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Handles Gastropub opens Monday at Pleasanton Hotel

Original post made on Aug 25, 2011

Handles on Main Gastropub, the newest restaurant in downtown Pleasanton, will open Monday following a special preview today.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 25, 2011, 7:59 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by Foody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

Hopefully the food will be a lot better than was the case for Farmers. It would also be very helpful if they got rid of the "old" smell from this place.

Posted by Mark Y.
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 25, 2011 at 8:40 am

I'm excited about the opening of this new, fresh, exciting restaurant in Pleasanton. This is an innovative idea and theme (craft micro-brews, local high quality food, smaller wines "on tap"...). I've seen the enticing menu on the website. It'll be my new reason for strolling up to the northern end of Main St. to see the renovated Pleasonton Hotel and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at Handles Gastropub. Can't wait for the grand opening.

Posted by Christina
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Aug 25, 2011 at 8:49 am

I hope that they actually changed the inside. It doesn't matter how good the food is, if the inside has not been completely changed, it will still feel like the old Pleasanton Hotel and people just won't eat there. I know I won't. I wish them luck, but they had to have put a lot of effort into changing the place.

Posted by Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2011 at 8:59 am

I will definitely go there and take friends. We need a new restaurant in town. I just wish that there was not such a huge social movement towards more alcohol consumption. We have enough places to drink. I will be going there for the food, not the alcohol.

Posted by Betsy W.
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 25, 2011 at 9:11 am

Yeah!! We are so excited to have you folks move in and renovate that lovely building! Seeing the progress you've made, the new interior, the care to preserve the allure of the Pleasanton Hotel but spruce it up (& yes, hopefully get rid of that "smell")and make it just a bit more hip really impressed our family.

Look forward to seeing you this weekend for the soft opening!

Posted by Joe
a resident of Siena
on Aug 25, 2011 at 9:18 am

I ate lunch at Handles yesterday. They offered lunch to Facebook fans as they tested things out for the first time. My impression is both good and bad. Here is the good:

-Attentive waiters (soda refilled constantly...that was very nice)
-Food arrived very quickly
-Nice has a nice feel to it
-Ketchup. It is made on-premises from fresh tomatoes and it is tasty, albeit very runny and thin

Here is the "needs improvement" category:

-Restrooms were not refurbished and are way out of place compared to what they did (and the ladies room had no TP)
-It is VERY loud in the bar/restaurant area. This is because there is nothing soft to absorb the sound. Lots of wood everywhere, so you have to shout in order to speak (some people like that--I do not)
-The food was "eh" to me. I had the sliders with beef brisket, and two of the slices of meat were pure fat. I took a bite and realized what was in my mouth....eewww. My friend got the chili, which wasn't really chili but more like chili soup. It was very liquidy. She also requested no cheese and it came with cheese (we understand it is new and they are still adjusting to being open)
-I hope that when they open to the public, all of the menu items will be available. We understand that this was a 'test' (and thus, our bill was reduced by 35% because of this). Not available this week were: fried green tomatoes, soup of the day (unless you count the chili soup), and one other items that slips my mind at the moment

I won't judge them on yesterday's lunch--I will give them more time to adjust and figure things out a bit better. One of my things to look for in a restaurant is how well do they take care of the restroom, and if I was to base things solely on this, it would be a major fail. I'm not sure why they spent so much money on refurbishing everything but they skipped the bathrooms. it would have been so nice if they had done that. But I have a feeling that the bar will become very popular with the locals. You can't find another place that serves so much beer on tap. I think they have 35 on tap to select from. But since I'm not a drinker, that aspect doesn't' matter to me.

I wish them luck. It takes guts to open a business in this climate, with an Administration in DC who wants to punish "the rich", which is how the owners are categorized by this President. I hope they have enough money leftover after taxes to survive. I think it will become a local favorite.

Posted by kim
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 25, 2011 at 10:49 am

Sounds interesting. I will definitely try it after giving them a chnace to get the kinks out. Joe's review was a bit disturbing though. I won't go there just for the beer. Food better be good, so I'll wait a bit. One question though...what's with the name? Handles???

Posted by David Cannon
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm

David Cannon is a registered user.

