News

Around Town: Caged gorilla from Antonio's Nut House rescued from auction gallery

Local man plans to feature fixture from longtime dive bar in future museum

In the latest Around Town column, the story of how Palo Alto nearly lost the beloved gorilla that welcomed visitors at Antonio's Nut House, the Uplift Local program's downtown return and news about notable athletes with local ties.

Palo Alto resident Jeff Day plans to keep a gorilla that was previously on display at Antonio's Nut House in storage, with the intention of featuring the beloved figure at the future Palo Alto History Museum. Courtesy Jeff Day.

'ANIMAL' RESCUE ... Antonio's Nut House has sadly closed its doors for good (unless a partner comes through or someone commits to reopening and purchasing the business, according to the owners), but at least one familiar face from the longtime dive bar will hopefully find a new, permanent home in Palo Alto. The caged gorilla that served countless peanuts to patrons over the decades could become an artifact at the future Palo Alto History Museum if the project comes to fruition. You can thank resident Jeff Day for rescuing the beloved figure on Feb. 2 from Oakland, where it was lined up for auction. Day previously arranged to pick up the giant gorilla from the watering hole, but it was accidentally taken to Harvey Clars Auction Gallery in the east bay along with other contents found inside the California Avenue business. He managed to get the gorilla and its cage back once the mix-up was cleared up. He secured the gorilla and its cage onto his truck and brought them back to Palo Alto by way of the Bay Bridge. Day, a member of the Palo Alto Historical Association board of directors, was in the process this week of keeping the mechanical, furry friend in a storage facility within Palo Alto city limits. He considers the gorilla to be a sort of "trademark" of Antonio's Nut House, which he called "an important community spot for Palo Alto. ... It's a shame it's gone."

A barricade blocks cars from accessing University Avenue, where the road is blocked for downtown Palo Alto businesses to host customers outdoors. Photo by Lloyd Lee.

BACK TO THE STREETS ... After a winter break due to the regional stay-at-home order, which was lifted in late January, Palo Alto has brought back outdoor dining and retail back to downtown. On Friday, the city closed select streets to cars as part of its Uplift Local program, which blocks certain roadways for customers and pedestrians to freely roam and support local merchants safely during the pandemic. The road closures include University Avenue between Ramona and Bryant streets and a half block of Ramona north of Hamilton Avenue. The changes build on the recent closures on California Avenue as part of Uplift Local. The city plans to hold a virtual community check-in meeting on the program on Feb. 16, 5:30-6:30 p.m. The public Zoom meeting can be accessed by dialing 669-900-6833 and using webinar ID 995 9377 6067 and passcode 312348. For more details and recordings of past meetings, visit [cityofpaloalto.org/upliftlocal cityofpaloalto.org/upliftlocal.

Professional basketball player Jeremy Lin tosses a basketball to JLS Middle School students at Mitchell Park Community Center on Sept. 16, 2013. Photo by Veronica Weber.

CAREER MOVES ... Notable athletes with ties to Palo Alto have recently entered new phases — and reached milestones — in their respective careers. Basketball's Jeremy Lin this week played in his first game with the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors' G-League team, marking his return to the NBA. Lin had previously played for the Beijing Ducks in China from 2019 through last year. The 32-year-old guard also marked the ninth anniversary of Linsanity (the period during the 2011-12 NBA season when Lin's on-court performance for the New York Knicks put the team on a winning streak). Joc Pederson, 28, is also moving forward with a new team. He has left the Los Angeles Dodgers, which drafted him in 2010, and signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. "So much has I happened== over those 10 years — it's wild to think about. Of course, all that baseball happened: six straight division winners, three NL (National League) pennants and one epic World Series title," he wrote in a Feb. 5 article for The Players' Tribune. The outfielder's deal with the Cubs includes $7 million in guaranteed salary, according to MLB.com. And last but not least, John Lynch received what some may consider an overdue honor. On Feb. 6, the former Stanford University All-American and general manager for the San Francisco 49ers joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lynch has been a Hall of Fame finalist for eight years.

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Around Town: Caged gorilla from Antonio's Nut House rescued from auction gallery

Local man plans to feature fixture from longtime dive bar in future museum

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, Feb 14, 2021, 8:51 am
Updated: Tue, Feb 16, 2021, 8:47 am

In the latest Around Town column, the story of how Palo Alto nearly lost the beloved gorilla that welcomed visitors at Antonio's Nut House, the Uplift Local program's downtown return and news about notable athletes with local ties.

