News

Palo Alto's last dive bar faces uncertain future

Children of Antonio's Nut House's late owner take over but worry landlord wants to sell the property

Three years after its colorful owner passed away, Antonio's Nut House, Palo Alto's last authentic dive bar, is still open, but its new owners worry their landlord might have other plans for the California Avenue property.

Ownership of the bar has passed into the hands of late proprietor Tony Montooth's children, according to a posting updating the establishment's liquor license. But the Nut House's landlord does not want to renew the lease and has said he plans to sell the land, one of Montooth's sons said.

Now Montooth's family is exploring strategies to either purchase the land or find another nearby location, which, they acknowledge, isn't an easy feat in the current Palo Alto commercial real estate market.

Montooth's estate emerged from probate in Santa Clara County Superior Court in late October, according to court records. The bar passed from his wife, Aloha Montooth, to his children, William "Jess" Montooth, Ginger Atherton and Joseph Montooth, a December 2019 filing with the California Secretary of State shows.

They have "cleaned up" the bar a bit since taking over, but they aren't changing its funky ambiance, Jess Montooth said this week, which includes pool tables, a taqueria, a stuffed gorilla in a cage where patrons can scoop up peanuts and a giant mural on an outside wall with scenes from the bar and a dominating likeness of Tony Montooth.

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"The Nut House is the same as always," Jess Montooth said by phone this week.

He's cautious about the bar's future, however, having heard from the landlord, Stanley Gross, that he doesn't want to renew the lease when it's up in December. In response, the children of Tony Montooth are gearing up to save the beloved bar — and their father's legacy.

"We've been here 49 years. We don't have the money to try to make a deal with the owner," but they'll do anything they can to try to preserve the bar, Jess Montooth said. "We're starting a fundraising campaign to fund possibly buying the property. We're looking to our kids to start a media campaign."

A longtime patron of the bar wants to help the family start a limited liability partnership to purchase the property, he added.

Nut House manager Kelley Gorman, who has been there for 20 years and was trained by Tony Montooth, will remain in charge of day-to-day operations, Jess Montooth said. On Wednesday, she said she was also concerned about the potential sale of the property.

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"There's been so much change. It's inevitable," she said related to high costs of property and leases in Palo Alto.

Three years ago, Gross told the Weekly that he and the property's other owners, through the entity DH & MA Edwards Co., were happy having Montooth's son Jess and employees run the bar. Gross said at the time that he hoped that Antonio's Nut House could remain.

"It's a dive, but it's the last of its kind," he said in July 2017.

He has not returned multiple calls this week requesting comment.

Gorman is hoping that a well-heeled patron who has frequented the bar will step up. Like the Montooth children, she would do anything to save the bar. "We're a dying breed. I've heard so many people say 'You can't let it go.'"

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg frequented the Nut House in his business's early days, Gorman said the Nut House shielded him from the multiple daily phone calls and letters that came to the bar from people asking for money from the famed social media mogul. Now to save the Nut House, Gorman finds herself wishing she could ask for Zuckerberg's help.

He doesn't come in anymore, but his company's success has contributed to the predicament the Nut House finds itself in today: Skyrocketing real estate values, boosted by demand from tech and social media firms, that are putting the squeeze on mom-and-pop businesses like Antonio's Nut House.

"Can you buy the building and make it historical?" she said she would ask Zuckerberg now.

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Palo Alto's last dive bar faces uncertain future

Children of Antonio's Nut House's late owner take over but worry landlord wants to sell the property

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 8:55 am

Three years after its colorful owner passed away, Antonio's Nut House, Palo Alto's last authentic dive bar, is still open, but its new owners worry their landlord might have other plans for the California Avenue property.

Ownership of the bar has passed into the hands of late proprietor Tony Montooth's children, according to a posting updating the establishment's liquor license. But the Nut House's landlord does not want to renew the lease and has said he plans to sell the land, one of Montooth's sons said.

Now Montooth's family is exploring strategies to either purchase the land or find another nearby location, which, they acknowledge, isn't an easy feat in the current Palo Alto commercial real estate market.

Montooth's estate emerged from probate in Santa Clara County Superior Court in late October, according to court records. The bar passed from his wife, Aloha Montooth, to his children, William "Jess" Montooth, Ginger Atherton and Joseph Montooth, a December 2019 filing with the California Secretary of State shows.

