By Tim Hunt
A Main Street institution is shutteredUploaded: Mar 6, 2018
A Pleasanton institution closed last month when Dean’s Café shuttered its doors on Main Street after more than 60 years.
The closure came in the wake of a critical routine Feb. 6 inspection by the Alameda County Dept. of Health Services’ restaurant division. According to the department’s website, the inspector found four critical violations that required immediate correction. The health department website said that inspectors try to ensure that these violations are corrected before they leave the site.
The critical violations included vermin (for example, rats, mice or cockroaches), unsanitary surfaces and utensils for handing food) and washroom issues.
The four critical violations were among a total of 16 violations noted by the inspector on Feb. 6.
Dean’s was famed for its huge omlettes and the selection of more than 250 on its menu. It opened in the 1950s when Pleasanton had a population of about 3,000.
It was one of few breakfast and lunch spots downtown for years. I still recall the bankers at Community First National, the only local bank for years, strolling down Main Street for their coffee break before the branch opened at 10 a.m. Those were the days of bankers’ hours, open at 10 a.m., close at 3 p.m. and no such things as ATMs.
The eatery hung in as the options in Pleasanton expanded significantly over the years. Jim’s and Vic’s both come close to matching Dean’s in portion size and built loyal followings, while the Rising Loafer and the Café on Main filled another niche in the breakfast/lunch market.
The arrival of Bill’s in the former Zorn’s spot upped the competition.
Frankly, I frequent other downtown spots—Dean’s seemed to be reserved for breakfasts with former newspaper colleagues.
The competition is challenging in Pleasanton because it abounds in locally owned breakfast/lunch businesses.
When I was doing daily newspapering, my favorite spot was Sweet and Savory in Hacienda Business Park. Our office was where 24-Hour Fitness now is.
There were times I would conduct two or three consecutive coffee meetings there—the French roast was excellent and the staff never blinked at multiple refills.
And, when it came to food, the breakfast sandwiches were (and are) excellent as are the lunch choices.
The best big chain in town—although I have patronized it elsewhere, but not in Pleasanton—is Black Bear Diner. Another place of huge portions with a nice variety of offerings. It is the Johnny-come-lately to town, replacing an Indian restaurant that took over for what originally was an Italian-themed restaurant.