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This Adored West Coast Restaurant is Closing after 157 Years

The owners say COVID-19 and a lease dispute are to blame.
Small business closing sign due to Covid-19 coronavirus

Customers have enjoyed the panoramic and picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean from the Cliff House restaurant since 1864. The local eatery has weathered world wars, the Great Depression, earthquakes, fires, and much more, but is now shutting its doors for good.

Unfortunately, the iconic San Francisco restaurant is closing on Dec. 31 due to adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a lease dispute. The couple who has operated the establishment since 1973 says the National Park Service, which acquired the land in 1977, has not offered another long-term lease like the one that the restaurant had until 2018. Since then, only one-year and six-month leases have been on the table, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (Related: The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.)

When the pandemic started in March, The Cliff House shut down until June. Once they reopened, the restaurant resorted to take-out only services over the summer, which lost the restaurant money. Not to mention, the high maintenance costs dealt an additional blow to the establishment's bottom line—locks, the heating system, and other parts of the building don't fare very well in the salty ocean air.

As of Dec. 14, the restaurant's website has been down, but news reports state the owners had posted a message about the closure while the site was still live, speculating on the future of the iconic spot and when customers may be able to get a bite with a view again.

"This is certainly not the way to thank us, a local small business owned and operated by native San Franciscans, for taking care of this San Francisco treasure this past year at a significant financial loss," the post reportedly read. "Realistically, we are looking at two to three years of a closed facility. And if there is insufficient maintenance done to keep it up, re-opening costs will be tremendous."

Unfortunately, this is just the latest in a series of independent restaurant closures that have taken place this year. Check out which state had more than 1 in 5 restaurants close this year.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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