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Pleasanton: Barone's Restaurant shutting down for good after nearly 30 years

Website cites COVID, inflation and shortage of staff as reasons for closing

Barone's Restaurant, known for its fine-dining cuisine, will be closing its doors on Dec. 22 after 27 years of serving the downtown Pleasanton community. (File photo)

Barone's Restaurant, known for offering quaint fine dining downtown, recently announced that it will be shutting its doors for good after its last day of business just before Christmas.

"It is with heavy hearts that after 27 years at Barone's Restaurant, we will be closing our fine-dining operation as of 12/22/2022," according to the restaurant's website.

Joe and Maricela Barone -- who own and operate the restaurant located on 475 St. John St. -- first opened their doors in March 1995. According to the "About" section of the restaurant's website, they were able to make their dreams of owning a restaurant come true after they purchased the historic Casanova's Restaurant in downtown Pleasanton, which later became Barone's Restaurant.

Located on the north end of downtown, a block off Main Street, the restaurant has become well-known in the community over the years -- but because of things like the pandemic, inflation and staffing shortages that were impacting day-to-day operations, the couple said they have decided to call it quits.

"We want to thank all of our wonderful patrons for their years of support -- and for creating so many lasting memories with us and our great staff," the website stated. "We hope these last couple of months are a time for us to come together and make our final dining experiences together just as special."

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But the intent on closing the restaurant isn't something that is new.

The Barones announced their intent to shut down early in 2021 and even tried to propose plans to redevelop the downtown site into residential housing.

The initial plan, which was submitted to the Planning Commission, was to build an 11-unit detached single-family residential project -- seven of which would also include accessory-dwelling units (ADUs) -- at the properties at 475 and 493 St. John St.

But the couple found out that if they wanted to do that, their design plans needed to include commercial space and couldn't be entirely residential due to city regulations.

When the City Council updated Pleasanton's Downtown Specific Plan in 2019, the area was designated as commercial. It allowed for residential use on certain sites if some commercial space was included.

At the time, the council called an exclusively residential project on the Barone's site not desirable and city staff also said they received numerous messages about the project from residents, with the majority opposed to building more housing on the site.

All five planning commissioners during that time told Joe and Maricela Barone and developer Robson Homes at a March 24, 2021 workshop to draft alternate plans that integrate commercial space.

Ellen Clark, director of community development, told the Weekly on Wednesday that the city did receive a revised project application last December.

"The application now includes 14 attached single-family homes, and an enlarged commercial component comprising two separate buildings flanking a courtyard/plaza and fronting St. John Street, while retaining the existing Barone's home," Clark said.

She added that the project is currently under city and California Environmental Quality Act review to be potentially identified as a new housing project for downtown Pleasanton.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include new information provided by Pleasanton's Community Development Department on Nov. 9 about the status of a new redevelopment proposal for the Barone's property.

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Christian Trujano
 
Christian Trujano, a Bay Area native and San Jose State alum, joined Embarcadero Media in May 2022 following his graduation. He is an award-winning student journalist who has covered stories in San Jose ranging from crime to higher education. Read more >>

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Pleasanton: Barone's Restaurant shutting down for good after nearly 30 years

Website cites COVID, inflation and shortage of staff as reasons for closing

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Nov 4, 2022, 4:31 pm
Updated: Thu, Nov 10, 2022, 9:12 am

Barone's Restaurant, known for offering quaint fine dining downtown, recently announced that it will be shutting its doors for good after its last day of business just before Christmas.

"It is with heavy hearts that after 27 years at Barone's Restaurant, we will be closing our fine-dining operation as of 12/22/2022," according to the restaurant's website.

Joe and Maricela Barone -- who own and operate the restaurant located on 475 St. John St. -- first opened their doors in March 1995. According to the "About" section of the restaurant's website, they were able to make their dreams of owning a restaurant come true after they purchased the historic Casanova's Restaurant in downtown Pleasanton, which later became Barone's Restaurant.

Located on the north end of downtown, a block off Main Street, the restaurant has become well-known in the community over the years -- but because of things like the pandemic, inflation and staffing shortages that were impacting day-to-day operations, the couple said they have decided to call it quits.

"We want to thank all of our wonderful patrons for their years of support -- and for creating so many lasting memories with us and our great staff," the website stated. "We hope these last couple of months are a time for us to come together and make our final dining experiences together just as special."

But the intent on closing the restaurant isn't something that is new.

The Barones announced their intent to shut down early in 2021 and even tried to propose plans to redevelop the downtown site into residential housing.

The initial plan, which was submitted to the Planning Commission, was to build an 11-unit detached single-family residential project -- seven of which would also include accessory-dwelling units (ADUs) -- at the properties at 475 and 493 St. John St.

But the couple found out that if they wanted to do that, their design plans needed to include commercial space and couldn't be entirely residential due to city regulations.

When the City Council updated Pleasanton's Downtown Specific Plan in 2019, the area was designated as commercial. It allowed for residential use on certain sites if some commercial space was included.

At the time, the council called an exclusively residential project on the Barone's site not desirable and city staff also said they received numerous messages about the project from residents, with the majority opposed to building more housing on the site.

All five planning commissioners during that time told Joe and Maricela Barone and developer Robson Homes at a March 24, 2021 workshop to draft alternate plans that integrate commercial space.

Ellen Clark, director of community development, told the Weekly on Wednesday that the city did receive a revised project application last December.

"The application now includes 14 attached single-family homes, and an enlarged commercial component comprising two separate buildings flanking a courtyard/plaza and fronting St. John Street, while retaining the existing Barone's home," Clark said.

She added that the project is currently under city and California Environmental Quality Act review to be potentially identified as a new housing project for downtown Pleasanton.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include new information provided by Pleasanton's Community Development Department on Nov. 9 about the status of a new redevelopment proposal for the Barone's property.

Comments

Fifty Years Here
Registered user
Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 8, 2022 at 2:10 pm
Fifty Years Here, Pleasanton Heights
Registered user
on Nov 8, 2022 at 2:10 pm

I would like to publicly thank Joe and Maricela Barone for all they put into their restaurant, and all they put into Downtown! The people of Pleasanton have for a long time thought they needed, wanted and deserved high-end shops and restaurants in the Downtown, but they drove past Amelia's to get to Subway, past Kolln Hardware on their way to Home Depot, and past Bob's on their way to In & Out...
The Barones brought upscale, fine-dining to Downtown and delivered for almost 30 years! They provided a dignity and element of class to Downtown, that few others can claim.
As they move their property into its next chapter, it would be my hope that their over-all contribution to Downtown for the past quarter-century be considered when evaluation of their plans takes place. They've given our Downtown what we needed and wanted for a long time... Maybe our city leaders can return the favor...


MELANIE HENRY
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Nov 16, 2022 at 1:20 pm
MELANIE HENRY, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Nov 16, 2022 at 1:20 pm

I understand the Barone family intend to sell the property. I sure hope the City of Pleasanton will ensure the land is zoned and dedicated for all residents and visitors to enjoy. Rather than housing. The land is both beautiful and special as it backs on to the Arroyo. There is an opportunity to create something like a small plaza, along the lines of the layout at Blacksmith Square in Livermore for eg, cafes, specialty boutique stores with a central water feature, gardens and dedicated areas to sit outside.


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