'ANIMAL' RESCUE ... Antonio's Nut House has sadly closed its doors for good (unless a partner comes through or someone commits to reopening and purchasing the business, according to the owners), but at least one familiar face from the longtime dive bar will hopefully find a new, permanent home in Palo Alto. The caged gorilla that served countless peanuts to patrons over the decades could become an artifact at the future Palo Alto History Museum if the project comes to fruition. You can thank resident Jeff Day for rescuing the beloved figure on Feb. 2 from Oakland, where it was lined up for auction. Day previously arranged to pick up the giant gorilla from the watering hole, but it was accidentally taken to Harvey Clars Auction Gallery in the east bay along with other contents found inside the California Avenue business. He managed to get the gorilla and its cage back once the mix-up was cleared up. He secured the gorilla and its cage onto his truck and brought them back to Palo Alto by way of the Bay Bridge. Day, a member of the Palo Alto Historical Association board of directors, was in the process this week of keeping the mechanical, furry friend in a storage facility within Palo Alto city limits. He considers the gorilla to be a sort of "trademark" of Antonio's Nut House, which he called "an important community spot for Palo Alto. ... It's a shame it's gone."

BACK TO THE STREETS ... After a winter break due to the regional stay-at-home order, which was lifted in late January, Palo Alto has brought back outdoor dining and retail back to downtown. On Friday, the city closed select streets to cars as part of its Uplift Local program, which blocks certain roadways for customers and pedestrians to freely roam and support local merchants safely during the pandemic. The road closures include University Avenue between Ramona and Bryant streets and a half block of Ramona north of Hamilton Avenue. The changes build on the recent closures on California Avenue as part of Uplift Local. The city plans to hold a virtual community check-in meeting on the program on Feb. 16, 5:30-6:30 p.m. The public Zoom meeting can be accessed by dialing 669-900-6833 and using webinar ID 995 9377 6067 and passcode 312348. For more details and recordings of past meetings, visit [cityofpaloalto.org/upliftlocal cityofpaloalto.org/upliftlocal.

CAREER MOVES ... Notable athletes with ties to Palo Alto have recently entered new phases — and reached milestones — in their respective careers. Basketball's Jeremy Lin this week played in his first game with the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors' G-League team, marking his return to the NBA. Lin had previously played for the Beijing Ducks in China from 2019 through last year. The 32-year-old guard also marked the ninth anniversary of Linsanity (the period during the 2011-12 NBA season when Lin's on-court performance for the New York Knicks put the team on a winning streak). Joc Pederson, 28, is also moving forward with a new team. He has left the Los Angeles Dodgers, which drafted him in 2010, and signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. "So much has I happened== over those 10 years — it's wild to think about. Of course, all that baseball happened: six straight division winners, three NL (National League) pennants and one epic World Series title," he wrote in a Feb. 5 article for The Players' Tribune. The outfielder's deal with the Cubs includes $7 million in guaranteed salary, according to MLB.com. And last but not least, John Lynch received what some may consider an overdue honor. On Feb. 6, the former Stanford University All-American and general manager for the San Francisco 49ers joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lynch has been a Hall of Fame finalist for eight years.

Comments

James Peck
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Feb 14, 2021 at 9:53 am
James Peck, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Feb 14, 2021 at 9:53 am

Doesn't an actual historical artifact differ from simple memorabilia?

Otherwise, noteworthy museums would be filled with miscellaneous items that have no real archaeological or historical significance.

Since countless undergrad and graduate students from Stanford visited the Nut House on occasions, would the mechanical gorilla be considered suitable for historical exhibit at the Stanford Museum along with a carved-up bench from the Oasis?

It will be interesting what the future Palo Alto History Museum 'curators' deem of historical noteworthiness.








Darrin
Registered user
another community
on Feb 14, 2021 at 12:43 pm
Darrin, another community
Registered user
on Feb 14, 2021 at 12:43 pm

Speaking of well-known Palo Alto museums, whatever happened to the Barbie Museum in downtown Palo Alto?

As a youngster, I so enjoyed playing with my modest Barbie collection and a developing interest in sewing unique and seemingly outrageous clothing for my various Barbies (including a lesbian-themed Skipper and gay Ken) eventually led my career as a fashion designer.

I was deeply hurt and disturbed to learn that the Palo Alto Barbie museum is now gone as it was to become a mecca of sorts for me.

Hopefully this mechanical ape can be saved and displayed as homage to the unique character of Palo Alto.


