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Dinah's Shack

Original post made by Andrew L. Freedman, College Terrace, on Dec 5, 2006

I took this picture sometime before they closed. The Dinah's Coffee Shop by the Pool is still there, but Dinah's Shack has been replaced with a Trader Vic's.


Comments (15)

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Posted by photog
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2006 at 3:08 am

That's cool! Thanks for posting it.

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Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Green Acres
on May 15, 2007 at 4:09 am

This was such a GREAT PLACE, not only to eat but the atmosphere was irreplaceable..Too bad that this was not saved as an historical place....John Kennedy even frequented this abode and when they tore the place down, they sold the piece of beam that he had inscribed his name on... This building used to be situated WAY back off of El Camino quite a ways and as progress continued, the building was up to the roadway! Also, some of the original black metal boys statues still remain today..only the NAACP had them painted over years ago so they are white now...still located in the parking lot area. Bit of history for ya...

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Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of University South
on May 28, 2007 at 9:50 am

There never was better fried chicken and biscuits. Didn't they have a harpist there sometimes, like on Sundays?

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Posted by michael price
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

Phyllis Schlomovitz played the harp and it was a magical transformation to cozy comfort with the fried chicken dinners. I remember as a child in the early 60's feasting on Diana's fried chicken to go with honey and biscuits. Diana's Poolside Restaurant is my absolutely favorite breakfast atmosphere in Palo Alto.

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Posted by Debbie
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 29, 2007 at 11:50 pm

Dinah's was a great restaurant. I remember the harpist, who sat on a little platform at one corner of the buffet. The buffet was huge, with various types of salads, cheese, shrimp, always jello, and the hot entrees, which were usually beef burgandy with noodles. The only problem was that you couldn't have the buffet if you wanted the fried chicken, which was served as an entree! And the biscuits were incredible. There was an elderly waitress named Sally who was an institution; she was clearly too old to be there but families (including mine) always asked for her, and she usually had another waiter to help her with the orders and dishes. I think they had an auction of the contents before the demolition, which included the autographs on the wood posts but also all the artwork that was scattered through the place. And the owners of the restaurant and the hotel did not get along, and the restaurant owner bought a small strip of property adjoining the parking lot and built Tamarack Courts apartments, right smack in the middle of the hotel property. The hotel later bought the Tamarack Courts and remained it as Dinah's Court.

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Posted by Diane Bush
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 31, 2007 at 2:18 pm

I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, and recently bought what I think is a 1940's cotton square table cloth. It has "Dinah's Shack" in each corner and Dinah's picture.

Does any one know if this is a reproduction, or an original? There are no tags attached , such as a "made in China" or washing instructions. It seems to be in mint condition, except for a yellow stain that runs along a fold, where it could have been exposed to cigarette smoke.
At first I thought it was a made-up place, and was amazed to google
the name and find all this history! God bless google! Please e-mail me at , if you have more info.

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Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 2, 2008 at 7:05 am

Hi Diane,

I took the picture on the spur of the moment not knowing that it would be torn down. It was an institution to many here in Palo Alto. The Dinah’s Coffee Shop by the Pool and Hotel still operate (set back farther from where Dinah’s was).

There are a couple possibilities - maybe there's was another Dinah's or maybe it was this one in Palo Alto. Can you describe it more, e.g., was it red and white checker? There are folks reading this who may also recall Dinah's table cloths.

Dinah's, the hotel and Coffee Shop by the Pool, are still there. I wonder if there are any old timers working that would know about the table cloth.

I'll give them a call later on today and find out.

I responding by both your email online.

Andrew L. Freedman

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Posted by Ken Cesena
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Hi, I used to work at Dinah's poolside around 1977. The owners name is Bruce and waitress, Elvira, and I think the cook is still there too.
Ken Cesena

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Posted by PA History Buff
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 8, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Can you send it to the Palo Alto history project?
They can post on Web Link

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Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 9, 2008 at 9:07 am

Andrew L. Freedman is a registered user.

Good morning PA History Buff,

I will post it now. Glad you liked it. Over the years, I've taken many pictures of places in Palo Alto, not knowing that they might become history.

Talk with you later,


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Posted by JimCPI
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Does anybody know the history of the tower in front of Dinah's? I am a long time resident and I had heard at one time it was a radio transmission tower / antenna

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Posted by Drew Nomellini
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2009 at 8:28 pm

My Grandmother was a waitress for years at Dinahs. Her son Leo Nomellini (49ers) used to frequent there quite a bit.

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Posted by Palo Alto native
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm

My neighbor worked at Dinah's for years. I will ask her about the history of the tower in front.

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Posted by BP
a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

The Dinah's "tower" in 1960 had neon letters vertical spelling "DINAHS". I think Palo Alto passed a sign ordinance in the 60s (something about size and/or height) and they had to change the signage... but I guess they kept the tower. I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't stuck a cel site in there today, but I haven't been there to look at it recently.

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Posted by Kathy
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Gosh, Dinah's Shack brings back so many childhood memories. I sed to go there with my parents and my grandma on special occasions. I loved the biscuits and honey, I still love biscuits and honey but none compare to the ones at Dinah's.

My grandma always used to take me up to the smorgasbord with her. I remember the cold meats, and when I was a little older, I got to try the hot food on the smorgasbord too. And I, too, remember the harpist.

My grandmother and parents are now gone, so I cherish those good times at Dinah's.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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