They have "cleaned up" the bar a bit since taking over, but they aren't changing its funky ambiance, Jess Montooth said this week, which includes pool tables, a taqueria, a stuffed gorilla in a cage where patrons can scoop up peanuts and a giant mural on an outside wall with scenes from the bar and a dominating likeness of Tony Montooth.

"The Nut House is the same as always," Jess Montooth said by phone this week.

He's cautious about the bar's future, however, having heard from the landlord, Stanley Gross, that he doesn't want to renew the lease when it's up in December. In response, the children of Tony Montooth are gearing up to save the beloved bar — and their father's legacy.

"We've been here 49 years. We don't have the money to try to make a deal with the owner," but they'll do anything they can to try to preserve the bar, Jess Montooth said. "We're starting a fundraising campaign to fund possibly buying the property. We're looking to our kids to start a media campaign."

A longtime patron of the bar wants to help the family start a limited liability partnership to purchase the property, he added.

Nut House manager Kelley Gorman, who has been there for 20 years and was trained by Tony Montooth, will remain in charge of day-to-day operations, Jess Montooth said. On Wednesday, she said she was also concerned about the potential sale of the property.

"There's been so much change. It's inevitable," she said related to high costs of property and leases in Palo Alto.

Three years ago, Gross told the Weekly that he and the property's other owners, through the entity DH & MA Edwards Co., were happy having Montooth's son Jess and employees run the bar. Gross said at the time that he hoped that Antonio's Nut House could remain.

"It's a dive, but it's the last of its kind," he said in July 2017.

He has not returned multiple calls this week requesting comment.

Gorman is hoping that a well-heeled patron who has frequented the bar will step up. Like the Montooth children, she would do anything to save the bar. "We're a dying breed. I've heard so many people say 'You can't let it go.'"

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg frequented the Nut House in his business's early days, Gorman said the Nut House shielded him from the multiple daily phone calls and letters that came to the bar from people asking for money from the famed social media mogul. Now to save the Nut House, Gorman finds herself wishing she could ask for Zuckerberg's help.

He doesn't come in anymore, but his company's success has contributed to the predicament the Nut House finds itself in today: Skyrocketing real estate values, boosted by demand from tech and social media firms, that are putting the squeeze on mom-and-pop businesses like Antonio's Nut House.

"Can you buy the building and make it historical?" she said she would ask Zuckerberg now.

Comments

Literacy Matters
another community
on Feb 22, 2020 at 2:12 pm
Literacy Matters, another community
on Feb 22, 2020 at 2:12 pm
12 people like this

4th para from the end. I think the adjective you wanted is "well-heeled."


Dan
Professorville
on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:17 pm
Dan, Professorville
on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:17 pm
29 people like this

Noooooooooo!!!!
Hopefully we can get an outcome like we did for the Alpine Inn - the purchase and remodel turned out amazing. Now how do we get one of our Palo Alto billionaires or a coalition of our mere deca- and centi-millionaires to step up. Save the Nut House!


Steve
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm
Steve, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm
15 people like this

In a city where a 1920's farm laborer 800 sq. foot shack sells for 3 million bucks, who wants to frequent those old dives?


Sue Dremann
another community
on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:57 pm
Sue Dremann, another community
on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:57 pm
11 people like this

Literacy Matters — Oops. Thanks for catching the typo! I’ll correct it.

Sue


MD Mom
College Terrace
on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:59 pm
MD Mom, College Terrace
on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:59 pm
43 people like this

@ Steve:

A LOT of people!!!


Matt
Midtown
on Feb 22, 2020 at 4:10 pm
Matt, Midtown
on Feb 22, 2020 at 4:10 pm
46 people like this

The Nut House is legendary! It is the last of its kind, and let’s face it, probably one of the only bars that has a chance of not being totally filled with douche bags. Kelly is the best. Hopefully someone will step up and help save this PA landmark.


MD Mom
College Terrace
on Feb 22, 2020 at 4:20 pm
MD Mom, College Terrace
on Feb 22, 2020 at 4:20 pm
52 people like this

Antonio's Nuthouse is the ONLY authentic, affordable, inclusive place to eat/drink/hangout/play pool/watch the game/play games/have great Mexican food in this whole f-ing town.


