Gordon Biersch temporarily shut its doors at 640 Emerson St. in September to undergo a full renovation. Gordon had reunited with the brewery’s first-ever bar manager, Steve Sincheck (now the owner of downtown Palo Alto’S Old Pro and Local Union 271), to redo the physical space, menu and brew options.
Gordon opened Gordon Biersch with Dean Biersch in 1988. They sold the Palo Alto outpost about 17 years ago, and the private equity firm that eventually took it over recently told Gordon that they were thinking about shutting it down, Gordon said. The firm had closed the San Francisco location a few years ago, too.
"I said, 'No way; this is my baby. We gotta get it back,'" Gordon recalled.
So he bought it back, partnered with Sincheck and they "poured our heart and souls into it — along with a lot of money — to make it something spectacular," he said.
Dan Gordon's soft opened last week (the week of March 14) with 11 beers on tap. Seven are Gordon Biersch “flagships,” German-style beers, and four are new "Dan Gordon-line" brews, more American-style craft ales, Gordon said. The Gordon Biersch classics include Märzen, Pilsner, Blonde Bock, Hefeweizen, Golden Ecport and Dunklewiezen. The newcomers include an IPA, pale ale and brown ale.
From right to left, Gordon Biersch's Goldon Export, Marzen and Schwarzbier. Photo by Michelle Le/Palo Alto Weekly.
"WILDCIDE," a new hard cider Gordon makes from apples, California-produced wines and American whiskeys, will also be on tap.
They also "refocused the food on things that we felt would be extraordinary well-paired with beers," landing on barbecue. Armed with a 750-pound smoker, the kitchen is turning out everything from 18-hour smoked brisket and ribs to smoked chicken wings. Other dishes include fried Brussel sprouts, grilled artichoke, poutine, biscuits, grits, a pulled pork sandwich, salads and more.
Everything is "farm to table," Gordon said. The menu notes where some ingredients hailed from.
He said he and Sincheck plan to be very hands-on owners and will be in the new space often.
"It’s just fantastic going full circle, 28 years later to come back where everything started for Gordon Biersch," he said.
Today, there are more than 30 Gordon Biersch restaurants, some franchises, across the nation. The Palo Alto location was the first. The actual brewing and bottling facility is located in San Jose.
The new Dan Gordon's just opened for lunch this week. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.