Shop Talk: Gordon Biersch temporarily closes | News | Palo Alto Online |


Shop Talk: Gordon Biersch temporarily closes

This week's retail news

Palo Alto's Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant closes its doors this week for a dramatic renovation, while Whole Foods celebrates "Love Fest" this month by offering cups of coffee for a quarter.

SIX-MONTH CLOSURE FOR GORDON BIERSCH ... New name, new menu, new beers -- these are just a few of the changes diners will notice at Palo Alto's Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, 640 Emerson St., when it reopens in February of next year. The restaurant closes its doors this week in order to reinvent itself. "This is a total renovation inside and out. It's going to be pretty drastic," said restaurant founder Dan Gordon, who along with Dean Biersch opened Gordon Biersch in 1988. "I had hoped to do this in stealth mode and keep it under wraps, but the project keeps getting bigger and bigger." An email went out to customers earlier this month advising them of the closure. In its new incarnation, the restaurant will be called DG's GB -- an acronym for "Dan Gordon's Gordon Biersch." Gordon is working on the revamped restaurant with Steve Sinchek, who owns the popular downtown sports bar, The Old Pro. "Steve is actively involved and has been part of this company since day one," Gordon said. "He's been to Texas doing research on different ways of smoking meats." There are more than 30 Gordon Biersch restaurants nationwide. The Palo Alto restaurant is the only one being renamed. "Palo Alto is our flagship store. I know every inch of this place," Gordon said of the 5,200-square-foot-space. When DG's GB has been completely renovated, it will have elevated and communal dining tables, outdoor seating and a menu that nods toward the farm-to-table movement. There's also a promise of lower prices. "The most expensive item will be under $19," Gordon said. He is particularly excited to announce a new Bavarian-style pretzel that will be baked outside in a special oven. The restaurant will still operate as a brewery. "Not only that, but we're also going to make it a testing ground for trying out new beers," Gordon explained. "We're calling it Tank 21, because we've got Tanks 1 through 20 in our brewery in San Jose. This will be the 21st, and several experimental brews will be made available in Palo Alto."

COFFEE FOR A QUARTER ... Although it's hard to believe in this land of four-dollar lattes, the coffee bar at Whole Foods Market is offering a 12-ounce cup of brewed coffee for 25 cents until the end of September. It's part of the store's "Love Fest" national campaign. "We are looking forward to deepening our connections with customers and saying 'thank you' and 'we love you,' " said Whole Foods Market Executive VP of Operations David Lannon. Thanks for the cuppa, Whole Foods.

Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? Daryl Savage will check them out. Email

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2 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:23 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

Some texas style BBQ would a welcome addition to the area!

2 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2015 at 2:59 am

Ha, does anyone remember the Bijou theater.

2 people like this
Posted by sam
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 21, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Sounds good - smoked meats, lower prices, interesting beer. But I hope there will be some tables not communal and not a total noise din and food good enough for adults and not just for people so young they don't yet know what really good food is. In other words, not just another version of a sports bar. Palo Alto includes people over 30.

1 person likes this
Posted by Berry
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2015 at 3:05 pm

If you come with fake/artificially smoked meats you will loose. I want legit smoked meats and I want to see the smokers on site. Take note from Aptos BBQ/BBQ 152 and you will win. Three pigs in San Carlos is weak, they use artificial smoke flavoring when cooking the meats. The new place on cal ave is weak. You've been warned. Looking forward to it!

8 people like this
Posted by PM
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 21, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Why is Ms. Savage's mug so large in proportion to the column (and its importance?) It's just weird.

6 people like this
Posted by Agreed
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

To PM:
I agree! It hits me every time i open her column ... very large picture and bright colors, and it seems getting bigger every so often. It should be about 1.5" or so only.

Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 21, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Berry - If they could do something near as good as Aptos St, I would cry with joy, and there would be a line around the block.

1 person likes this
Posted by Iggy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 21, 2015 at 10:26 pm

FYI, Steve Sinchek has been smoking meats since before he bought The Old Pro. Harold at Lozano's on El Camino is still using his old converted fire truck smoker.

Like this comment
Posted by Barry
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 22, 2015 at 12:41 pm

There you go aspiring PA restaurateurs: Get me Aptos BBQ + Rose & Crown and you have a gold mine. I also want outdoor seating. And dogs. No smoking.

2 people like this
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm

I love the description someone used above of "Aptos BBQ + Rose & Crown". However, has anyone tried the food lately at Old Pro? It's pretty weak. Great sportsbar, but mediocre food. Not sure if that is a bad sign that the Old Pro guy is part of this I missing something?

Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 7, 2016 at 2:28 am

As of last week they are scheduled to reopen Monday, March 14.

Posted by yay!
a resident of Barron Park

on Mar 7, 2016 at 7:43 am

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.

Like this comment
Posted by MPdog
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

I went to an invitational soft open last night and was impressed. Third soft open night and the food was really good already. I had a bit of everything and the ribs really stood out. The brisket was good but needs refining. There were some very tender bits but other parts in the same slice were a bit dry. Hopefully they can sort that out over time. Really liked that sauce is served on the side for ribs and brisket. Never smother meat in sauce. 

I'm a bit of a BBQ snob based on having had outstanding brisket in Texas, and other excellent Q in the south as well as smoking my own at home. I know it's a pain to get right but I also know how amazing it is when done right. 

 But, most Californians have no idea how good great brisket is and if they eat here they will rave. It's good, but it can be much much better. 

Also worth noting. The fries are better than when GB corporate was running (ruining) the place. I know Dan Gordon prides himself on those and it shows. So good to have him back and involved. 

The smokey beans. Very nice. The sweet potatoes with bacon and brisket? Oh yah. And the prices listed on the menu were not ridiculous. 

The beers are thankfully back to being how they should be. All of the ones I tried were good. Regardless of your preference in beer style they were all spot on with no strange off flavors or inadequate carbonation. (A big problem in years past) The beers are coming from SJ for now but brewing on site will be moving forward. 

 Dan has brought in some other brews other than the traditional GB lagers and even though I'm a big lager fan both the pale ale and the IPA I tried were excellent.

Only down side is the list price of the beers. $7 a pint. Ouch. Hopefully there is a happy hour discount.  

So far so good. 

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