Many university campuses are surrounded by well-aged watering holes. For Stanford students present and past, and those of us hangers on and locals, there are several of note. There's the grand-daddy, Rosatti's housed in an 1850's roadhouse (with graffiti back to the founding) located in tony Portola Valley. The Dutch Goose and the Beer Garden in Menlo Park, the latter in a building recycled from a WWI training camp. And in our end of Palo Alto, there's long been the Old Pro, in a tatty WWII-era Quonset hut on El Camino Real. None of these are exactly haute cuisine, but if you go expecting beer, burgers and peanuts and fun you'll be happy. (And the clientele is broad enough that you'd better not talk deals without checking out the nearby tables.)
The sword of Damocles the developer has been hanging over the Old Pro for several years, in the form of a New! Office! Building! Real Soon Now! sign in the gravel lot next door. The Old Pro owners opened up the New Old Pro in the upscale end of town about the same time. Now the sword has fallen. Today I walked past on a lunchtime ramble to Fry's and back, and the old dump is gone. The scrap iron of the old Q-hut has been hauled away, and there's an excavator perched like a vulture on the rubble that was the concrete slab. I'm sure they'll put up something pretty in its place, but (along with the loss of the Rickey's), it sure feels like we're carting a lot of Valley history off to the recycling yard of late.