Closure of iconic burger and pizza joint near Stanford stirs locals’ memories

This afternoon I shared a Facebook post on my page that an iconic hamburger and pizza joint near Stanford, The Oasis in Menlo Park, was closing after 60 years:

“It is with heavy heart that we announce the closing of our beloved bar and restaurant, The Oasis. After several months of effort, we were unable to negotiate a reasonable lease for our business, nor meet the requested terms of the building’s owner. Therefore, we have made the very difficult decision to close our doors, and bid farewell to the endearing community of Menlo Park and Stanford University. Our last day of business will be March 7 — please stop in for a visit and say goodbye!”

Known for its affordable beer and food, The “O” was a landmark. “Founded in 1958, the original furnishings included carved tables and booths, Stanford mementos, a shuffle board and a mishmash of barroom memorabilia you’d never see any place else,” as its website reads. “A big 27″ black-and-white Sylvania TV lit up the end of the bar.”

I posted some memories and some of our locals, who are Facebook friends, weighed in:

Mine: “Great memories of the area too. My dad worked at SRI International, and I was a junior and senior at Saratoga High School. My mom and I would meet dad for lunch at a restaurant called The Acorn (Greek food) in Menlo Park. Years later, when I worked at CNET, I ran into Steve Jobs at the Apple Store in Palo Alto.

“Peter Salaya’s dad (New Moon Cafe) was the chef at Scotty Campbell’s restaurant on El Camino in Redwood City. The New Moon kitchen has a black-and-white photo of Peter and his dad there. I went there with my senior prom date. I enjoy sharing that past with Peter.”

Sandy Woods (retired CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds): “Wow, we were there at the same time. I went to Hillview and then to Woodside. Grew up playing all tag thru Atherton. Enjoyed advanced studies with Nobel prize children at Stanford — so stimulating! We were blessed!

“Grateful for down to earth discussions at The Oasis, especially in the height of Vietnam! We celebrated my father’s life at Scotty Campbell’s — the interior they purchased from the Mark Hopkins Hotel in S.F. We were so blessed with amazing beauty and awesome intellect!”

Katy Jacobs (local lawyer): “Darn. Used to go there with my dad.”

Dick Law (local realtor): “Menlo Park takes great pride in making life difficult for the small businesses.”

Doug McDonald (Penn Valley Rotarian): “Not the ‘O’! I wonder if the ‘O’ will auction off the customer-carved tables — I want the ones with SAE lovingly chiseled in.”

(Photos: The Oasis)

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

2 thoughts on “Closure of iconic burger and pizza joint near Stanford stirs locals’ memories”

  1. Yeah , the funky carved tables come immediately to mind. I went there for lunch with my colleagues from time to time during the 30 years I worked at Stanford. You never know, that’s a neighborhood where the community Uusometimes decides that a business is too iconic to close, as was the case with Kepler’s Books back in about 2005. Kepler’s is about three blocks from “The O” (as we called The Oasis). Ira Sandperl, Joan Baez’s mentor and longtime employee of Kepler’s, was part of its iconography. When it closed in the early 2000s, friends,customers and neighbors helped raise money to keep it open. Could that happen with The O?

  2. I’ll miss the place on my treks to Menlo/Stanford. Looks like “O” fans might have to migrate up to the Dutch Goose.

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