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Waterfront Restaurant to Close Its Doors Saturday

Its last day in business at Pete's Harbor is the 23rd - but the owners say they are looking into a new location in downtown Redwood City.

Editor's Note: The owners of the Waterfront Restaurant say many news reports have falsely reported that their last day of business will be this Sunday, Dec. 23 - it is in fact this Saturday, Dec. 22.

One of Redwood City's most beloved local restaurants, the Waterfront Restaurant located at Pete's Harbor, will close its doors forever this Saturday, Dec. 22.

As many know, the owner of Pete's Harbor, Paula Uccelli - wife of the late Peter Uccelli, the harbor's namesake and founder - plans to shut down the harbor after the start of the new year, and hopes to sell to Colorado-based developer Pauls Corporation. The company has plans to build a 411-unit luxury waterfront community if the sale is approved by the City.

Due to those plans, all the tenants of Pete's Harbor have received eviction notices, asking them to vacate the harbor by Jan. 15 - all the tenants, including the Waterfront Restaurant.

Husband-and-wife team Jose and Dunia Rodriguez, who have owned the restaurant for nearly 11 years, say they have mixed feelings about being asked to leave.

"We want to stay," Jose told Patch on Tuesday. "But we understand wanting progress, so we understand the owner's position."

"It's not easy for us, but it's okay," Dunia said.

Jose and Dunia say, though they have to close their doors this Saturday, they hope to be opening new doors in early 2013. They have been shopping for a new location in downtown Redwood City, and they think they may have found a winner.

They hope to be able to announce their new address by the end of this week, and Jose said they plan to spend the holidays preparing their new location and starting to move in.

Jose said, much like the residents of Pete's Harbor, they were given an eviction date of Jan. 15, but he said closing before the holidays and starting their move will benefit them more in the long-run.

"We decided to move right away, to hopefully gain more time [and be able to re-open quicker]," Jose said.

The couple say, if all goes according to plan, they could possibly re-open before Valentine's Day early next year.

Jose explained that, once word began to spread that Paula Uccelli was planning to sell the harbor to Pauls Corporation, the restaurant started to lose bookings of banquets and other large events, which he says accounts for the majority of the restaurant's income.

"Without banquets, it's very hard for us to operate," Jose told Patch.

Jose said that, if they do move into a new space downtown, they most likely won't have room for the 200-people banquets the Waterfront Restaurant is known for, but they hope to at least keep some of the business from local service clubs who like to host their meetings at the restaurant.

Jose said the restaurant is only open for lunch this week, their last week in business.

As long-time customers have heard of their impending closure, Jose and Dunia said many have been stopping by to bid them farewell and enjoy one last meal by the water.

"A lot of old-timers and families have been coming by," he said. "There are a lot of generations of families with fond memories."

Dunia said, that is what she and her husband will miss most about the Waterfront - how many families have celebrated major milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations and the like witht them, in their banquet room. In fact, Dunia and Jose themselves celebrated their own 25th wedding anniversary at the restaurant not too long ago.

Dunia especially likes how the Waterfront has been a welcome place for the local Hispanic community, and she is glad so many of them have been stopping by to wish them luck.

Jose says, if they do re-open the restaurant downtown, they will most likely change their name since the restaurant will no longer be on the water, but they will still serve up much the same menu as before.

Patch will update this story with the new location of the restaurant if plans are finalized soon.

 

PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - Do you have fond memories of spending time at the Waterfront Restaurant? What will you miss about it? Will you visit if they re-open under a new name in 2013? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Reality Check December 19, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I tried it a couple times years ago. Very mediocre. I got the impression that if the place was ever great, it was many years in the past by that time. Out of curiosity, I just checked Yelp and this confirms it hasn't been a good restaurant for a very long time. See for yourself: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-waterfront-restaurant-redwood-city?sort_by=date_desc I predict if they reopen somewhere else in town, they're doomed unless they significantly step up their food and service. It seems many of those who go there now (and like it) do so out of either nostalgia or location/view reasons ... all of which will be gone if they reopen somewhere else. They will have to actually build/earn and maintain a new reputation strictly on their merits as a good, solid restaurant if they are to have any hope of surviving in a new location with a new name.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive December 19, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I have to agree with you, RC. It was pretty good about 20 years ago and I went there often, especially for the calamari sandwich. But even that is not as good as it was.
Antonio December 20, 2012 at 02:20 AM
I have enjoyed the Waterfront with many friends and clients. The food has been great every time I have gone and I wish them luck in their new business venture. I definitely will be looking for an update.
Monica Mendez December 20, 2012 at 03:10 AM
I have been to the Waterfront Restaurant many times before with my family. We have had the best of times there, including my fifteen birthday celebration. My family and myself have become very good friends with the restaurant owners, as well as the various staff members. The foods that we have tried throughout the years of going to the restaurant, have never failed to surprise us with their delicious and savory flavors. The service there has never failed to be on top of their game. I, as a customer and well known friend of the owners, wish them the best, in the next years to come, with all of their other projects. Thank you to the owners for the wonderful memories that my family and myself have had at your restaurant.
Bobby garcia December 20, 2012 at 07:24 AM
Place was doomed when my father who was part owner of restaurant sold his share after 26 years of hard work. I myself worked along side him for 14 years with my relatives, friends as part of the staff. Not the same since my dad left in 93, but I will have many fond memories of working there on weekends at the age of 9 and being treated like family from Pete and Paula.
Judy Bugarin December 21, 2012 at 03:50 AM
My family and I have been very happy customers for many years. We've always enjoyed the delicious selection of entrees including tender prime rib, fresh hsalmon and the best cioppino that I have ever had! We love their great service, family atmosphere and reasonable prices. We wish them the best of luck in their new location and will faithfully continue to visit their restaurant wherever they go!,
Gustavo Munguia December 21, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Gustavo Munguia My family and I will miss the waterfrom, for many years we had our sunday brekfast at the waterfront ,the food and service was excellent, and the view of the water was great. I am sorry to see them go!, wish them the best of luck, and will deffinelty go to their new locat ion, wherever they go...
Rodolfo Caceres December 21, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I have come to know and befriend the owners of the restaurant. I cannot bring myself to say anything negative about the restaurant, their staff, and the delicious foods. My family and I have been very happy with the staff service and with the various options of food that the restaurant has to offer. My favorites have been the outstanding and delicious clam chowder soup, the New York steak sandwich, and many more plates. I thank the owners for having open arms with my family and I. I truly appreciate the wonderful memories that they have allowed myself and family to have at their restaurant and with their presence. I wish them the best of luck in their future affairs.
Monica December 31, 2012 at 03:04 AM
I had my wedding there 3 years ago and will always have fond memories. The staff went out of their way to accommodate my requests for the wedding and were nothing but friendly and helpful to all the guests dring the reception. The food was great and it's definitely sad to see them close! Good luck in your new place

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