Father’s Day is the day we pay thanks to the men who grin and bear it. It lacks the sentimentality of Mother’s Day, which over the years has hedged closer to some kind of perverse Valentine’s Day, with its flowers and red cards and unreasonable expectations for thanks. Father’s Day is none of that.

The day we pay homage to men—of varying shapes, hygiene and parenting ability—has been reduced to proffering yet another ugly tie, or another soon-to-be chipped coffee mug, or garish golf balls that have been personalized to say, “You should see my other set!”

No more.

Father’s Day should be a handshake and a meal that includes meat and cheese and a stiff drink—because dear lord does Dad need a drink.

With this in mind, we submit Oak & Rye, the Los Gatos-based pizzeria and cocktail lounge that delivers a nuts-and-bolts brunch with a side of gourmet.

If Oak & Rye doesn’t have the best chicken and waffles ($15) in the South Bay, served with a side of collard greens, it’s right near the top. And if it doesn’t have the best coffee cocktail ($8) in the South Bay—but it does with its sweet cream and Papa’s Pilar blonde rum—then Dad will just have to make do with a Bloody Mary ($8) or one of five different Boilermakers ($10-13). It’s his day and, yes, he can have a damn shot and a beer.

The simplicity of Oak & Rye’s brunch is its strength. In addition to the waffle and wings, the brunch menu features just three other options: delicious eggs benedict ($12), with its thick-sliced Nueske’s bacon, or two breakfast pizza variations—one of which also has that bacon and jalapenos.

The rest of the lunch menu closes the deal, with Scottie 2 Hottie ($17)—a favorite for its sopressatta, honey and pepperoncini oil—and the 5 Boroughs ($15), the closest thing to a pepperoni pizza with its Salametto Piccante. Meanwhile, the Young Cheezy ($14) gratefully satisfies vegetarian fathers, and charcuterie and fine cheese platters come 3 for $15 or 5 for $20. The arugula salad should be a requirement, served bright with strawberries, pistachios and the always lusty goat cheese ($9).

Oak & Rye’s design and artwork is sleek and urban, save for the sadistically awesome wooden wolf howling on the wall. And the bathrooms—well, the bathrooms are a trip. Where else can one find VHS tapes playing classics like Raising Arizona while washing up?

Dad needs a day. Just one. Make it simple and make it good. Or just have Brunch and tell Dad to mark his calendar for next year. He’s used to that.


Oak & Rye

303 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos. 408.395.4441.