By Laura Stec
Mama Rossotti to Roadhouse in the SkyUploaded: Jun 30, 2017
I guess you’d call me a Rossotti regular. I greet the bartenders by name, and other Zott’s say hi when I arrive. For years I’ve backyarded birthdays, business and boyfriends, and wrote a hell of a lot of Food Party’s! moving from one uneven picnic table to another, in search of the perfect balance of sunny warmth and respite shade.
It always feels like home.
What a wonderful mix of folks today – the working guys with pitchers, the cute Stanford swimmers, that cool couple in the back shade on laptops, the 55+ regulars including B and his Bentley (often parked right in front,) all the little chick-a-dee’s running around giggling while being chased by their parents, and the high-healed ladies dip-walking ‘cross the woodchips. There’s also a trio of big hound dogs roooooauling melodic moans, in salute, this writer imagines, to the owner of this 165-year historical landmark who just passed onto the roadhouse in the sky.
Molly Alexander married John Alexander in 1951, writes Almanac reporter, Dave Boyce, and in partnership with Don Horther, bought Portola Valley’s Rossotti's in 1956. They renamed it "Alpine Inn Beer Garden," but the former name just wouldn’t go away. When I arrived in the early 90’s – I was introduced to it as Rossotti’s / Zotts, and never knew that actually wasn’t the name until many years later.
After John died in 1994, Molly assumed the reigns, often on sight spending time with customers and staff. I never met her; a gracious presence before my emergence as regular.
We Food Partied! I Still Call it Rossotti’s in 2014. A number of readers shared heart-felt experiences growing up and living round this special place (one even got censored for a rather explicit explanation of wild young times.) As I recall part of the comment, “I had some of the best XXX of my life in the parking lot of Rossotti’s.” Please check out the long history of this spirited establishment, and all the community memories. If anyone else cares to share – we’d love to hear your story.
Many thanks to the Alexander family; long live Molly Alexander, and long live Rossotti’s! If the family sells, I suggested to the regulars we all chip in, buy the place, and turn it into a county park with a café (like Tavern of the Green or The Boathouse in New York’s Central Park.)
I certainly hope this unique & magical place lives on for generations to come.
Alpine Inn Beer Garden
- aka Rossotti's or Zotts
3915 Alpine Road
Portola Valley, CA
- Don "Smiley" Nelson hanging on the wall at Zott's (see his comment below)