Facehiker
Evergreen Park
on Feb 22, 2020 at 4:25 pm
Facehiker, Evergreen Park
on Feb 22, 2020 at 4:25 pm
20 people like this

Lets put in ten stories of housing with a bar on the first floor


Mayfield Child
Green Acres
on Feb 22, 2020 at 4:41 pm
Mayfield Child, Green Acres
on Feb 22, 2020 at 4:41 pm
21 people like this

Steve: Ever heard of nostalgia?????? HA! If those walls could talk.... :) BTW...if I am correct, that building was an old Safeway store in the '40's..Anyone know of any other business that occupied that building?????? When California Avenue was still called Lincoln Street (and was properly called the town of Mayfield) there were bars up and down that rowdy section of town...and a brewery...


Mark Zuckerberg's conscience
Crescent Park
on Feb 23, 2020 at 7:23 am
Mark Zuckerberg's conscience, Crescent Park
on Feb 23, 2020 at 7:23 am
12 people like this

"Lets put in ten stories of housing with a bar on the first floor" — Facehiker

Upvote x 1000.


IPA Drinker
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 23, 2020 at 9:30 am
IPA Drinker, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 23, 2020 at 9:30 am
15 people like this

It's crazy that all some people care about is money; that they would destroy something we need to build bonds in our society and have fun at night


C J. BondE
East Palo Alto
on Feb 23, 2020 at 10:10 am
C J. BondE, East Palo Alto
on Feb 23, 2020 at 10:10 am
17 people like this

Yeah, travel to a great location, discover an exotic, thriving system; then kill it!


VC from Connecticut
another community
on Feb 23, 2020 at 3:15 pm
VC from Connecticut, another community
on Feb 23, 2020 at 3:15 pm
29 people like this

The Nut House has run it's course. It's 'golden era' ran from about the mid-1980s to around 2010 when the bartenders were all women (Barbara, Debbie, Monica, Melinda & later Andy). Kelly came on around the mid to late 1990s & was a nice addition to the crew.

The Baby Boomer + Gen X generations established the vibe & Tony maintained a social club atmosphere with his summer picnics & barbecue potlucks.

The pool tables were quite active & the bar participated in the local tavern leagues with three teams (two men's & one woman's).

Times change...some folks relocate, some pass on while others just get older & go out less often.

The Millennial & Gen Y clientel pales in comparison with old timers but they represent the new wave & current customer base. Whether they can continue to support an establishment remains to be seen given their short attention spans & disregard for history.

The 'Tony' era is long gone & it's not ever coming back in it's true form or social scenario.

Switching from all-female bartenders & adding male ones also changed the overall atmosphere of the place.

I've sinced moved away from the area & when I stopped by the Nut a year ago with a friend, I commented that I couldn't believe I spent so much time in there decades ago as the younger crowd seems to lack a certain spice or something.

Oh well...it's their bar now & so be it.

As for 'Zot's'...it may have been saved but it's not the same either.

Saving the Nut has its merits but some changes are in order...perhaps a more retro vibe & that starts with the customer base + staffing.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2020 at 8:04 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2020 at 8:04 pm
30 people like this

I was never a fan of the Nut House, but, I was a fan of the fact that the Nut House could exist. Cities need old buildings, said urban visionary Jane Jacobs. A city where the Nut House exists is also a city where many old and new marginal human enterprises can also exists. We are turning into nothing but a sea of cubicles because somebody, somewhere thinks it gives them an edge in software patents.

""Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them.... for really new ideas of any kind--no matter how ultimately profitable or otherwise successful some of them might prove to be--there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction. Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings." ~ Jane Jacobs


Mayfield Child
Green Acres
on Feb 23, 2020 at 11:35 pm
Mayfield Child, Green Acres
on Feb 23, 2020 at 11:35 pm
18 people like this

Too bad we all lost Compadres.......great atmosphere and great food...damn shame....great supporter of Little League teams...friendly bartenders and waitresses . The cement truck just can hardly wait to roll in...............


Kb
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2020 at 7:16 am
Kb , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2020 at 7:16 am
13 people like this

@ VC from Connecticut - my kids love the place and have tons of fun there. I doubt the kids have lost “spice,” we’ve just grown older. Places like this will keep dying if we don’t make room for the younger generation to afford living in our community though.


