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Paly students and Kirks Burgers

Original post made by Paly Parents on Dec 14, 2006

I have been informed by my son that there is a row brewing about Paly students being unwanted at Kirks. Kirks claim they do not need Paly students' business. They have banned backpacks and do not want backpacks left outside to the degree that staff are throwing backpacks over the fence into the construction zone. The students in return are threatening to boycott Kirks, not only during school hours, but after school and weekends, with their families also.

Now I know that this is probably 75% rumour mongering, but I thought it was worth alerting the community, and parents in particular, of what is happening. It is obviously up to individuals to make their own decisions, but at least if we are aware that there is some sort of problem we can deal with it. I call this just sharing some information I have with others and being helpful.

Thank you.

Comments (15)

Posted by John, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 14, 2006 at 12:02 pm


"75% Rumor Mongering". Geez. You slander a long-time local business with accusations that you say are rumor mongering...and then pretend you are doing us some sort of service by allowing us to make our own decisions? When you have some facts, get back to us. Otherwise maybe you should find something better to do with your time.


Posted by Theresa, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 14, 2006 at 12:11 pm

There was an incident at Kirk's in late October. It was covered in an editorial in the Paly newpaper, The Campanile, dated November 13 2006. Here's a link to Lee Domenik's article: Web Link.

Here's an excerpt from Domenik's editorial, in which he calls for a boycott of Kirk's:

"There is one merchant, however, who crossed the line. This merchant benefits from a lucrative student business but disdains it all the same. This merchant enacted a no backpack policy and kicks students out of his restaurant. This merchant verbally abuses student customers. This merchant threatened students not to "talk back" to him when they questioned his no backpack policy.

"This merchant actually threw several students' backpacks over a nearby fence when they brought their backpacks inside his restaurant. This merchant told students that if they didn't like someone, all they had to do was bring his or her backpack to his restaurant, and he would throw it over the fence too. This merchant said he can "get by" without business of students.

Well, if "Kirk" (owner John Withers) says he doesn't need student business, I say we give him what he wants. I am calling for the boycott of Kirk's Steakburgers, effective immediately."

I haven't seen a follow-up to know if the boycott is working.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 14, 2006 at 5:18 pm

Paly Parents

Why not drop by Kirk's and ask what the problem is?


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2006 at 6:22 pm

Good idea, RS. How do we know that any of this is true? Have we heard both sides of the story? No.

So, Theresa, before starting rumour mongering, let's make sure the facts are straight.

I go to Kirk's now and then, and I've been there during lunch. Before the backpack rule, there were backpacks strewn about, or backpacks placed on chairs and tables. What's wrong with asking students to leave backpacks outside, as long as they are secure? If they're not secure, then it's Kirk's job to get some lockers out there. Where's the middle ground?

btw, student backpacks are a big hassle for retailers and restaurants; they're unwieldy, often knocking into merchandise; they get dumped on the floor or seats/tables; they're also (in a very few instances) used to help the _tiny_ fraction of people who own them to steal stuff. Put yourself in the place of the retailer, and try to work something out.


Posted by Theresa, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 14, 2006 at 10:25 pm

I'm not rumor mongering. I pointed the original poster (who is not me) to an article published by the Palo Alto High School journalism program. I have a kid at Paly and the backpack-tossing incident was talked about a lot when it happened a couple of months ago.

Not sure why "Anna" thinks that a pointer to an article about the incident is such a crime. The original poster asked for information. I provided some. I don't have a horse in this race.


Posted by Why not backpacks?, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 15, 2006 at 12:57 pm

I have seen the sign at Kirk's. What are students gonna stick iside backpacks? Mustard? A-1 sauce? What's the big deal?


Posted by another perspective, a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 15, 2006 at 1:17 pm

I grew up around here. I never shop at T&C during lunch time because the Paly Students swarm over there, have absolutely no ergard for people trying to come and go as the students pour across the crosswalks, half the time against the light, and they completely take over the space. This has been true since I was in high school, which is many moons ago, and they used to take over the grocery store that used to be there. There is definitely an entitled "vibe" that emanates.

Since it's been going on for decades, I think it is just the way teenagers act. Kirk's is new to the scene, and used to having a much more sedate crowd. Everything might settle down if the restaurant and the students could meet halfway.


Posted by Another Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 15, 2006 at 2:09 pm

With all due respect to Kirks, they did know that a Burger restaurant straight across the street from a High School would attract students. This should have been no surprise and may even have been an incentive to opening there in the first place. For this reason, they should be more accommodating to the students. I know that backpacks are a nuisance, quite often the backpacks are so used to being on the back of the student that they forget how much they stick out behind and how much of a nuisance that can be. Still, some compromise could be worked out, a small designated area for dropping backpacks, or some such. Kirkburgers have a wonderful reputation for food that I am sure won't be harmed by this. For the next couple of weeks while school is out may be the time to rethink the grievances and see if the days' takings reflect the amount of business that the school generates.


Posted by Glad I don't live in Palo Alto, a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2006 at 3:34 pm

Dear another perspective, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood

There's "an entitled "vibe" that emanates" among the Paly students?! I find it hard to believe that it's only amongst the Paly students!!!! I wonder where they learned it from -- hmmmmm...........their mommies and daddies supervising their out of control alcohol parties?


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 15, 2006 at 4:53 pm

Consider the possibility that there is a good reason for the policy.

Insurance perhaps?
Fire Marshall perhaps?

If you are truly bothered by his backpack policy, ask him about it.
If you dont like the answer you get, don't patronize his restaurant.

Oh and leave your backpack in the car. ;^)


Posted by anon, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 16, 2006 at 7:42 pm

Rojoz doesn't allow backpacks either. It seems to be a "T & C" policy.


Posted by insider, a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 18, 2006 at 7:44 pm

No, it isn't. Cold Stone Creamery, the Sushi House, the Cheese house, and Spot a Pizza Place allow backpacks. Rojoz doesn't allow backpacks, nor does Longs Drugs, and both of their businesses are fine. It is the backpack being thrown that angers the students.


Posted by A Paly parent, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 19, 2006 at 10:31 am

I think the no backpack policy stinks because there's no way to secure the contents when backpacks are left outside unattended. My daughter left her backpack outside Longs when they told her she couldn't come in without it and a valuable piece of electronics was stolen from it. I'm sure that people hanging around T&C know which stores have the no backpack policy and just swoop in right after the packs are dropped. Would you patronize a store that forced you to leave your handbag or briefcase outside the store?


Posted by A, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 26, 2006 at 7:44 pm

Well finally a business owner standing up for himself and refusing to put up with your spoiled brats! Maybe you would know just how unruly your teens are if had spent more time with them than the nanny! What a bunch of whiners! And this is coming from a person recently graduated from Paly High parents... FYI: You people who think your kids are sooooo good better wise up. Your kids are drinking and doing drugs and drive your car around like maniacs running red lights, speeding, tailgating, and cutting people off. And I am not talking about bad kids. I am talking about YOUR kids - the colelge bound ones with decent GPA's.


Posted by Todd_S, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 26, 2006 at 7:49 pm

Yes, the teens in this city possess a high sense of entitlement as do their parents. I find the teenagers at Town and Country disruptive and try to go there only in the evening when they are at home where they belong (or at a "kegger" party).


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