier and keeps them quiet.

Posted by CCC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

'Just me' said it well. The Hotel USE to be a 'destination' treat for BRING THEIR DOLLARS TO MAIN STREET ! UNIQUE ! ! Pleasanton is NOT Livermore...the hotel WAS unique...
special, different.
Food for everybody was a good idea. The food doesn't have to be expensive....but it does have to be GOOD QUALITY.
Just an idea I haven't even analyzed...quality BBQ pork/beef sandwich, dinners, maybe ass't slider platter, tender corn cobbettes, range of quality salads, several quality but small dessert specialities. Classy enough no men T shirts allowed or sleeves required. Kids welcome but classy enough, it's not their nightly take-out place.. Have to consider high schoolers...if
cost enough, they wouldn't 'hang out'. Best ribs in valley sort of place. I'd still prefer will depend on owner,,,we don't want rough, noisy, rednecks. It could be novelty for bringing visitors, kids on special occasion would enjoy, need the best BBQ chef available, could be old west objects inside.
I know there's a place in Phoenix, that has had continuous LINES for 50 years....done right, that could be at Pleasanton Hotel too.
NOT by somebody that doesn't know how to do it.

Posted by CCC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:53 am

The valley is full of boring wine and tidbits places. The HOTEL screams for and PLEASANTON needs something UNIQUE but GREAT quality AMERICAN food !
...couldn't get much more American ! Fits with families, visitors, car collectors, locals, couple for after work food, groups for the fun.etc.
Along with shredded sand,sliced platters,corncobs,Chili/corn/Cornbread, chili, navy bean//ham soup, checkered napkins, several lunch salads....all top quality, artfully done. And probably 1 big steak, and 1 fillet, 1 big burger,1 small burger....nothing else.

Posted by huh?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see and those who don't like what the management decides to do can vote with their feet.

Posted by Fred, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm

The kids need to be home in bed after a certain hour. The brewpub did the right thing turning away families with screaming kids. Like someone said, it's a PUB, not a Chuckie Cheese.

Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on Jun 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I used to have a favorite spot in Tacoma... Yankee Diner.

Pot Roast, meatloaf, beef stews, mac'n cheese, fresh seafood platters - grilled or fried. S 72nd & I-5. Don't know/care if it's still there.

When I heard someone say 'comfort food'.. it came to mind. Something like grandma's cookin.. homemade rolls, and apple pies.

Why not??

Posted by CCC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I think great BBQ sandwiches, ribs, cornbread, bean soup, chili, and baked beans,......and a few quality steaks, salads, desserts. It plays off foods that would be what was served when the hotel was built...authentic. I think much could be well-done with the THEME...NOT hokey.,,, QUALITY food is the secret. FUN ! UNIQUE !
That is very different than a grandma's depression kitchen.

Posted by more huh?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm

For all you posters with dreams of what this place should be go and open your own place with your own money or backing. You don't think these guys know what they're doing or they have a plan..? that they're trolling online forums trying to get ideas for a menu? get real!

Unfortunately many will be disappointed and complain, because this will not be a chuck-e-cheese or grandmas kitchen. Hopefully this 'gastropub' fills a niche that needs filling and gets enough business to be successful and thrive. Bonus points if I like it - and if I don't I already have plenty of local places I enjoy so then I just hope it's successful so the hotel doesn't sit empty.

I also suspect that many of the whiners with kids don't really go out to eat all that much but like to complain that there's not a place for them that's perfect where they can abandon their responsibilities for awhile while they have a good time. Main St. isn't a Disney Cruise!

Posted by CCC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

It would be a shame to WASTE the HOTEL and HOTEL patio on something that could be done any place. The venue is UNIQUE and should be utilized to it's 'highest and best' use....with somrthing that cannot be done well any place else.

Posted by diner, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

What's with all the classist paranoia? Posters like Mary seem to really have issues. I saw a posting of hers on the great article about the city's drug problems. For the most part Pleasanton is wonderful and safe city filled with caring people. Maybe those like Mary should just move out and make this a better place.

Posted by just me, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2011 at 7:52 am

CCC I so agree with you. It is a beautiful and historical part of Pleasanton that doesn't deserve a pub like atmosphere.

Posted by Scott, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Anyone been to Houston's? It a great place that utilizes local produce, meat an seafood. Great wine and bear, quality seating, wood fired pizza oven, outside fireplace. Not that hard. This will work very well. I hear the menu will be seasonal which means they will employ a chef instead of a cook. Should be a great place. Dogs allowed on the patio. Outside music. Outside bar. It will be awesome.

Posted by carne, a resident of Danville
on Jul 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

I know the guy who will be making beer here and his beer is 2nd to none of ANY breweries I have been to in the East Bay. Top notch micro brews!

Posted by CCC, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2011 at 12:22 am

Dancermom, get rid of 'moldy smell'..........that's better then stinky brewry stench,...the stench will ruin the whole North end
of town ! ! uGH ! ! puke.. how can we escape....SO, SO sad to waste that beautiful patio,.,,the whole area will stink now !

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