Past Sausalito Restaurants Closed or Renamed
This is the only comprehensive online list of old Sausalito restaurants from the City’s past… with some not-so-old ones as well! If you see any errors or omissions, please let us know.
This list reminds us that running a restaurant is a hard job and that we all should respect the people who do it. If a restaurant was operating as of 2008 it means we covered them here at OurSausalito.com, and we have left the old articles in place and linked to them below.
This video features more Sausalito stories for history buffs, courtesy of the late Phil Frank, whose statue stands in downtown Sausalito next to the Ice House Visitor Center
Alley Art Bar — Opened in 2011 as a small gallery and wine tasting room in an alley (660 Bridgeway, #5) near the intersection of Princess St. and Bridgeway, Alley Art Bar suffered from the familiar syndrome known as “close to Bridgeway is a tough location when you compete against places that are right on Bridgeway”. The space was later part of the now-closed Il Piccolo Caffe. They could not generate the same foot traffic as Bridgeway denizens Real Napa Wine Tasting one block south or tasting room cum art gallery Bacchus and Venus a long block to the north, and did not have the food offerings of the now-closed Wellington’s Wine Bar.
Amy’s Cafe — Closed in 2011 after two separate brief runs offering Japanese and Korean food in the old Peter Pan Donuts building at 1403 Bridgeway. As our Dining Editor Henry Stephens put it, this is the root of the “tragedy of Sausalito having no place to buy bubble tea.” The space is now the California Caviar Tasting Room, and the sociology and econ majors among us will probably have some interesting comments on the transition from selling donuts to selling caviar.
Antidote — Had a short life in the space at 201 Bridgeway that had been Chart House, then was succeeded by Gaylord India, now closed. Famous for its anti-gourmand chef-owner who would use chalk to scrawl his contempt for traditional cuisine on the cast iron fixtures in the kitchen.
Arawan Thai — Like some other restaurants on this list, Arawan Thai closed for over a year for repairs and remodeling after a fire and then stayed closed for almost two years. Unlike those other restaurants, since we launched this list of closed restaurants in 2008 they are the only business ever to be placed here and then reopen under the same ownership.
Arbordale — One of restaurateur Peter Alioto’s restaurants back in the 1960’s, opening with a hof brau format in 1962, in the spot that has been home to a series of art galleries at the corner of El Portal and Bridgeway. The Arbordale area of Sausalito — a now-forgotten term for the area near the ferry pier a century ago — was centered on Viña del Mar Park. Arbordale also went through a period when they served French cuisine. The restaurant was named after a prior eatery on the same spot that was operating n 1908, which was such an authentic German place that they featured a tile floor imported from Germany. Alioto restored the tile floor when he opened his version of Arbordale in 1962, and added ceiling beams salvaged from a mansion in Pacific Heights in San Francisco.
Barrow — George Barrow ran a restaurant in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
Bettancourt — Joseph Bettancourt ran a restaurant in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
Blue Fin Inn — 1950’s occupant of the building that houses Saylor’s.
Boathouse — Bar and club in the 70’s near what is now Bar Bocce.
Bridgeway Cafe — Located in the building built in the 1880s at the corner of Bridgeway (then Water St.) and Princess Street as Ryan’s Hotel, Bridgeway Cafe had a multi-decade run serving an audience that during the summer was largely made up of visitors. In the 60s and 70s the building was previously the site of The Kettle, a deli owned by prominent local beat artist Leo Krikorian . Bridgeway Cafe was a victim of the Covid-19 pandemic and closed in 2020.
Bridgeway Inn — In the 1940’s and 1950’s this restaurant and bar occupied the building at 621 Bridgeway that now houses Angelino. It was succeeded in the 1960’s by Rico’s and then the Jack London Restaurant and Bar, and in the 1970s by The Flying Fish Restaurant.
Burger King — The Burger King outlet in Marin City closed at the end of 2016 after a run of over ten years. When your community doesn’t support a local Burger King it says something about Sausalito, but I’ll leave it to you to speculate on the significance of this shortfall. The building is now the Marin City Starbucks.
Cafe Rio — Coffee Shop in the office building at 3030 Bridgeway, now closed.
Caffe Trieste — Changed its name to Taste of Rome in 2008.
Caffe Tutti — In the late 1800s this part of the building held the office of the Northwest Pacific Railroad, whose tracks ended at what is now the closest Sausalito ferry pier parking lot. Those tracks connected Sausalito ferry boats with San Rafael and the farmland in what is now The Wine Country and points north. The walls on the ground floor of this building have been moved aroun numerous times to subdivide the space into smaller shops or to combine it into larger ones. In the 1930s and 40s it was the cocktail lounge for Marco’s Hotel Sausalito. Then it because the Hotel Sausalito Coffee Shop in the late 1940s and 1950s, and Arbordale in the early 1960s. When the 2020 pandemic shut down the Hotel Sausalito and most service at the ferry landing, Caffe Tutti lost both its hotel referral customers and ferry passengers and closed.