This was my yelp review...

We were a guest of a friend for the "soft opening" of Handles last night. Handles has taken the space previously occupied by Farmers.

The interior has been very nicely redone. The bar area felt like a high end, comfortable hotel lobby. Nice bar with roomy areas to sit with friends and enjoy their extensive craft beers and wines. Large TVs were playing the Giants game. Chad, their brew master and one of the partners, introduced himself and chatted about the beers we ordered (including one that he had brewed).

For dinner we moved into the dinning room. The dinning room has been freshly remodel. Our server was very pleasant and personable. She took our drink order and chatted about their extensive beer and wine selection. She chatted through the menu choices and mentioned that all of their food is prepared by their chef on site. They smoke their own meats, make their own pastrami and even make their own ketchup.

We ordered 3 appetizers. The fried green tomatoes, hummus plate, and chicken wings. The fried green tomatoes were a treat. You do not see these on too many menus in California and they were very tasty. The hummus was OK. Nothing great, nothing wrong (could have used a bit more bread to spread the remaining hummus with). The wings were moist with a good taste of smoke.

For starters and entrees our table ordered 3 onion soups, 1 wedge salad, 1 mixed green salad, 1 pork chop entree, and 2 orders of fish and chips. Everyone who ordered the onion soup said it was great. I had a taste and thought it was very good but a bit sweeter than my personal preference. The wedge salad was HUGE and well dressed. The mixed green salad was fresh with a nice variety of greens, green beans and seasonal fantastic tomatoes. The pork chop(s), these were double thick, were moist with a nice touch of smoke. Very good. The fish and chips were made with rock cod and a light batter. The chips were fresh made fries. I enjoyed the dish. All of the servings where plentiful and everyone left with a portion to enjoy the next day.

With so much to learn for a new restaurant, new staff, new bar and new kitchen, the server did not have all the answers to all of our questions, but she went out of her way to get answers to anything she did not know. Overall I thought she did a terrific job of serving us.

The prices of the beers, wines and food are very reasonable making this a place you can come by frequently to enjoy with friends and family.

Being a guest of a friend who was invited to the soft opening, I suppose I should be giving this a 5 star rating. However, this was a soft opening so that everyone could learn and get better at delivering a terrific product to their guests. They have room for improvement and they know it.

Handles Gastropub (still chuckle about the gastropub) is a place I will be coming back to frequently. Good folks, good food, well priced.


P.S. to Kim - Draft beer "Handles"

Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Good luck. I've written you into my datebook and am looking forward to the experience.

Hoping to fine some genuinely healthy gastro items that will allow me to enjoy the pub choices at a reasonable calorie count.

How about providing nutritional info in parentheses under each item or on the website?

Posted by Watch Out
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm

PPD will be watching you like a hawk as you leave the new Pub parking lot.

Posted by vinny
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Aug 26, 2011 at 1:58 am

The name Gastropub. It just sounds too much like gastrointestinal.

Posted by Truth2
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 26, 2011 at 7:09 am

"Nutritional Info"..... you're going to a place with the words Gastro and Pub in the name. Just go away.

Posted by Andrew M.
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Aug 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

Don't worry folks, the types of people concerned with calorie & carb counting and those who are phobic and obsess over such silly notions of the "huge social movement towards more alcohol consumption" will not frequent this establishment.

More food, beer & wine for the rest of us who can appreciate the art of being a true gastronome.

Seriously though..."huge social movement towards more alcohol consumption." ??????

Posted by LL
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

My heart fell to learn the chef served pure fat in lieu of meat. Half the restaurants downtown are mediocre at best. I'm always hoping for one that has pride and serves only good food. When I heard a gastropub was opening I was so excited, having just been to an amazing one in New Orleans. Now I fear this is going to be just another crappy restaurant. If you can't do something well dont do it. There are so many foods can't you just pick things you can make that taste really good? That's why we pay to eat at restaurants. Lately I create my own delicious treats at home because there aren't enough good options worth paying for. It's insulting really. Tricking us into paying for crappy meat masquerading as food.

a resident of Downtown
on Aug 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Can't wait to try this place out.