Pool Player
Community Center
on Feb 24, 2020 at 8:03 am
Pool Player, Community Center
on Feb 24, 2020 at 8:03 am
21 people like this

There are plenty of people at the Nut House partying it up. The business isn't dying at all- the owner just wants to sell the land for even more money which is the whole reason people "can't afford" to live here is greed


HUTCH 7.62
another community
on Feb 24, 2020 at 8:35 am
HUTCH 7.62, another community
on Feb 24, 2020 at 8:35 am
14 people like this

@Pool Player

I have to agree with VC, as a regular at the Nut from 2001 to 2014. The atmosphere really changed sometime in 2010.


Waving Goodbye To CA Avenue Past
Evergreen Park
on Feb 24, 2020 at 9:10 am
Waving Goodbye To CA Avenue Past, Evergreen Park
on Feb 24, 2020 at 9:10 am
27 people like this

QUOTE: The 'Tony' era is long gone & it's not ever coming back in it's true form or social scenario.

^^^Tony also used to have mid-week afternoon lingerie shows during the Golden Era.

For a buck entry fee, there was a raffle & the winner received either a free drink chip or a replica of the negligee that the model was wearing.

A drinking buddy used to be be real lucky at winning the lingerie but he never brought them home to his wife...he gave them to his girlfriend instead.

Chances are a Millennial or Gen Y dude wouldn't know what to do with such items of clothing as many seem to be whining about dating or not being able to find a suitable mate these days.

The simple solution...just lower your standards & try to enjoy life. That's the Nut House Way!

I concur with VC/Connecticut. The Nut House has changed in its overall atmosphere & the 20-something customer base along with the male bartenders has a lot to do with it. Beer is beer & booze is booze but the crowd & the employees have a lot to do with whether one wants to come back.

As far as the building is concerned...the owners are probably a bit wary of the interior electrical wiring as well. Much of it was done sans any strict adherence to PA building codes as Tony often had drinking customers in the skilled trades doing the unreported work & various shortcuts (in order to save costs) were taken.

Another concern...on busy nights, there should be more exits out of the place in the event of an emergency. For the longest time, the front door remained the only access point & not having been to the Nut for awhile, is the back door still locked & unattended after certain hours?

^^^It was this way for the longest time, going back to the Golden Era.

The Millennial/Gen Y Era also wouldn't get the drift or find humor in Tony's various off-color jokes & he was a master of them!




Claudia Martin
College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2020 at 11:14 am
Claudia Martin, College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2020 at 11:14 am
12 people like this

I use to love the Nuthouse while Toni was alive he was awesome and it was fun times but that was then. [Portion removed.]
The place might survive only if they bring in new management. [Portion removed.]
Toni's wife Aloha needs to get involved if they want to save this place otherwise it will get shut down .
I almost invested in the nuthouse with 2 other partners but then decided no way .
I do miss Toni


Lauren
Midtown
on Feb 24, 2020 at 11:28 am
Lauren , Midtown
on Feb 24, 2020 at 11:28 am
28 people like this

Its time for a change. It lasted a long time. The memories will live on. A new chapter will begin.


Adam P
College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2020 at 11:52 am
Adam P, College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2020 at 11:52 am
10 people like this

[Post removed.]


Z
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Feb 24, 2020 at 12:22 pm
Z, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Feb 24, 2020 at 12:22 pm
6 people like this

I doubt Zuks Pin Stripe Philanthropy will suffer the association. But, on the other hand?
He might benefit greatly by becoming savior to our neighborhoods loved but now near abandoned
Shaggy Old Dog...? It would make Great Print...Probably go Global..


OMG
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm
OMG, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm
16 people like this

Where can I drink alcoholically now?!?!
You expect me to go out in public SOBER?!?!


Doll
College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2020 at 1:49 pm
Doll, College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2020 at 1:49 pm
6 people like this

[Post removed.]


Marty
Barron Park
on Feb 24, 2020 at 2:15 pm
Marty, Barron Park
on Feb 24, 2020 at 2:15 pm
6 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Mayfield Child
Green Acres
on Feb 24, 2020 at 3:02 pm
Mayfield Child, Green Acres
on Feb 24, 2020 at 3:02 pm
6 people like this

I used to sit up at the bar and munch a few peanuts with my drink. Back in the day the bar smelled of peanuts, especially the ones that were inches thick on the floor and stepped on....Also there were a few customers in there that actually smelled like peanuts...a bit unsavory and obviously teetering highly inebriated around in the crowd. Those patrons finally got the hint and moseyed on down the road to the relief of other patrons...that's how Antonio's rolled...a place to mingle, shoot the shit, play pool and relax at your own pace. With or without eating the peanuts.......


