Beltramo family, property owners of the Oasis, seek new operators for the restaurant

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on February 25, 2018

We’ve been asked to spread the word about Dan and Margaret Beltramo’s interest in maintaining the site as a restaurant rather than redevelop the property.

According to a city official who met with them, they are emotionally attached to the restaurant, recognize its importance to the community, and have expressed they sincerely wish it would have been possible to reach agreement with the Tougas family to keep them operating the restaurant. They indicated these families have worked together for decades.

They would like to maintain the site as a restaurant, with much of the interior currently kept in place, including all of the wood-carved booths. Dan indicates his father [Alex, the original Oasis owner] actually built those booths. Given that Tougas family is leaving the site, Dan is seeking new operators for the restaurant.

Anyone interested in operating the Oasis, should contact Jim Cogan, Menlo Park’s Economic Development Manager – JCCogan@menlopark.org – or City Council member Ray Mueller – Rdmueller@menlopark.org.

Photo by Chris Gulker (c) 2010

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Dooley February 25, 2018 at 4:50 pm

This sounds like a good start to keeping this Landmark.

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Sage February 25, 2018 at 6:41 pm

Question#1: Why is the Tougas family out at this moment?
Question#2: Are the Beltramos seeking increased rent fees?

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Dale Eaton February 26, 2018 at 9:34 am

Question#1 see question#2
And the answer to question#2 is they want a ridiculous amount of rent, no way to make a profit or even keep it going without being in the red.
The beltramos or even shown the books to show them they could not possibly pay that kind of money, beltramo’s now are not like their parents were they become very money driven, at the cost of others livelyhoods

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Sean February 27, 2018 at 8:26 am

Has the Oasis shown their books?

Why do you ask that the property owners subsidize the operation of the restaurant, but don’t demand that the restaurant also operate in the red? Or demand that the customers just pay a little more.

There is no evidence the property owners are demanding more than fair market value for the rent, just as every other property owner would do. If they are charging more than that to force the restaurant to close so they can demolish it, then that’s a different story.

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Barbara Mason February 25, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Thank you for Posting this. I didn’t think the Beltramo’s
deserved the bad press they were getting. Hope someone
will step up to take it over the way Greg Stern did for
The Goose. Also hope newspapers will pick up this story
and print it. Thanks!

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Linda Hubbard Gulker February 25, 2018 at 7:43 pm

The irony is that the Beltramos also own the building that houses the Dutch Goose:
https://www.almanacnews.com/morgue/2005/2005_10_05.goose.shtml

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Barb Valley February 25, 2018 at 7:28 pm

Perhas if they hadn’t incresed the cost of the lease to an unsustainable amount (as reported by the SJMerc, an agreement could have been reached.

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No O Don’t Go February 26, 2018 at 7:29 am

This sounds like we’re not getting the whole story from the Beltramos.

They’re saying they want to keep basically the same restaurant, but they want to replace the operator that has been there for 60 years and is on record stating their business is better than ever?

The only quote I’ve seen that the Tougas family wants to end the business is from the Beltramos.

I’m really wondering what the demands of the new lease are that are causing this breakup, and what possible new tenant would accept those terms to run a burger joint on the Peninsula, where profits are certainly tiny if they exist at all?

This stinks. It’s not hard to figure out why this is happening and who is at fault.

I hope the Beltramos come to their senses and fix this embarrassing mess they’ve caused.

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Richard February 26, 2018 at 7:31 am

I really hope they find someone. I’m in a little salon just around the corner called Opus Hair Salon and we have been open there for over 25 years now. Oasis was my “go to” place for the long days of work when I need a quick and yummy bite to keep me going. Many of my clients and co workers love that place too. Best folks work there. It’s nice to walk into the Oasis and have them yell HEY RICHARD. Makes you feel good. Please reach an agreement and find someone to keep this delectable place going.

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Katherine February 26, 2018 at 8:53 am

ONLY posts about the Oasus and the Beltramos, please.

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tim goode February 26, 2018 at 9:52 am

This is all on Beltramo’s. They have a tennant. Telling us there has been no lease for 60 years and supposed hefty increases of late. The landowner has prevented the biz owner from earning any equity for their work. They pulled the same scheme at the Goose. If Beltramo’s wants the Oasis, it’s sitting right there. Actions, not words, please.

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Lee Buttrill February 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm

We really need to get some sunlight on what terms the Beltramo’s are asking for. It seems fishy that they “are emotionally attached” to a place that typically has lines out the door, but can’t find a lease agreement that works for both sides. In the absence of the numbers being made public, we can only assume the Beltramo family is putting pure greed over the community, local history, or their own family connection to this wonderful establishment.

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Sean February 27, 2018 at 8:20 am

For how long should the property owners be required to subsidize the restaurant and the public?