I'm well traveled and a huge fan of great local, creative, tasty, organic, sustainably produced food and beer. Not sure yet what is on the menu, but if they have burgers, I'll try that first. From a previous post, I saw the fries are made from actual potatoes (thank you!), and ketchup homemade (perfect!).

I will follow up with public posts, and expect my reviews to dig deep, like, where was that bun sourced?

Good luck guys, long overdue to raise the bar in P-town!!!

Posted by Gary D.
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 27, 2011 at 2:18 am

"LL" you are no longer welcome here. My wife & four friends ate at Handles just earlier tonight and trust me, there was no fat or any of the other ridiculous accusations you have slandered upon this page. Nowhere near the old Pleasanton Hotel or Farmer fare, we were greeted and treated to an exquisite meal, some very tasty beer, wine and cocktails and a surrounding to match. My real question to you is have you been here or are you just trolling for a response?

I too cook all the meals in our house and trust me you snide fool I can replicate almost anything I see, taste or have heard of in almost any restaurant I've been too or read about. Handle's is about as un-pretentious yet tasty and creative as I've experienced in quite some time.

You and "Lee" can stay at home and sulk, bitch and moan and cook your own crappy food and not partake in any adult beverages and entertainment for all we care. We don't need your type bringing the party down for the rest of us!

Nighty night!

Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Aug 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Went by last night - had a great desert and after dinner cocktail.

Try the Carrot Cake. Amazingly good.

Welcome Handles. Best wishes to your entire staff.

Posted by Lisa T.
a resident of Castlewood
on Aug 28, 2011 at 9:45 am

Welcome to the neighborhood! We stopped by on Friday night and were able to get for the pre-opening. All I can say is Wow! The remodel is simply beautiful! Warm and inviting... The beer selection is impressive. But, I'll be coming back for the food! The hot pastrami was great. Huge portion. They told us the chef smokes all of the meats on site. We also had the soup of the day which was a salmon chowder - it was delicious. The kids gave the chicken two thumbs up. Thank you for serving it with grilled corn on the cob - very nice touch for a kids menu! There was even salmon on the kids menu - nice. The chocolate cake was amazing. The kids also loved the rootbeer on tap. We are so excited to have a new favorite restaurant in downtown!!!

Posted by Bill
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Well done remodel. Had a few appetizers in the bar - wings were spicy, the breading on the calamari was crispy. The brisket sliders were my favorite. Nice to see a few familiar faces in the bar. Will you be having music again? Look forward to the patio opening up again!

Posted by Joe
a resident of Siena
on Aug 29, 2011 at 8:29 am


I believe that you misread what "LL" was saying. That person was referencing my earlier comments about my review of Handles. I don't know what you mean by "go away". I was simply stating what foods I ordered and what I thought of them. Their beef brisket sliders were not at all what I was expecting. Each slider contained several thick slices of beef. Sort of imagine really thickly sliced roast beef--that's basically what it was. Two of the slices of beef were not beef, but were pure FAT. It was gross. But I'm not unreasonable, and I am not going to slam an entire restaurant because of that. It was their first day, so I did not expect perfection. I will give them another try in a few weeks to see if the kinks have been worked out. If so, then I will enjoy bringing guests there for lunch or dinner. If not, then I will not return. Just like with any business, I will rate them with my wallet. I am assuming that the owners of Handles are reading these comments--I know I would be! So hopefully they will chat with the chef and tell him to make sure that beef is served in the sliders, and not slices of fat. Perhaps they will also re-think their chili recipe, because it really is chili soup--it is not chili in the traditional sense. I wish them luck in their new venture!

Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Back east, I once had lunch with a friend who recommended a restaurant because, he said, their cheesecake tasted just like his mother's.

Fair enough, I thought. I had a sandwich and ordered a slice of cheesecake, which I couldn't judge because I had never tasted his mother's cheesecake.

Though I didn't share this with my friend, it occurred to me that we shouldn't judge a restaurant by what we think its cheesecake should taste like, but rather by how the cheesecake actually tastes.

When you order Gastropub's chili, you get their chili rather than your mom's; but just because it's not what you expect doesn't mean it's not just as good.

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