San Francisco’s historic Cliff House restaurant announces permanent closure

FILE – In this Oct. 9, 2013, file photo, is the Cliff House overlooking Seal Rocks in San Francisco. The iconic Cliff House restaurant that has served tourists and locals for more than a century from atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean is closing its doors at the end of the year. Dan and Mary Hountalas, the restaurant’s proprietors since 1973, said in a post Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, on the restaurant’s website they are closing Dec. 31 because of losses brought on by the pandemic and not being able to renew a long-term operating contract with the National Park Service. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)


San Francisco’s historic Cliff House restaurant announces permanent closure Monday. The restaurant, located on Ocean Beach is well known for its spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.

“It is with deep regret and heartbreak that we must inform you that The Cliff House will close permanently on December 31, 2020. Our 20-year concession contract expired on June 30, 2018; by that time, the National Park Service (NPS) should have selected an operator on a long-term basis to ensure the continued operation of this national treasure. Since then, the NPS has issued us one six-month contract and then two consecutive one-year concession contract extensions rather than proceed in a timely fashion with their responsibility to execute a new long-term contract or lease.” Said in a statement from Cliff House.

“Unlike the government which is not held accountable for profits and losses we could not accept the additional extension as there is no possibility of doing a sustainable level of business for the foreseeable future,” the Cliff House continued in the statement.

A fourth one-year extension was offered to Cliff House but they ultimately could not accept due to financial reasons. The Cliff House said it costs tens of thousands each month to maintain the building and the contract did not include any help from the NPS. The Cliff House’s 180 employees will be unemployed at the end of the year.

“We are seeking help in holding the NPS publicly responsible for their failures resulting in the loss of the livelihood of 180 employees and their families, as well as the loss of one of San Francisco’s treasured landmarks and the financial loss suffered by those of us local folks who did our best to stay true to this legacy.”

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