VC from Connecticut
another community
on Feb 24, 2020 at 4:01 pm
VC from Connecticut, another community
on Feb 24, 2020 at 4:01 pm
21 people like this

quote: "I used to sit up at the bar and munch a few peanuts with my drink."

^^^ Uh... I trust you were not relying on those plastic containers and simply grabbing a handful of peanuts to go with your cocktail.

Some male patrons were known to use them as spittoons with a few un-shelled peanuts lying at the bottom of the container.

Tony was frugal & chances are the peanuts went back into the box by the gorilla cage + those containers were never washed (which is why they always had that dusty look from the peanut residue).

Back around 1990, you had to ask the bartender for peanuts & she would give them to you in one of those hamburger baskets. The reason for this temporary peanut protocol was because Tony caught some homeless people coming in & eating his peanuts while not buying any drinks.

What many old timers will miss is the option of taking a break & wandering over to Talbot's or The Winery when the Nut House got too crowded and/or noisy.

quote: "...just lower your standards & try to enjoy life. That's the Nut House Way!"

^^^ This is/was the mantra of the Nut House & you cannot expect the Millennials/Gen Y to buy into or accept it...too pampered/spoiled with unrealistic expectations & way too PC!

Upon my eventual return to the peninsula to visit relatives, I assume the Nut House will be gone by then. Tony did not own the building although he once offered to buy it from the current owners. They declined.


PJ
Midtown
on Feb 24, 2020 at 7:08 pm
PJ, Midtown
on Feb 24, 2020 at 7:08 pm
9 people like this

I used to patronize Antonio's Nut House, Quite often in the 70's, Sorry to see it go.
Technology took over and destroyed Palo Alto, one Reason I Cashed out and Moved to The Lake Tahoe area.


MD Mom
College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2020 at 10:02 pm
MD Mom, College Terrace
on Feb 24, 2020 at 10:02 pm
12 people like this

So many of you people are missing the point. The problem isn't that the Nut House isn't still popular, isn't still fun, isn't "like it used to be"--it is! It's a great place, one of the only of its kind left around here. It's because the landlord wants to raise the rents until the owners can't afford to stay there. We need to find a way to save it! If Mark isn't interested, what about other wealthy frequenters/angel investors...? We have lost so many locally owned, affordable, non-corporate, one-of-a-kind, eating/drinking spots recently, please let's try to save this one!


VC from Connecticut
another community
on Feb 25, 2020 at 8:41 am
VC from Connecticut, another community
on Feb 25, 2020 at 8:41 am
23 people like this

Greeting again from New Haven & thank goodness for the internet. *L*

So folks are still bemoaning the possible closure of Antonio's?


quote: "If Mark isn't interested, what about other wealthy frequenters/angel investors...?"

^^^^ Uh...Tony Montooth (aka former owner) was the wealthiest frequenter/investor at Antonio's Nut House because he was a savvy businessman who knew when & where to cut corners.

Zuckerberg has better things to do than preserve a pseudo dive bar...'pseudo' as there is no such establishment currently existing in Palo Alto, just an outward appearance of one.

A true 'dive bar' is one where you have apprehensions about going in as well as leaving (questionable parking lots & alleys) & the Nut House does not fit that bill.

Like much of Palo Alto, the Nut House is simply an 'appearance'...not that there's anything wrong with that.

For a true 'dive bar' experience, consider stopping by some of the poorer inner city lower and/or working class taverns...you'll see a noticeable difference, primarily in the clientele.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 25, 2020 at 8:58 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 25, 2020 at 8:58 am
10 people like this

I have never been to the Nut House. However I am concerned that it is called a "dive bar". What is a "Dive Bar". I guess that I will have to go over there and find out.
I lived in Manhattan Beach for along while - no one ever called places a "Dive Bar." All were neighborhood hang outs. Maybe the choice of description is a downer and put-off. Maybe clean-up the rhetoric here. Places are selling a concept and the nomenclature of dive bar is not selling anything. Maybe that is the point if someone wants to tear it down to make money. Maybe register it with the PA historic organization to save it. That seems to be working for the Fry's site. Old buildings forever despite the economy surrounding the site.


