The Alpine Inn in Portola Valley is usually referred by locals as Zott's. The sign out front says The Alpine Inn formerly Rissotti’s. Whatever you call it, locals of all types enjoy eating there. In the fenced area outside on a recent sunny Sunday in March, it was filled with every type of person of every age. There were Harley riding bikers, a kid’s rugby team, hikers and bicyclists taking a break from rides through the green hills of spring.
The line was long inside the cozy old main room that houses the bar and the grill. Vintage beer posters hung on the ceiling. A bikini clad girl holding a Stroh’s. St. Pauli girl before she was redrawn with huge breasts. There were deer heads with hats hanging on the antlers. The line to order was long. The 15 minutes went fast as I spoke with my new friends in line. Everyone at Zott's seemed to be in a good mood.
After ordering, I grabbed a newspaper from the community pile of papers and books that was stacked on a picnic table. My name was called within a couple of minutes. I retrieved my double-cheeseburger ($7.25) with grilled onions (30 cents) and small fries ($2.75).
The burger was prepared from a stack of rectangular beef patties separated by paper stacked next to the grill. Small chunks of sweet grilled onion and American Cheese melted together on top of the patties. They sat on a crunchy roll that had been toasted. Fresh lettuce and tomato finished of the combo. It was a fabulous mess that satisfied my hunger after riding my bike the six miles to the restaurant.
The fries were old style crinkle fries that were lightly coated. They were crisp, but only warm. I didn’t really find them to my taste. But I usually don’t enjoy coated fries.
I enjoyed the sunny afternoon sitting at the picnic table next to the creek full of playing kids. Zott's is a great place for a burger on a sunny afternoon in Northern California.
Burger 3.5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 2 spatulas
3915 Alpine Road
Portola Valley, CA 94028
I grew up in Menlo Park and spent every Saturday afternoon of my formative years at the Alpine Inn. The owners kids lived next door to us. I'm glad to see nothing has changed, the burger pictured looks like the last one I had about 35 years ago. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Glad I could oblige. It is truly a special place in the community. SRK
Clarify the location by fixing the typo in your title from VA to CA. I live in VA and was thinking, "Where the heck is Portola Valley? I've never heard if it and have to go check out these burgers!"
Sorry about the type-o moving Zott's from CA to VA. I have fixed it. What are some good spots for burgers in Virginia?
Also, the original name was "Rosotti's" not "Risotti's."
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