But this ritual may soon change for the group. The restaurant's future is uncertain, as longtime restaurant operator Sharon Magnuson's tenure appears to be coming to an end.
A legal battle between Magnuson and the restaurant's property owner, Dinah's Garden Hotel, could 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.
But Handley told the Weekly that the restaurant would not be closed for good.
"We don't have an exact date yet, but 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."
Magnuson, Sharon's son, said they are attempting to prevent the closure with a lawsuit against the hotel and Handley, the restaurant's landlord.
He 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,'" Magnuson said.
But Dinah's Hotel proceeded to file 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.
Julie 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.
Both cases are still listed as open, according to the Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Bruce Magnuson started Dinah's Poolside Grill in 1972, behind Dinah's Garden Hotel, and continued to operate until he became ill in 2002, at which point his wife took over, she said.
Raymond Handley built what was then Dinah's Motor Inn in 1957 directly behind Dinah's Shack, a restaurant founded in 1929 by Charles McMonagle and his wife, Hazel. Dinah's Shack, which closed in 1989, was a favorite hangout for many Palo Altans and Stanford students, including President John F. Kennedy when he was at Stanford Business School in 1940, according to the book "Palo Alto Remembered," a history of the city written by Matt Bowling.
Handley replaced Dinah's Shack with Polynesian-themed Trader Vic's in 2001. Trader Vic's closed in the beginning of August and will be replaced by upscale seafood restaurant The Sea.
Julie Handley did not comment on whether there was a connection between the recent changes in the two restaurant locations.
Sharon Magnuson said she didn't know what the fate of the restaurant staff, some of whom have worked there for years, would be.
But for her, she said, "This is my livelihood; this is how I make my house payments and live. I'm not real hirable at 70. I don't know what I'm going to do."
Editorial Assistant Eric Van Susteren can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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