Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 3, 2011

Handles Gastropub moving into Pleasanton Hotel

Farmer to close Sunday with new eatery opening in fall

by Jeb Bing

The Farmer Restaurant in the Pleasanton Hotel on north Main Street will close Sunday with a new restaurant to replace it in September.

Restaurant staff has been handing customers glossy cards along with their table checks, promoting Handles Gastropub as the new restaurant.

Handles bills itself as a restaurant that features "American comfort food" while also offering 30 craft beers and 16 local wines. Mixed drinks also will be available.

On its Facebook page posted Friday, Handles Gastropub lists its general manager as Brent Schwager, who is also listed as the operator of Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Brian Hampton is named as the chef of the new Handles restaurant here.

Handles will be the third restaurant in just a little over two years in the hotel.


Posted by Sharon Rowland, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2011 at 11:18 am

The Farmer Restaurant was uninspired - more like Denny's than any other comparison I can think of. And now, a Gastro (whatever that means) Pub? It makes me think of unpleasant gastric activity. There is enough American Comfort food in the world. What is missing is the combination of elegance and hominess, along with creative cuisine, that was always part of the Pleasanton Hotel dining experience, before the ousting of the longtime managers - and the advent of mediocrity! What is the owner thinking? The building and surrounding grounds are beautiful - something that will probably not be appreciated by a pub crowd (I'll bet there will be large, flat-screen TV sets, tuned to extreme sports). I would not schedule a special event there (as I have in the past, under the pre-Farmer management), nor would I suggest it as a destination to anyone visiting the area. Pleasanton has always been, and should continue to be, a unique alternative to the "sameness" of larger surrounding communities. That quality should be nurtured- not destroyed.

Posted by Donna Boyer, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2011 at 11:18 am

For many years my family and I enjoyed fine dining at the Pleasanton Hotel and took guests there for special occasions. When The Farmer Restaurant took over the space, I thought it would be as good as the former restaurant. I was wrong! The food was unimaginative and not prepared with a good chef's creativity. Now I read that yet another restaurant is taking over. I'm not sure what a "gastropub" is, but it doesn't sound very appetizing. Going out to dinner should be an event to be savored and remembered--with fine food and sophisticated atmosphere. This new restaurant doesn't seem to fill the bill on either of those fronts. Too bad. The dining experience should not include such things as "gastro" in any form. Unfortunately, I will no longer be dining (if that's what you do in a gastropub) at this establishment, nor will I recommend it to my friends. The community needs more upscale dining facilities, not more pedestrian sports bars with boring food.

Posted by anonymous coward, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

Sharon and Donna, way to show your prejudice! The place isn't even open yet, and you admittedly don't know anything about what they'll serve or how they'll decorate but you've already made up your mind to not go there nor recommend to anyone else.

Now, I do think that that term 'gastropub' is about as unappetizing as calling it 'sh*t on a shingle' but I'm not making up my mind about the place until I've either been there or at least read a few reviews from people who've actually been there once it's open.

From wikipedia: Gastropub refers to a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food.

Posted by Sharon Rowland, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Dear Anonymous Coward:

You are right - I do have a certain prejudice. It is not toward brewpubs (or even gastropubs) per se, but rather the movement toward homogonization, and away from uniqueness. Every city has its share of pub-style establishments. Fewer and fewer can boast of affordable, elegant, dining houses - that do not target specific age groups, with trained mixologists at the bar and menu choices that demonstrate the chef's skill and imagination. Handles might be an exception within its genre - if so, time and experience (yes, I do intend to try it) will soften my opinion. In the meantime, I will continue to mourn the loss of character of the Pleasanton Hotel. Sharon

Posted by M., a resident of Downtown
on Jun 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

M. is a registered user.

Sharon, Donna I suggest you look up the word gastronomy before deciding that a restaurant that hasn't even opened yet is not worth your time.

As defined
Gastronomy :the art or science of good eating
:the study of culinary customs or style


Posted by Donna Boyer, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm

My prior comments were born not of prejudice, but of preference. I prefer not to eat at a restaurant which touts comfort food as its fare. I prefer not to drink in an establishment with 30 varieties of beer. That is my preference. That being said, my comments were intended to state just that, without opening a dialogue with others who feel differently. We should feel free to post comments without attack from those who disagree. In fact, I hope I'm wrong and that the new venue is wildly successful and adds a boost to the downtown Pleasanton economy. I, however, miss the grace and ambience of the former Pleasanton Hotel. Over and out..........

Posted by Mary, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 21, 2011 at 9:35 am

Sharon and Donna why dont you visit the 15 OTHER UPSCALE Restaurants that are downtown. Like we need another over priced upscale restaurant with crap food. You might want to try dining in Blackhawk if you dont want to patronize with the common folk!

Posted by xyz, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

I only hope this new place actually cooks food, unlike many of the places in town who get away with opening cans and jars.

Posted by What a waste, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm

So I guess there won't be any grand Thanksgiving,Easter or Mother's Day brunches for all generations to congregate in Pleasanton. Lovely daylight hours on Main Street's patio simply wasted. Gals BF BD lunches won't happen where??
Breweries on Hopyard, and across the street, the Brit's pub, etc. Why couldn't we have something unique ? What to do if we're not 40 yr old males ???
I would put this above all the Pleasanton ballot issues....shouldn't the Planning Com have some responsibility special handling of this historical Main Street landmark ? What's the purpose of a planning commission? What an embarrassment to our town. So sad.

Posted by give it a chance, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

The success or failure of this establishment to pack its chairs will decide its fate, not some planning commission. Clearly the Farmer couldn't do it and I am wishing the best for this place to be successful.

Lifes pretty good if this the biggest thing you've got to worry about.

Posted by Carol Lee, a resident of Downtown
on Aug 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I am fortunate to know the owners that are opening the new restaurant at the Pleasanton Hotel. I can guarantee you they are hoping to create a neighborhood restaurant for everyone to enjoy. All food will be made fresh and using local ingredients whenever available. They have every intention of making the grounds there inviting for weddings, Mother's Day, Easter and the Holiday Season.

I encourage to hold off on your opinions until you've had the chance to experience it. You will not be disappointed, but pleasantly surprised.

As a few other readers noted, a Gastropub is defined as: A public house that specializes in serving high quality food.

Posted by What a waste, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

The brewery stench will permeate all of downtown,

Posted by Marilyn, a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Aug 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I for one am glad Sharon and Donna of "another community" have decided not to try something new. Who wants to be around pessimistic people.

I've been to the Pleasanton Hotel, Farmer's and will go to Handles as well. All different crowds, different food and drinks. Can't wait to enjoy another place that our great little town of Pleasanton has to offer. You can't please everyone. I wish Handles the best!!!

Posted by Mort, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I finally made to Handles this ast week, and I was pleasantly surprised. The food was good, the prices reasonable, good selection of beers, and (surprise), they ACTUALLY cook their food from scratch rather than resort to cans, jars and store bought mixes.

I'll be going back, but will always stay in the restaurant side. The bar side has a TV going on all the time, which I find very annoying. At least there is a "no TV room" choice.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields