After 167 years of the historic Alpine Inn roadhouse, nestled between Alpine Road and Los Trancos Creek in Portola Valley, Alpine Inn rebranded and reopened in August under new management.
Originally constructed in 1852 under the name “Casa de Tableta,” the building has been passed around to different owners through the years, eventually taking the name “Alpine Inn” in 1969. 1969 was a
lso the year that the building became historical landmark #825 because of its long history leading all the way back to “Casa de Tableta.”
Fast forward to 2018, Alpine Inn had just been put up for sale again and the Portola Valley community was worried that the tradition of the restaurant may not continue. However, three Portola Valley families, Deke and Lori Hunter, Fred and Stephanie Harman, and Jim Kohlberg went in on the purchase together and bought the building.
The renovation process for the 167 year old building was not easy. At first, the owners simply thought that the building needed a new coat of paint, but after stepping inside, they realized that the renovation would require much more than fresh paint. In an article written by The Almanac, Greg St. Claire of Avenir Restaurant Group, who led the renovation, said the kitchen was gutted and everything in the previous kitchen was “illegal, (it) needed upgrading, had no sink, (and) no grease tap.” In addition to the kitchen, a new hardwood floor was installed, new indoor and outdoor tabletops were put in, and a new bar was constructed. There were also many historical relics inside that Hunter restored, while also adding several other old artifacts from Stanford.
From the day it reopened, Alpine Inn has been wildly popular on every single day of the week. Jackson Basch, a Woodside resident who has eaten at Alpine Inn, said, “It’s been busy every night I’ve gone and is busy every time I drive past.” When I have gone, the parking lot and surrounding street in the middle of quiet Woodside is jammed packed with parked cars.
The residents of the Woodside area, like the owners, enjoy the long history of Casa de Tableta. The restaurant also offers a much wider variety of food on its menu than it did before, attracting all types of eaters. From pulled pork sandwiches to pizzas, to beet burrata, Alpine Inn has a unique menu that merges multiple different cuisines. Basch also commented, “the food style has changed, it seems to be fancier and less fast food looking. I think the food has been much better since they remodeled it.” Finally, the ambiance of Alpine Inn from the renovation makes for an uncommon eating experience. While the inside gives a warm feel, the huge outside patio creates an uptempo, fun feeling with live music, lots of picnic benches, and a huge wood-fired pizza oven.
Alpine Inn is open every day except Monday from 11:30 am to either 8, 9, or 10 pm depending on the day, and is well worth the visit.