One of the Bay Area’s most legendary restaurants is also one of the most peculiar. Buck’s of Woodside is a traditional American diner restaurant with an extensive collection of artifacts including a giant “indomitable salmon,” model planes suspended from the ceiling, and a Statue of Liberty wearing a sombrero.
But what makes the restaurant even more unique is its role as a popular haunt for the techies of Silicon Valley, from venture capitalists to entrepreneurs. The collision of this powerful tech crowd with the likes of a kitschy hammerhead shark sculpture is nothing short of art.
The maximalist nature of Buck’s décor is mirrored in its hardy food selection, which delivers American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Try out their overflowing scrambles and buttermilk pancakes with a classic milkshake for an impressive breakfast spread, or wait for lunch to chow down on massive sandwiches, burgers, and salads. The dinner menu brings tuna melts, grilled salmon dishes, and mac n’ cheese, to be topped off with a banana and toffee hot fudge sundae for dessert. No matter what you choose from the American fever dream of a menu, Buck’s will deliver an expertly-cooked, indulgent spread with superb customer service all the way through.
Buck’s owner, Jamis MacNiven, opened the famous restaurant in 1991. Its proximity to Sand Hill Road in Woodside made it a popular destination for the Silicon Valley crowd, and by 1995 it was hosting tech titans from Netscape, PayPal, and Tesla. “You can let your guard down because we’re not serious,” MacNiven told SFGATE. “You’re sitting next to a baby at breakfast and pitching a $100 million deal. It’s real life. Often, we’re the first meeting on a deal. We’re the first-date place.”
Whether or not you’re intrigued by the prospect of seeing Elon Musk in the same room as a talking buffalo head, Buck’s is worth the trip for its crazy collection alone. Items include a Braille Playboy copy, a real flea circus, Willy the Lion’s hip bones, a 1976 Apple 1 computer in a stainless steel safe, a 300-piece collection of Cracker Jack prizes, one of Shaquille O’Neal’s shoes that sold for $20K, and countless others. MacNiven has been collecting these relics for decades, and the restaurant might be more aptly described as a fantastical museum that happens to serve kick-ass burgers.
Despite its high-profile crowd, Buck’s of Woodside has stayed humble throughout the years and prices are in line with your typical homestyle family diner. The restaurant is open 7 days a week from 8am-8:30pm, and until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. After a 30-minute drive from San Francisco, you’ll find it at 3062 Woodside Road in Woodside, California.