Adam Lamouche
Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2020 at 10:38 am
Adam Lamouche, Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2020 at 10:38 am
18 people like this

The bar is a eye sore for the strip. i Just moved here from New York and would like to see a more updated bar. I walked in last month and walked right out. Dirty is a understatement. Time for a change. change is good.


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2020 at 11:15 am
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2020 at 11:15 am
21 people like this

Been there a handful of times. Always found it depressing. Semi-functioning alcoholics lined up at the bar, and some frat boys trying way too hard to look cool while pounding beers.

If you drink so much that you have to go to dive bars to save money, then you drink too much. I hope they put a family-friendly restaurant in that space. Thai or Indian would be nice.


theAlex
South of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2020 at 11:57 am
theAlex, South of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2020 at 11:57 am
14 people like this

@Family Friendly:

I'm not "family friendly." Many people aren't "family friendly." How about you do your thing and we'll do ours? Fair enough?


VC from Connecticut
another community
on Feb 25, 2020 at 4:37 pm
VC from Connecticut, another community
on Feb 25, 2020 at 4:37 pm
22 people like this

quote: " I hope they put a family-friendly restaurant in that space. Thai or Indian would be nice."

^^^ from what I've heard, there are already WAY too many 'family friendly' Thai & East Indian restaurants permeating the SF mid-peninsula.

quote: "Semi-functioning alcoholics lined up at the bar, and some frat boys trying way too hard to look cool while pounding beers."

^^^ 'Semi-functioning alcoholic' is a Nuthouse trademark (oftentimes the older patrons) & pounding beer has always been a college recreational tradition.

Though the place is a DUMP by most standards, turning the Nut House into another Pho or Tandoori diner would be a shame. The Mexican restaurant (if still there) served up some pretty good dishes & prior to that, Tony had a hamburger/hot dog concession going + the short-lived Moe/Dennis diner...only a few will remember their 'all you can eat' spaghetti special on Tuesday evenings for $5.00.

Besides, 'semi-functioning alcoholics' & frat boys pounding beer usually don't seek out Thai or East Indian 'family friendly' restaurants and menu items...most prefer 'pub grub'.

Reasonably priced Chinese food, fish & chips, bangers/brautwurst/burgers, Mexican food & even pizza would trump Thai or East Indian food any day if offered at a revamped Nut House environment.

The key to preserving Antonio's is somehow procuring title to the building & ownership cannot rely on the patrons to form a cooperative venture as 90% of them are either too unreliable as investors or subject to pending relocation.

If the venerable Oasis/Boardwalk establishments could not survive due to landlord imposed rent increases or alternative usage plans for the buildings, how the hell do you expect the Nut House to weather the storm of future development?

The Nut House site (along with the corner Keeble & Schucat building) would make ideal office complexes + the owners would make far more in rent.

If this eventually occurs, the question is...where could/would one go in south Palo Alto to get a good cheap heater going plus maybe play some pool & eat free peanuts while occasionally sneaking off somewhere to discreetly smoke a bowl of weed with some casual acquaintances?

^^^Now that was the 'Golden Era' of Antonio's Nut House!

Baby Boomer & Gen X aged Nut House patrons remember it well...the Millennials & Gen Y clientele haven't a clue.










Alcohol is dead
College Terrace
on Feb 26, 2020 at 7:14 am
Alcohol is dead, College Terrace
on Feb 26, 2020 at 7:14 am
12 people like this

Maybe the cigarette smoking bloated east coasters still suck down the swill, but it's dead for the healthier west coast compared to years gone by. Bye Bye!


VC from Connecticut
another community
on Feb 26, 2020 at 9:45 am
VC from Connecticut, another community
on Feb 26, 2020 at 9:45 am
16 people like this

quote: "I hope they put a family-friendly restaurant in that space."

^^^In retrospect, 'Family Friendly' brought up a very valid point...reflective of the newer residents of Palo Alto with small families.

Though it is a bar with dining facilities, the Nut House is not a place to bring small children unlike other establishments such as The Dutch Goose.

About the only way that the Nut House crowd & 'Family Friendly' folks could possibly co-exist in the same reality plane would be if Antonio's Nut House were to eventually fashion itself along the lines of a Harry's Hofbrau will cafeteria style dining & a full bar.

In other words, the presumed 'dive bar' ambiance of the current & original Nut House concept is OBSOLETE for the likes of contemporary Palo Alto.