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Tim goode February 27, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Closer to gouging than subsidizing

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james clarke February 26, 2018 at 3:04 pm

I would say, Boycott the restaurant, To allow someone else to come in and take over a business that one Family has sweated 60 years to make it the land mark it is. Is unfair. why should there be support for new proprietors. Honesty, The Current operators should TM the name and take it with them..

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Patrick February 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Too many great retail venues leaving all the time these days. Beltramo’s sold their liquor store property for new development and now will eventually tear down and develop the “O” property. Hopefully, Greed Will Kill The Cat!

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Not fooled by the Beltramos February 26, 2018 at 9:11 pm

—>“They are emotionally attached to the restaurant, recognize its importance to the community, and have expressed they sincerely wish it would have been possible to reach agreement with the Tougas family to keep them operating the restaurant.”<—

Rrrrrrright… Does anyone actually believe this garbage? Certainly not anyone who has spoken to any Oasis employee about what is going on.

No heart should bleed for the "saddened" Beltramos. They're rich, hold all the cards and clearly don't want to be in business with the Tougas' anymore. The Tougas' worked their you-know-whats off for 60 years, only to be forced to operate at a loss just to keep the O going under the crushing rent increases forced upon them. Not to mention the necessary building improvements that they've been forced to do on their own because the Beltramos refuse to meet any financial obligation that a building owner would normally assume.

My money says the Beltramos have a sucker lined up to take over already, one who will be artificially lauded as a "hero that saves the day" when they "miraculously reopen", cashing in on the equity that the Tougas family has built.

Shame on the MP government officials for going along with this charade.

I am not against any property owner attempting to maximize their investment. That's the way the capitalistic society we live in works. But just be honest about it. Don't insult our intelligence with this pandering BS, PA Post!

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Sean February 27, 2018 at 9:54 am

“I am not against any property owner attempting to maximize their investment. That’s the way the capitalistic society we live in works. But just be honest about it. Don’t insult our intelligence with this pandering”

Where were you when everyone else was demanding that the property owners were wrong to maximize their investment?

If you’re going to make an emotional argument for why they should subsidize the Oasis it’s fair for them to make the emotional argument for why they can’t.

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Not fooled by the Beltramos February 27, 2018 at 11:06 am

@Sean I don’t agree with anyone demanding that a property owner does anything with their property. I didn’t post here to debate people expressing their opinion.

I posted because I’m being treated like I’m an idiot if I’m supposed to believe what the Beltramos are doing here, trying to come off as the wounded party by feeding these quotes to the press.

Anyone who knows anything about the restaurant business knows that it’s a barely-break-even affair. Around here, it’s basically impossible with the high value of the land. Locally-owned businesses are disappearing every week. There is no chance that the O could exist as it does today without subsidy of some kind.

Beltramos are saying they want to maintain a restaurant there, even keeping the old booths. They are known to not want to contribute their own money to upkeep their properties, so it’s a safe assumption it’s going to be a similar if not identical menu from the existing kitchen. They are also known to hold businesses hostage without lease agreements longer than month-to-month. Now they are rumored (reported on other sites) to want to add hard liquor to the menu to make the business more profitable. I’m sure more details will be revealed soon. People who know and are passionate about the O are talking.

All of these these point to the fact that this already wealthy family is in it for the profits, not the community value of something so treasured like the Oasis. Their “emotional attachment” sob story fools no one here.

They are perfectly within their rights to be motivated by profit. But then don’t also come out with this “we wish we could’ve come to terms with the family, but they didn’t like our terms so it’s their fault” baloney. We get enough of that nonsense from the White House.

Just tell it like it is and deal with the fallout, Beltramos.

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Sean February 27, 2018 at 11:47 am

The known facts just don’t support your conclusions. I fear you are letting your own biases cloud your thinking.

Nobody is treating you like an idiot. The previous story line was that the restaurant was run by angels and the property owners were evil profiteering fat cats. They simply put out their side of the story which on face value is every bit as believable as the previous.

I (and you) have no reason to believe they don’t care about the Oasis and the community. They are just simply not willing to lose their shirts over keeping it, especially when nobody else seems to want to offer anything other than verbal support.

The restaurant business is hard, true, but the facts don’t match your conclusion. Countless restaurants have opened in the area and in the coming years there will be many more. If it were impossible to make money then this just would not be the case. Other restaurants find a way and if the old Oasis business model no longer works they need to find a better one. I have little sympathy for a business which does nothing while the world around it changes. The property owners apparently think someone else can do better.

I don’t know anything about the supposed bad business practices you accuse them of, but it seems off. If the lease holders enter into a month to month lease they are knowingly taking on that risk. If it were common knowledge that they were bad landlords then nobody would do business with them.

At what point are you so wealthy that you should no longer run your business like a business? There are billions of dollars in wealth in MP, so it should be easy for you to find someone to take up this charitable cause, right?

