It’s back and better than ever. After a three year hiatus, the popular Dads and Grads event at The Hut returned to its home just off the Santa Clara University (SCU) campus.
Just before 6 a.m. on June 15, a line stretched from the door of newly reopened restaurant and bar, with graduates and their parents excited to say they took part in a long-standing tradition.
“We had an opening party here 10 days ago and it’s awesome. Food’s great, that’s a new addition and all the new beers on tap. It’s great,” said Jim Murphy, Class of ’81. He was there to celebrate the graduation of his twin sons Brian and Chris.
David Denison didn’t go to SCU, but he knew it was a tradition he couldn’t miss when his son Wesley told him about it.
“I quickly brought myself up to speed as far as the history,” said Denison. “I’m here to do a couple of shots with my son for his graduation.”
“I’ve got a friend who went to Santa Clara…and he says, ‘Oh, you got to go to The Hut. You got to go to The Hut.’ And then I finally tell him, ‘No, I think the place is closed.’ And he’s like, ‘Aw, that’s too bad because it was really great.’ And he went on and on and then it opened,” said John Walker, who traveled from Texas to attend his son Liam’s graduation.
The grand reopening of The Hut happened just a few days earlier on June 10, but word spread quickly. That’s in part because new owners Tim Long and his wife Claranne Ravizza-Long, along with their partners Casey and Kathy O’Connor, have close ties with the University. Their sons played on SCU’s baseball team together and Claranne’s family tree is filled with SCU alumni, including herself.
“We wanted to be ready for graduation; that was our goal,” said Tim Long. “It’s something I think the area needed, just from a community standpoint. People who live [nearby can] walk to a nice comfortable place and get a meal.”
So far, the response has been positive.
“People have been really excited. Every night it’s been really nice. I think the only complaint is that we’re not open late enough,” said restaurant manager and Long’s daughter Jenna Johnson with a laugh.
Johnson says the development of The Hut has really been a team effort.
“Both the owner and our head chef Jackson Shaw have experience with a smoker and smoking tri tip and chicken. We took recipes they had and elevated them a little bit and kind of put a Northern California spin on it,” said Johnson. “[Casey] owns a few bars down in [San Luis Obispo], so he kind of knows the [beers] that are good foundation, kind of crowd pleasers.”
In addition to the crowd pleaser beers, Johnson makes sure The Hut is stocked with beers from local breweries like Almanac, Fieldwork and North Coast, which was started by a Santa Clara alumnus.
The Hut is open Sunday-Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday from 4 p.m. to Midnight. It’s located at 3200 The Alameda, on the north side of the campus.