The future is murky for Sharon Magnuson, the operator of Dinah's Poolside Grill, whose 40 years of running the iconic Palo Alto restaurant appears to be coming to end.
A legal battle between Magnuson and the restaurant's property owner, Dinah's Garden Hotel, may result in the restaurant changing hands within a month, she told the Weekly.
Eric Magnuson, the corporate officer for Dinah's Poolside Grill, said the hotel's owner, Julie Handley, unexpectedly sent the restaurant a 30-day notice at the end of June to vacate the El Camino Real property.
Magnuson said Dinah's Poolside Grill is attempting to prevent the closure with a lawsuit against the hotel and Handley, the restaurant's landlord.
But Dinah's Hotel filed an unlawful detainer action, a special court proceeding to legally evict a person or business, on July 24 against Sharon Magnuson and her company, Create Your Own Omelette Inc.
Eric Magnuson, Sharon's son, said the restaurant's lawsuit is based on an agreement made between his father, Bruce Magnuson, the former owner of the restaurant who died in 2006, and Raymond Handley, the previous owner of the hotel who died in 2009. Raymond Handley was Julie Handley's father.
Magnuson said Raymond Handley had told Bruce Magnuson that the restaurant would have a "lifelong lease" at Dinah's Garden Hotel.
"We did a huge favor for original owner of hotel by serving dinner at major loss for 15 years, and because we made such a huge sacrifice he thanked us by saying, 'You'll always have a place here,'" Eric Magnuson said.
Handley would not comment on this agreement, on any details of the lawsuits or on whether there are plans to change the restaurant's ownership.
"We don't have an exact date yet, but the Dinah's Poolside Grill will be closing for a short time and then reopening," she said. "It will have a similar menu and the same comfortable, homey atmosphere we've had for years."
Both cases are still listed as open, according to the Santa Clara County Superior Court.
"This is my livelihood; this is how I make my house payments and live," Sharon Magnuson told the Palo Alto Weekly. "I'm not real hirable at 70. I don't know what I'm going to do."