Old timers will remember the major remodeling effort undertaken at the now defunct Oasis Beer Garden over 40 years ago. They cleaned up the place, re-did the restrooms, floors and created an environment that appealed to both family-friendly types as well as the established regulars. The same can be said of changes at 'the Goose'.

Tony actually remodeled the restrooms at the Nut several years back when he expanded the gaming area. Before the, the men's room (especially the stall) was probably the filthiest on the planet.

There's no need to turn the existing interior into another 3rd world restaurant...just spend some remodeling money & clean it up, that along with a lease renewal projecting increased tavern/dining revenues.

I will be back in Menlo Park next year & a colleague from Palo Alto & I have a bet going...will the Nut House still be around in September of 2021?

Tune in tomorrow.






Greg
Mountain View
on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:40 pm
Greg, Mountain View
on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:40 pm
15 people like this

All these comments make for an interesting read. One common theme that pops in many is about the “greedy landlord”. Why can’t a landlord that has worked hard and sacrificed to own real property not benefit from the increased value of their property? One of the core requirements to long term stability is owning your building or else you must plan for your business to only last as long as your negotiated lease. I own a very small business that is in a leased space at well below market rate. I have less than three years left on the lease and viability at the current location is not guaranteed beyond this time. This is why I have sacrificed and saved so that I can buy a commercial property that will secure long term viability of the business. I only wished I had done this at a younger age. I guess I should expect the “greedy landlord” comments though in an era where youth want wealth handed to them instead of earning it and want everything for “free”.


Billy Bean
Barron Park
on Feb 27, 2020 at 6:44 am
Billy Bean, Barron Park
on Feb 27, 2020 at 6:44 am
12 people like this

I'm with Adam on this one. Time for a change. All these cry baby locals that dont even live in Palo Alto anymore will have to deal with it. You dont live here anymore but yet want to control what's here. DEAL WITH IT. CHANGE IS COMING.


VC from Connecticut
another community
on Feb 27, 2020 at 9:09 am
VC from Connecticut, another community
on Feb 27, 2020 at 9:09 am
17 people like this

quote:

"All these comments make for an interesting read. One common theme that pops in many is about the “greedy landlord”. Why can’t a landlord that has worked hard and sacrificed to own real property not benefit from the increased value of their property?"

^^^ In reality, many of the modern-day landlords in Palo Alto (most notably downtown PA) are the grandchildren of the original property owners (back in the 1940s-50s) who did make the initial investment of time, energy & expense towards these commercial real estate property ventures.

The current landlords are just living off the fat and inflation as most have not made any personal sacrifices other than to collect the bloated rent checks & deposit them in the bank.

And the same goes for the so-called 'property management' firms assigned to oversee these various commercial properties as part of a family trust.


quote:

One of the core requirements to long term stability is owning your building or else you must plan for your business to only last as long as your negotiated lease.

^^^ That is a given & surprisingly, most people (aka loyal customers) don't get it when one of their favorite local businesses or restaurants have to say sayonara due to increasing costs.

They say hindsight is 20-20 & had Tony the FORESIGHT to pre-visualize the eventual & ongoing financial success of his tavern over the various decades, he would have looked into purchasing the property several DECADES ago (as in the late 1970s-early 1980s) before PA property values went astronomical.

At least something along the lines of a lease-option if it were amenable to the owners.

quote:

"BTW...if I am correct, that building was an old Safeway store in the '40's..Anyone know of any other business that occupied that building??????"

@Mayfield Child...the Nut House was Pool Brother's grocery store back in the late 1940s through the early 1960s. Then the building became a short-lived restaurant (forgot the name) until Tony opened the Nut House sometime in the 1970s.

BTW...if you are a true 'Mayfield Child' you would have attended the old Mayfield Elementary School on ECR (where the soccer fields are now located) recalling the subway that bused students from the Southgate and Ventura neighborhoods utilized depending on the direction the buses were headed (i.e. to school or back to their respective neighborhoods).

And in addition...you will remember the time when California Avenue once had four grocery stores including Pool Brother's, Farmer's Market, Purity & Coop + a butcher shop called United Meat Market.

Grocery shopping was convenient back then & even Midtown had a Coop, Duca Hanley Meat/Midtown Market & later, a Safeway.