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Craig February 27, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Dear “not fooled”-
Your full court attack on the “rich” really does expose who you are. You are a progressive social activist probably from either Stanford or Bezerkly. You really need to get over your jealousy of the Beltramos and their money….since you brought up the White House and trying to connect Trump to the sale of the Oasis (far reach in my opinion), you really are a fool. In this Republic that we reside, it is still encouraged to do well and you will be rewarded. Not everyone gets a trophy and it is OK to be a winner or not, as seen in the recent Winter Olympics. The reps on the USA team, did not do well.
So, for you to attack this family that either had success in business and or commercial real estate, is right out of the Saul Alinsky play book…..take a look at yourself in the mirror in the Kepler Bookstore Transgendered bathroom!

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js February 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Greg Stern reportedly signed a 20 year lease for The Goose, so the comment about the Beltramo’s “holding businesses hostage without lease agreements longer than month-to-month” seems like it could’ve been worked out.

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Katherine February 27, 2018 at 9:54 am

The TRUTH eventually is revealed. The Beltramos are bring CALLED OUT to step up and be honest. WHAT is the truth? We’re going to find out. Show integrity and spill it. Your silence infers guilt and deception.

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James February 27, 2018 at 1:20 pm

The “hating” on the Beltramos here is so childish and inappropriate. I can imagine that that old building needs a lot of work, and I don’t think the Tougas family has seen an appreciable rent increase in a long time. It’s the Beltramos right to ask “market rate”, and I am sure their insurance, maintenance and property taxes are outrunning them just as they are outrunning everyone in the most expensive real estate market ever. I do not know the specifics of this situation, but I was “front and center” at the closing of the liquor store, and I can tell you that the family tried very hard to keep that business open. The argument could be made that their loyalty and refusal to “downsize” made it impossible to keep pace with BevMo, Whole Foods, Safeway and all the other garbage wine shops around. When that store closed there were cries of “GREED!!!” as every bargain hunting vulture swept in for the first time in years to pick the bones, buying closeout wines. If you really need someone to blame here, blame the “prosperity” that has led our town to this precipice of cultural barrenness. How many people slamming the Beltramos can honestly say they’ve been patronizing local businesses like The Oasis over the corporate-owned chains? How many would be “ok” with paying $15 a burger, or whatever it would take to make this a workable venture for all involved??

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Katherine February 27, 2018 at 3:40 pm

You bring up Good points. Since the property hasn’t been SOLD to someone new/different since 1958 -or earlier- the Property Taxes must be very minimal,right? They can only be raised 1%, or some such low rate, annually, right? So Beltramos out-of-pocket has probably been extremely LOW for decades. They didn’t pay for improvements, and I’d bet the Insusnce was paid by those working there, one way or the other.
I’m NOT against making a profit. I still believe there are significant monetary factors influencing the closing or ‘new owbership’ that are running this.

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Sean February 27, 2018 at 8:21 pm

They probably are paying significantly less tax than other property owners, far less than they should. That’s an excellent reason to get rid of Prop 13, but not for a business to charge significantly less than market rate. If half the outrage here was applied to fighting Prop 13 Menlo Park and California would be better off.

The obvious monetary factor is that the Oasis only wants to pay X dollars and the owners think another restaurant would be willing to pay significantly more than X.

There may be some non-obvious reasons, but we just have no evidence of that yet.

James February 27, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Everything that Sean said. Everything. “Not Fooled”, are you volunteering to buy the building, take on the liability and carry the debt, tolerate skyrocketing insurance rates and maintenance costs (like the Beltramos have done) and not make money in order to keep the restaurant??? If so, great. Problem solved. “Katherine”, you feel you are *owed* an explanation by the Beltramo family??? Please explain why the Beltramos owe you (or anyone) anything at all… I’d love to see the place stay open. Nobody should blame the Tougas family for wanting out if the restaurant is too much work (and it probably is) and nobody should blame the Beltramos for wanting market rate rent on an expensive World War I era building.

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James February 27, 2018 at 4:00 pm

One good thing that could come of this is that we could all realize how important our local businesses are to us. I am not proud of the fact that I haven’t been to The Oasis in almost a year. I am much less proud of the fact that I’ve been to “PF Changs” twice in that time, because it was easy and my kids love it. No matter how we feel about “who is to blame” (nobody is “to blame”, really) we can all agree that it’s a shame if The O closes. Let’s value our local, independently owned businesses.

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Lorraine March 1, 2018 at 3:25 pm

As a native to the county, I am saddened to see the present Oasis restaurant going out of business. If the present family cannot pay the rent and have to leave then it is what it is. I have not seen anyone mention the fact that if the building needs repairs or up-grades, the responsibility in on the land owner and I believe that improvements would raise the property taxes. It is also true that the landowner should get a fair market rate of rent. There are always two sides to a story. I wish them all well.

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Lorraine March 1, 2018 at 3:30 pm

A resident since birth, I am sad to see the Oasis restaurant go out of business. It is always sad to see long established places leave. I do hope we all can move forward. I wish all concerned well in the future.

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