Menlo Park beer & burger institution, The Oasis, set to close March 7

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on February 21, 2018

Post image for Menlo Park beer & burger institution, The Oasis, set to close March 7

The Tougas family, who operate The Oasis, announced via Facebook that the much beloved Menlo Park beer and burger spot will close on March 7. Here is their announcement:

“To all of our loyal customers and to the greater Menlo Park community,

“It is with heavy heart that we announce the closing of our beloved bar and restaurant, The Oasis. After several months of effort, we were unable to negotiate a reasonable lease for our business, nor meet the requested terms of the building’s owner.

“Therefore, we have made the very difficult decision to close our doors, and bid farewell to the endearing community of Menlo Park and Stanford University. Our last day of business will be March 7 — please stop in for a visit and say goodbye!

“Sincerely, The Tougas Family”

We invite InMenlo readers to share their memories! Here’s mine: The Oasis was the first place I had a legal drink in Menlo Park, oh so many, many years ago. My good friend and almost birthday twin, Alice [MacCorkle] Carrott, stopped in over Christmas break during our college years having turned 21 earlier in December. We wouldn’t have chosen any other place!

Second photo by Chris Gulker (c) 2010; photo of Oasis cheeseburger by Linda Hubbard (c) 2012

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

alice carrott February 21, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Great memories!!! Seems like last year! I can still taste the fries!

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Mark Eubanks February 21, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Sorry to see the Oasis go. Lots of memories – my first visit was about 1968. Good food, fun times. Thank you Oasis!!

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Michael DiMartino February 21, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Instead of inviting readers to write about their fond recollection of one of the few community gathering spots that endured over time, you should encourage them to find a way to prioritize a sustained minimum level of protected community benefits over property rights. Should the building owners envision a new and different formula for a food/drink establishment that mimics the contribution of the Oasis, then I am satisfied. If not, then I am appalled. All of the ineffective plazas in new construction and tax income from commercial development will NEVER equate to the loss of a family/sports team/bonding establishment like the Oasis. In the case where it is to be turned into something other than what it is, the building owner will be acting in a manner that, in my opinion, is as socially destructive and equal to all of the “divisive bad news” to which we cringe while we watch/read. It is only through comfortable, repetitive social engagement such as being in the crowded Oasis or Dutch Goose or Malibu Grand Prix or bowling alley, etc that our actions towards others will make us a community and translate to behavior that rebuilds our country. We need to celebrate and protect that. We are allowing our social fabric to be torn apart one popular gathering spot at a time. If the owner thought of the ownership of the Oasis building as only a financial investment ripe for conversion to a higher-rate-of-return whatever and the current operators wished to continue doing business, the City of Menlo Park needed to step in and assert a different value system, for once and specifically on this occasion. If the owners are wealthy, they should sense a philanthropic duty to keep it open, up to the point that the loss is equal to their other charitable expenses. If they are not wealthy, they should weigh the overall situation and sell it to someone who would keep it open indefinitely for the “off-the-books” value it creates, which is not measured in dollars. Otherwise, the owners should watch the news and truly take ownership of the return on their investment.

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Sue February 21, 2018 at 10:31 pm

Well said! I hope the uproar and support continue.
50 yr resident (10 in PV) yep 60! Just like the “O”!

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Brian A February 22, 2018 at 10:25 am

I get the value of community, and yeah, folks should work hard to build and maintain it. But this is a horrifying comment.

“If the owner thought of the ownership of the Oasis building as only a financial investment ripe for conversion to a higher-rate-of-return whatever and the current operators wished to continue doing business, the City of Menlo Park needed to step in and assert a different value system”

You have no right to use force to make anyone to do anything with their property. I don’t share your “value system” (which is just straight up facism) and I abhor the idea of you using the guns of the government to force it on others. If you want to buy the property, you can do what you’d like to it. Otherwise, curb the entitlement a bit and try respecting the rights of others.

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Sean February 22, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Mr. DiMartino didn’t say anything about guns, force, or “straight up facism [sic]” tho.

Every regulation or law in some way asserts a value system; in this case you agree with the results because you value the right to property and profit over the right to community. But if the city of Menlo Park passed a version of rent control that protected businesses from unreasonable rent increases, your argument would be the forceful and fascist one.

Mr. DiMartino is expressing his dissatisfaction with the current value system, and indicating that he believes his elected representatives should have acted in the interest of the community, not the property owners. It’s a bummer that the idea of prioritizing people over property inspired you to call someone a fascist.

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Other Sean February 23, 2018 at 8:57 am

Mr. DiMartino was not asking for a new fair system, he was calling out the rightful owners and demanding that they surrender their property.

Implementing rent control would be a fair NEW value system for Menlo Park. Demanding that invidividual owners sacrifice for the community is not. Both tactics would have serious repercussions that are probably not overall positive.