Julian Gómez
Registered user
Midtown
on Feb 14, 2021 at 1:09 pm
Julian Gómez, Midtown
Registered user
on Feb 14, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Barbie Museum sold to Mattel 20 years ago:
Web Link


Lars
Registered user
another community
on Feb 14, 2021 at 1:59 pm
Lars, another community
Registered user
on Feb 14, 2021 at 1:59 pm

@ Antonio's Nut House has sadly closed its doors for good (unless a partner comes through or someone commits to reopening and purchasing the business, according to the owners), but at least one familiar face from the longtime dive bar will hopefully find a new, permanent home in Palo Alto.

I do not think Antonio's Nut House will ever reopen.

Most of the well-known Palo Alto bars are long gone including The Winery, Talbot's, The Island, Henry's, 42nd Street, Emerson Street Bar and Grill et al.

At one time you could stagger down University Avenue or California Avenue totally inibriated and go bar-hopping at will.

No more. Those were the good old days.

The peanuts weren't always dispersed by the gorilla. At one time they were handed out in small baskets by the bartender upon request because the owner got mad at homeless people eating his free peanuts and not buying drinks. I once saw the owner confiscate a handful of peanuts from a homeless person and 86 him.

The police used to come in as well to catch DUI suspects. An officer would sit at one of the little round tables and nurse the same beer for over two hours. He would then get on his cell phone to contact another officer stationed outside to make an arrest if he suspected a drunk patron. You could always tell because the officer inside had a gun on an ankle strap.

They were not fooling savvy Nut House customers, only the amateur drinkers.

Palo Alto is no longer a college drinking town, just another mundane bourgeois place to live.


John Perry
Registered user
Downtown North
on Feb 14, 2021 at 2:31 pm
John Perry, Downtown North
Registered user
on Feb 14, 2021 at 2:31 pm

I moved away from Palo Alto in 2016 to Tempe, AZ and I must honestly say that I wish I'd moved here to Tempe about 2010. Tempe is a true college town ... vibrant with many cafes and pubs. I do NOT live in Downtown North but I had to say I lived in Palo Alto to get an account here. For such an expensive town, Palo Alto is an absolutely crashing bore. Why would someone want to live in a place with $5000/month apartments and nothing to do? In just a few years it's lost Pluto's, Peet's on University, Cafe Epi, Cheesecake Factory, Prolific Oven, Rudy's Pub, Antonio's Nuthouse, etc.. It's a soulless town. You'd never sense that it's a college town.


cr
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 16, 2021 at 11:23 am
cr, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Feb 16, 2021 at 11:23 am

If there is not enough money to establish a Palo Alto history Museum, why not take whatever money has been collected to date and use it towards the reopening of Antonios nuthouse? That is a treasure to the community (and I would bet more people would enjoy it vs a museum anyway). Could add artifacts to the back of the Nut House. I am sure the teachers that will be living in the affordable housing project would welcome Antonio’s as well. So sad to permanently lose a great dive bar!


Alistair Kearns
Registered user
Stanford
on Feb 16, 2021 at 1:05 pm
Alistair Kearns, Stanford
Registered user
on Feb 16, 2021 at 1:05 pm

"...why not take whatever money has been collected to date and use it towards the reopening of Antonios nuthouse? "


Seriously? Like many former Palo Alto businesses, the Nut House will be long forgotten in 25 years or so. No one will care.

And reopening a commercial business (i.e. a dive bar) with community funds is ludicrous. Who is going to tend bar, the mayor?

It is time to move on.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 16, 2021 at 1:45 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Feb 16, 2021 at 1:45 pm

"For such an expensive town, Palo Alto is an absolutely crashing bore. "

Ah, but we have city council members who would have us believe it's the offices that make PA so wonderfully vibrant as they push to make things even more boring by pricing out the few resident-serving stores and restaurants we have left.


Phyllis Ketchum
Registered user
Barron Park
on Feb 17, 2021 at 8:42 am
Phyllis Ketchum, Barron Park
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 8:42 am

Boys collecting and playing with Barbie dolls is a peculiar pastime given other options and opportunities.

On the other hand, my youngest son (around age 6) used to carry around a Mattel 'Chatty Cathy' doll that his older sister had disposed of earlier having outgrown her doll-playing years.

Our German Shepherd chewed the 'Chatty Cathy' up one day and our young son was very distraught at the time.

My husband intervened and bought him some plastic model airplanes to build and this became our son's new pastime.

Very grateful that he did not ask for a Barbie instead.


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