Beltramos sad the Oasis is closing, seek a new restaurant tenant

The kitchen area of the Oasis was busy tonight. Post photo.
The kitchen area of the Oasis. Post photo.

By the Daily Post staff

The Beltramo family, landlords of the Oasis Beer Garden, are saddened the restaurant’s owners want to close the beloved burger and pizza joint and are actively looking for a new restaurant operator, Menlo Park Councilman Ray Mueller said today (Feb. 25).

After council received numerous pleas from residents to intervene, Mueller said he talked to Dan and Margaret Beltramo today.

“My impression was that they were really sad,” Mueller told the Post this afternoon.

The Post reported Thursday that Dan Beltramo’s daughter, Diana Beltramo Hewitt, said that the family plans to find a new tenant for the restaurant, and has no plans to redevelop the building at 241 El Camino Real that houses the restaurant.

Dan and Margaret Beltramo reiterated that sentiment to Mueller today.

“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,” Mueller said. “They indicated these families (the Beltramos and the Tougases) 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, maintained. Dan indicates his father actually built those booths.”

The Tougas family, who own similar restaurants in the South Bay, said in a statement that after several months of efforts, they were unable to negotiate with the Beltramos a “reasonable lease for our business nor meet the requested terms of the building’s owner.” They plan to close March 7.

Mueller, who frequently eats at the Oasis and held an election night party there, said he would be willing to mediate the dispute if the two parties were willing.

A possible problem for a new restaurant tenant is that there isn’t enough parking, Mueller said. Curbside parking on nearby side streets doesn’t open up until 6 p.m., and Mueller said it would be helpful if that were changed to 5 p.m.

 

16 Comments

  1. Oh, boo hoo. The Beltranos are sad, how disingenuous. Perhaps if they hadn’t increased the rent to an unsustainable amount the Tougas family could keep the restaurant open.

  2. Barb, I don’t know what the rents were, and I don’t think that has been disclosed to the public. So I don’t know how you can make that statement. That said, is it the landlord’s responsibility to offer below-market rents to tenants?

  3. The Beltramos are very wealthy and own a lot of real estate in Menlo Park. Their families all grew up in the area. It’s amazing that they cannot be more accommodating.

    I guess money changes everything.

  4. 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.

  5. The Beltramo family owns half of Menlo Park. The rents were being raised on all the tenants of that building. What makes me sick is that this community supported the business establishments of the Beltramo’s for years….how much money does any one family NEED? In this area, it’s ALWAYS about money now. See the comment of Roger H above….”below market” rent? The market is artificially inflated, what actually qualifies as “market” these days? If new ownership comes in, we are running the very real risk of the Oasis becoming another trendy burger joint selling $20 gluten free goat cheese soy burgers with custom made beer fermented in someone’s dorm room closet populated by scores of hoodie clad wanna be start up millennial’s on computers. We don’t need any more of that crap. We are losing all sense of identity here in the Bay. Chain and franchise eateries that serve mediocre food for a high price with all the ambience of an operating room. ENOUGH!!!! There’s local HISTORY at the O, please leave it the hell alone!!!!

  6. —>“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!

  7. Stopped in last night to say goodbye and find out more about what was happening. According to several regulars there are two points of contention between the Oasis and the Beltramo family.

    1. Rent: the Beltramo’s raised the rent from $14K/month to $25K/month. That’s a 44% increase for anyone without a calculator handy. Not sure I buy that the family is “sad” about the closing when they are dumping this kind of rent hike on a tenant after 60 years.

    2. Liquor: The Beltramo’s get 10% of the take from the Oasis and believe the business could be more profitable if it sold liquor instead of just beer and wine. While they may be right about the $, they would be tearing at the fabric of what makes the Oasis so great; it is a place you can go with your family and expect a friendly crowd, safe environment for your kids, and good food. Liquor does not always lead to more fighting and less savory characters, but it doesn’t help. One thing it definitely results in is more drunk kids that don’t realize how inebriated they are until 3-4 drinks in.

    These types of folks would detract from the vibe of the place and would probably reduce the amount of people that were coming back regularly.

    This information came from several different sources at the Oasis, lines up with the what has been reported, and makes sense so I am inclined to believe it.

    If it is true, shame on the Beltramo family for putting profit before people when they already have enough money to live comfortably.

    • Good info, thanks Lee.
      My only comment would be that The Goose opened The Duck Blind to sell liquor (maybe the Beltramo’s wanted the same outcome there), and it’s still a family friendly place. I hope someone like Greg Stern can step in & keep the O.