Cantina — In 1965 this Mexican restaurant (which on some nights had Flamenco guitar and a Flamenco dancer named Margarita — no, I didn’t make that up), took over from The Gas Works Coffee House and Restaurant, and morphed into the legendary Lion’s Share (see below) in 1967. Owner and Chef Barbara Stone studied extensively in Mexico (no, I don’t know how to reconcile that with her offering Flamenco music from Spain, although Flamenco is an influence on Mexico’s Ballet Folklorico), and got rave reviews for her authentic cuisine. This is 20 years before authentic Mexican restaurants became more common in Marin, and even Ms. Stone could not stay in business then for long.
Caruso’s — Now Fish.
Charbonet — Joseph Charbonet ran a bar in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
Chart House — Operated for many years on the site of the old Valhalla, and after Chart House gave up the lease it became Antidote, then another short stint as Valhalla, then Gaylord India, now closed. After sitting empty for years, the building is now being gutted (there was a lot of rot after so many years by the water) and they’re converting the historic building into two luxury homes. This one is especially sad for me since we held company holiday dinners in their banquet room for several years when it was Chart House.
Cibo — After a ten-year run, Cibo was sold to the small local chain Equator Coffee in the summer of 2019 and they became Equator Sausalito. (Knowing what we know about the 2020-21 pandemic, this now appears to be a brilliant business move!) They still sell Cibo co-founder Tera Ancona’s fabulous pastries not only here in Sausalito, but throughout all of the San Francisco and Marin Equators. The same extended family also owns Angelino Restaurant, and you won’t be surprised to hear that Angelino also sells Tera Ancona’s pastries!
The Continental — The 1950’s and 1960’s name of the restaurant at the The Alta Mira Hotel.
Cork Enoteca — Wine Bar next door to the Fire Station — then the site of Philz Coffee and now the home of Firehouse Coffee and Tea.
Crepes Voila — Crepes Voila was a crepes place (logical, huh) in the late 60’s and early 70’s in the spot now held by Fish and Chips.
Dexter — Charles Dexter ran a bar in Sausalito in the late 1800’s. This past Sausalito restaurant closed over 125 years ago and should not be confused with the modern television serial killer.
Fast Food Francais, which after a long run recently renamed and reformatted as Zalta. 30 years ago it was Gatsby’s (where our family went once a week), then became Treviso, then Sausalito Chop House, then Rustico, then Plate Shop.
Fireside Hotel, Bar and Dining Room — The building with the big sign still exists on Shoreline Highway just north of the Buckeye Roadhouse, but it has been closed for years and most recently was upgraded and converted for apartments and accessible housing. The Fireside is actually in Mill Valley, but on all its marketing materials it referred to its location as Sausalito.
Francois Coffee House — Located in the Village Fair shopping complex in the 1970’s and 80’s, now a portion of the Casa Madrona Hotel.
Frank & Clara’s Cafe — In the 1960’s the storefronts were divided differently and this home-style lunch place at 216 Caledonia St. was sandwiched between present day Smitty’s Bar (which appears to have expanded into this space) and Sausalito Bright Cleaners.
Fukusuke — Moved to Larkspur, where they ironically are located next door to an outpost of Sausalito-based Avatar’s. Their old spot became the home of Rossetti Pizzeria, which relocated from San Anselmo in return for Sausalito’s 2nd round pick in the following year’s restaurant draft and a diner to be named later. Now the home of Sandrino.
Gas Works Coffee House and Restaurant — Located on the corner of Pine and Caledonia in 1963 in the heart of the “folk music expanding to overlap rock” era, across the street from the now-gone movie theatre. A couple of years later it became The Cantina and a couple of years after that became the legendary Lion’s Share club (see below), where both local bands and major stars like Bob Dylan and The Dead would perform.
Gate 5 Road — Became Saylor’s Landing, now Sausalito Seahorse.
Gatsby’s — The only modern restaurant to have more than a short run in this building on Caledonia St. prior to Fast Food Francais, with great deep dish pizza, a wood stove and a gracious Persian owner who looked (and walked) like Capt. Jean Luc Picard. If you were regulars like us (we lived just up the hill at the time) this was part of the fun of coming in and being welcomed by name and escorted to your favorite table near the wood stove. Became Treviso, then Sausalito Chop House, then Rustico, then Plate Shop, now Fast Food Francais. If anyone in Sausalito ever figures out how to re-create Gatsby’s deep dish pizza recipe we will be regular customers within 15 minutes.
Gaylord India — Part of a national chain of Indian restaurants that ran into economic trouble (not to mention trouble with the County Health Dept.), Gaylord’s was located in the old Valhalla and Chart House space. It closed in December, 2008, earning the dubious honor of being the first restaurant we covered on OurSausalito.com to go out of business.
Giovanni’s Pizza — Renamed Venice Pizzeria in 2012 to reflect their long-term shared ownership with next door neighbor Venice Gourmet Deli.