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Sean February 22, 2018 at 12:06 pm

It’s easy to tell other people what to do with their money. If you feel that strongly, buy it yourself.

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Barbara Wilcox February 21, 2018 at 4:29 pm

This is terrible. It’s hard to know what could go into that block that’s more valuable to the community than the ‘O.’

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Lindol February 22, 2018 at 10:22 am

Nothing. There is nothing that could go there in its stead. The Oasis is irreplaceable. I spent my childhood there with my mom and dad and their friends,discovering my love for food and occasional gluttony. I grew up there in my teens. I regressed there in my 20s. And i returned there every single time I came home in my 30s to reconnect with many of the friends whom Id made their the previous three decades, often meeting kids of thwir own. The thought that I wont be able visit in my 40s saddens me to no end. We need to fight for the O. It is pretty much all we have left in MP.

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Dallas Hall February 21, 2018 at 5:04 pm

In 1952 the people working there let me play the pinball machines where you could win money. After about an hour they would tell me to hit the road. I was 10 years old and lived on Cambridge. Through the years, I have eaten lots and lots of LA hots and cheeseburgers. Still go there.. What a shame.

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Tim G February 21, 2018 at 5:09 pm

This is a travesty and the Menlo Park City Council needs to work to designate this business and the building as a historical landmark. This could preclude demolition of the building and ousting the Oasis. Case in point is Zot’s, Rossottis or Alpine Inn on Alpine Road in Portola Valley.

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Jasmin Bolleri February 21, 2018 at 5:16 pm

The closing of the O is downright depressing. To Michael’s great point above, the owners are quite wealthy (The Beltramo family) and it’s its sad that they can’t see their way to coming to an agreement to save what is truly a local institution. The history is literally written on (carved into) the walls. As a peninsula native, it is incredibly disheartening to see the repeated and ongoing destruction of all the places that made the peninsula a great place to grow up. Nothing more important nowadays than the almighty dollar and price gouging people right out of business. El Camino really needs another Starbucks **sarcasm**

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Earl Downing February 21, 2018 at 6:58 pm

The building in which the Oasis resides served as the original gymnasium for Camp Fremont. It’s historical chops are in order.

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Barbara Wilcox February 22, 2018 at 9:29 am

Actually one of the original YMCAs, and the sole surviving one. Each unit had a Y to provide recreation — the army delegated this role to community volunteers.

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Becky Stillwell February 21, 2018 at 7:58 pm

I can’t believe that the “O” is closing! My mother bought hamburger patties there to cook at home. I turned 21 there, while dating the manager, Tom. Our entire commune hung out there in the late 60’s, early 70’s. Bud was the “doorman”. We all played pool there. This just feels WRONG!

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Cornelius Miller February 21, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Went in to have a burger and wrestler David
Schultz an old friend was there we had a burger
together and that was the last time I seen him
Some people know the story from the movie
Foxcather

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Jeff Langston February 21, 2018 at 9:48 pm

As a Tougas employee for almost 3 decades , I can say that the Family did all they could to save the O ! It was Bernie’s second location after the Goose ! This location had such a place in Bernie Tougas’s ❤️ which he handed down to his Children . I know in my heart they made every effort to preserve the Oasis ! He was a great guy and always worked so hard not only for the history of his locations and the customers which in some cases still came in for 6 + Generations . He treated his employees like family with the utmost respect ! Really sad to hear the news ! Let’s hope for the parties envolved can come to a last minute agreement !! Jeff Langston

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Mark Shafran February 22, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Jeff,
good to hear from you.
I am also hoping that both parties will come and make an agreement so that The Oasis can stay open….

Hope all is well come by the glass shop sometime say hi..

Mark shafran
Menlo Atherton glass company

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Ali Jennings February 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm

This is s travesty. And you can bet it’s all over money. The owners want to go upscale, and pay no attention to the history of the establishment. The city of Menlo Park needs to step in before another piece of local history is gone. Do we want nothing but high rise buildings and fancy restaurants. Menlo Park is already starting to lose its charm. Once gone it will never come back.

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Victoria Robledo February 22, 2018 at 7:22 am

I’m sad to read that yet another piece of history to be removed over greed , look how council is approving all this development…

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Sue February 21, 2018 at 10:38 pm

Beltramo Family shame on you!

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Barbie Koch February 21, 2018 at 10:39 pm

This is awful. We already lost The Boardwalk in Mtn. View/Los Altos a few years ago. Now the “O”. Sad sad sad.