  8. All these complaints about the “greedy” Beltramo family just prove the softness of this area. The land of the offended. Do any of the commenters know the family personally? No. They are a wonderful family that has lived in Menlo Park for 150 years, contributing more to the community than the collective voices of all the sheep whining here. And the position that a wealthy family should subsidize below market rents just because they are rich is preposterous. Welcome to the free market world of capitalism in America! Love it or leave it. The $14K/month they were paying before was for a contractual period that expired and it’s customary to re-sign a multi-year lease at prevailing market rates. That might be $25K and I’m positive the Beltramo family didn’t pull that number out of their wazoo. Too many oldtimers hold onto the notion of MP in it’s heyday 50 years ago while the core buildings and businesses along ECR and SC Ave fall apart and provide no incentive for young families to spend time or money locally. Our neighbors in RWC, Palo Alto, Mtn View and Los Altos have all adapted and put our town to shame.

  9. No “old timers” hold on to the notion that it’s 50 years ago.

    What “notion” they hold on to is the notion of decency and a sense of local history. Community. You are making the point for the “old-timers” that greed has taken over this area.

    Palo Alto was always a pricey place to live. The interesting thing is, Palo Altans took care of their own. They would advertise rentals on this publication’s classifieds, or put out word of mouth notices that they had a place to rent, and preference was always given to keeping it in the community. Usually this was accompanied by a lower price.

    We looked out for one another, not for the financial bottom line. I have been here for 44 years, my ex worked for the Beltramo’s and I did too, briefly, and let me make this clear, unless they squandered their money away, which I doubt since their holdings are massive, they aren’t financially hurting.

    They are hardly the first prominent local business family to do this…there are Palo Alto business owners whom shall not be named at this time due to the fact they are not involved in this latest blow to our area. They too went against local local owners of unique businesses thus to chase them out of the area so they could make more money with corporate leases. These people went so far as to send shills to the council and other city meetings to harass these small business owners into closing or leaving town.

    It’s all very tawdry, shallow and yes, greedy. We aren’t “soft.” We are fed up with the carpetbagging of our once lovely cities. Your comment is Ex.A showing you a part and parcel of the problem we are facing. Hey, there are $$$$$ to be made, lets grab all we can, common decency and community be damned!

  10. Living in the Bay Area is a privilege, not a right. When the pendulum of greed swings too far, there will be a market correction to normalize commodities, services and housing prices. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it is a relentless cycle we see in similar communities all around the country. In the meantime, don’t confuse greed with opportunism, progress, good corporate stewardship, generational planning, luck or any other attribute successful people value. I find it ironic that so many of the complainers live in homes protected by Prop 13, thus benefitting disproportionally from the rise in property values without commensurate tax. Must be nice

  11. Aurelio: You have totally outed yourself as one of the new wave that cares not for anything but their personal bottom line. I, for one, am sick to death of people whining about Prop 13. Most of the recipients of Prop 13 are elderly, and this is the only way they can remain in their homes. I realize that’s totally against what the new influx of carpetbaggers want, because their goal is to force out these people out so they can buy up their properties. It’s disgusting. Too damn bad you (or a family member) weren’t here in the 70’s. Prop 13 was voted in before the State became a one party disaster. The bitterness I’ve heard from this community about Prop 13 is sickening. The people who moved here during this bubble bought their homes knowing full well what they would be paying. They are the people responsible for driving up the cost of home ownership AND rents. They are also the people now bitching about their property taxes. You don’t like them? Do what people did in the 70’s and stop voting in people who want all of your money for their unsustainable programs and pet projects.

  12. Like I said, living in the Bay Area is a privilege, not a right. If indeed it is elderly people that benefit most from Prop 13 (which I highly doubt given commercial real estate is the largest beneficiary), then I have no problem with them remaining. We could have a lengthy discussion about how to responsibly phase out Prop 13 to protect the elderly, yet decrement the program to prevent all these trust fund babies from inheriting Prop 13 buildings through irrevocable trusts for multiple generations. If all those Prop 13 properties were appropriately taxed, people would sell and free up valuable land and buildings, thus helping lower prices for all. And our municipal tax base would increase leaving more $$ for schools, first responders, infrastructure, etc.

    And yes, I bought into this market knowing full well what I was paying and the implications it would have on my life. That’s why I get out of bed everyday and bust my bottom to earn an honest living. No complaints here. High prices are table stakes for MP.

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