There's more to California Avenue reflections of the past but my coffee is getting cold...back in the mid-1950s & the town of Mayfield having been absorbed by Palo Alto only 20-30 years earlier, I recall many of the older, established passersby along California Avenue & the Evergreen/Southgate/South Palo Alto neighborhoods referring to the locale as 'Mayfield' rather than Palo Alto.






Trent
Stanford
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:27 am
Trent, Stanford
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:27 am
7 people like this

I moved here from the mid west two yrs ago. I pay 3100 bucks for my 1 bedroom. Having a dive bar was refreshing. I now go downtown but not for long. Everything costs a arm and a leg here. Back to staying home and drinking my wine.


Claudel Marsh
Portola Valley
on Feb 28, 2020 at 10:09 am
Claudel Marsh, Portola Valley
on Feb 28, 2020 at 10:09 am
11 people like this

After reading all these comments I have to admit it's time to shut this place down
It's not the same anymore ,it died when Toni died the manager really ran the place into one of the worst dive bars ever and now it's time to say good bye. Toni would have a fit if he could see what we see.
[Portion removed.]


say it ain't so
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm
say it ain't so, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm
2 people like this

> "...the manager really ran the place into one of the worst dive bars ever and now it's time to say good bye. Toni would have a fit if he could see what we see."

was she trying to turn the nut house into something along the lines of that now defunct bar (aka crap hole) in mountain view called ugly's?

if so, the nut house is doomed. not by the landlord but by a lack of vision and class.

those male bartenders gotta go.


HUTCH 7.62
Portola Valley
on Mar 3, 2020 at 8:43 am
HUTCH 7.62, Portola Valley
on Mar 3, 2020 at 8:43 am
1 person likes this

The Bar manager was trying to clean it up a bit and make it more female friendly, Down came the posters of women and bras and panties hanging from the ceiling. All the clutter and various memorabilia pinned to the wall behind bar also gone.

I don’t see any problem with the male bartenders, they are nicer than some of the women who have worked their, they seem to be quite hard workers, and cause less drama. It also seems to be a trend to have male bartenders working nights these days as most bars haveat least one male bartender working 7pm- 2am


Long Time Gone
Ventura
on Mar 3, 2020 at 9:21 am
Long Time Gone, Ventura
on Mar 3, 2020 at 9:21 am
7 people like this

> The Bar manager was trying to clean it up a bit and make it more female friendly, Down came the posters of women and bras and panties hanging from the ceiling. All the clutter and various memorabilia pinned to the wall behind bar also gone.

>> a Tony Montooth trademark...along with his racy jokes. Perhaps not very PC but part of the original & overall ambiance.

> I don’t see any problem with the male bartenders, they are nicer than some of the women who have worked their, they seem to be quite hard workers, and cause less drama.

>> Perhaps so but the male bartenders are not as colorful when it comes to the overt & occasional rage + rudeness of the latter which again...gave the place its ambiance while establishing certain behavioral protocols as a drunken & obnoxious male patron generally didn't hassle the women bartenders for very long as they were easily capable of tossing them out with an 86 AND once an incident was reported to Tony, these clowns were rarely able to set foot in the place again...depending on the severity of their misbehavior.

The ambient make-over is somewhat ironic in that the manager (when a bartender) was very capable of the aforementioned description & 'keeping the peace' during a rowdy night at the nut house.


HUTCH 7.62
Portola Valley
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:57 am
HUTCH 7.62, Portola Valley
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:57 am
1 person likes this

^ those were the days! And she is still the best! LoL I went to PALY with a guy who caught a 7 year ban from that place back in 2001 right after we turned 21. He still occasionally drops by as do I. Palo Alto had such a different and better vibe back then.


Long Time Gone
Ventura
on Mar 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm
Long Time Gone, Ventura
on Mar 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm
7 people like this

The Antonio's Nut House 'Hall of Fame' female bartenders...

!. Monica - could be very abrasive yet cool if you were a friend of hers.
2. Melinda - very mellow...only got mad if some idiot tossed a peanut off her head to get her attention for another drink.
3. Kelly - one night she hurdled over the bar & physically took down a rowdy male patron. Don't mess with Ms. G.
4. Andy - very vocal at times but cordial.
5. Barbara - similar to having one's grandmother serving you drinks!
6. Debbie - easygoing lunchtime bartender

And last but not least...Erica! Who never had to resort to insults or 86s because she was so SEXY & all of the male patrons liked her.


Hood
Atherton
on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:04 am
Hood, Atherton
on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:04 am
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