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Judy Rennick February 21, 2018 at 11:19 pm

This can’t happen. Someone needs to create a miracle and save this cultural icon. There are many very rich individuals in that area. Usually if an agreement cannot be made, additional money can save the day. So somebody step up and save the Oasis. What are they going to do with the tables so many customers placed their name or initials on. Mine are there with my high school boyfriend’s initials placed there over 50 years ago

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Dinesh Desai February 22, 2018 at 9:24 am

Unfortunately, this is the price we pay for the incredible increase in property values. As much as I hate to see Oasis close, a landlord does have a right to maximize profit on his property holdings. But, here is the good news for the fans of our dear ‘O’. You can get the same food at the other restaurants owned by the same family. Check out Jake’s of Sunnyvale and Jake’s of Saratoga, among others.

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Linda Hubbard Gulker February 22, 2018 at 9:33 am

Dinesh,

Alas, to us long time residents of MP, particularly those who grew up here, it’s not about the food, it’s about the ambience and the tradition of gathering there to watch Stanford football. In sum, the community.

Linda (editor of InMenlo.com)

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Barbara Wilcox February 22, 2018 at 9:38 am
Brian Tetrud February 22, 2018 at 12:14 pm

O > Goose all day

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Geri S. February 22, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Like so many others, the Oasis has many memories for our family. Starting in the late 60’s my husband worked in Menlo Park and would go there for lunch. When we married, he took me there to introduce me to one of his favorite places. Since then, over the years, we have celebrated family birthdays and family get togethers in the fun and casual atmosphere. We like it for its uniqueness, the food, and that fact that it’s a place everyone can enjoy from young to old. There is a tradition my husband has with his grandchildren – when they turn 21, they buy their Papa a beer at the Oasis. Sort of a right of passage. We’ll be there this weekend for the next qualified grandchild to buy him a beer. Now mind you, none of our family even live in Menlo Park. That doesn’t matter. It’s a place we are happy to drive to from different parts of the bay area (from the northern peninsula, southern peninsula and east bay) to get together and enjoy our time together at what we consider a special place. It’s so sad the Oasis is closing not just for our family but also for everyone else who counts the Oasis as a special place. As others have stated, all the special places are going by the wayside, most of them were places where people could take their families and not break the bank doing so. I wonder what will be left 20 years from now and where that generation can go to build memories with their families. Since none of my family lives in Menlo Park, we have no say with the Menlo Park politicians and time is very short. I just hope that something can be done quickly to get the Oasis designated a Historical Landmark. It seems to meet the criteria.

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MA’70/Stanford’74 February 22, 2018 at 11:19 pm

Someone was mentioning a community funding drive “ala Kepler’s” to keep the “O” open. It won’t be a lot, but if there is one, I’ll contribute.

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Win Derman February 23, 2018 at 8:33 am

Does anyone remember what happened to the Park Theater when the City Council tried to negotiate with the owner about finding a use for the theater or at least maintain the marquis? Didn’t happen.
The City Council is now looking into the Guild Theater. If you feel strongly about maintaining our history, maybe you should participate in the discussions.

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Gordon Harper February 23, 2018 at 4:45 pm

A tip’o’the hat to JIMMY PERKINS who convinced the owners shortly after the Oasis opened that they should put in a grill and he would cook hamburgers. Jimmy formerly operated the Red Rooster on Marsh Road and was now a cook at many Stanford fraternities and eating clubs. He told the owners: ” My boys should have some GOOD FOOD when they come over here!” At the time, all they had on the bar was a gallon of pigs feet and a gallon of pickled eggs. Jimmy was so well liked that after his passing, Memorial Church was more than half filled with “his boys” to wish him well in his life after death!

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Frank Smith February 26, 2018 at 3:57 pm

I worked at the USGS back in the late 70’s, early 80’s, and the “O” was truly an Oasis. All those peanuts, all those pitchers of beer, and “the toad”, who could forget it.?

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Davo February 27, 2018 at 8:03 am

Bring back RATZ!

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John Perry March 19, 2018 at 3:45 pm

I left Palo Alto because the whole area is losing wonderful businesses due to landlord greed. Even in the 16 months since I left for Tempe, AZ, further deterioration in the social environment of the area has occurred and the closing of the Oasis is just more of the same. The Paly/Menlo area has become a bastion for those seeking passive income through the charging of enormous rents. Eventually the only things which will remain will be overpriced foo-foo restaurants and office space. Is that the kind of town we want to live in? I doubt it.

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Bill March 25, 2018 at 10:08 am

Interesting to watch the change in a very wonderful area. The “times are a changing”. For sure I was blessed growing up in Menlo Park and Atherton. Way too many fun nights at the O after studies at Stanford or local BB Leagues and Over the Line games at Menlo College.

Do not want to think how the area appears and Silicon Valley has changed the area.

Glad to live in Palm Desert and “hang” at places like Georges…another bastion of the past.

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