Closed Restaurants in Sausalito
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. See also Our List of Sausalito Retailers That Have Closed. 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.
More Sausalito stories for history buffs, courtesy of the legendary 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 that now houses Angelino. It was succeeded in the 1960’s by Rico’s.
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.
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. In the 1930s and 40s it was the cocktail lounge for Marco’s Hotel Sausalito. 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.
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!
Conglomeration Bar — After 1993 this building housed Gatsby’s for many years, then Sausalito Chop House, then Rustico, then Plate Shop, and now Fast Food Francais, which has survived the pandemic and finally broken the “post-Gatsby’s quick-failure curse” in this location.
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 — A crepes place (logical, huh) in the late 60’s and early 70’s in the spot now held by Fish and Chips.
Deck House — After the closure of Purity Market, Deck House took over the space as a restaurant. Succeeded by Houlihan’s, which lasted from 1980-1998, then became Water Street Grille. Upstairs in the building is now extensively remodeled and reopened as Barrel House. downstairs became Il Piccolo Caffe, (which closed after restricting pedestrian access to the public shore behind the building), and was converted to retail space.
Dexter — Charles Dexter ran a bar in Sausalito in the late 1800’s.
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.
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.
H. Salt Fish and Chips — After being acquired by Ice Cream entrepreneur Michael Lappert the franchise name was dropped and the shop became Fish and Chips of Sausalito, with a Lappert’s Ice Cream counter added. There’s also a separate Lappert’s Ice Cream shop down the street on Bridgeway and Lappert’s products are also sold at COA Chocolate, hence the occasional confusion about “the multiple Lappert’s shops.”
Haultheisen — John Haultheisen ran a restaurant in Sausalito in the late 1800s.
Harbor Grill — Became Saylor’s Landing, and after Sean Saylor consolidated his operations at Saylor’s the building went on to become Sausalito Seahorse. Not to be confused with the completely different building that housed the now-closed Harbor View Grill. You’ll be quizzed on all these terms next Wednesday.
Harbor View Grill — Closed in 2012 after a short run in the old Flynn’s Landing – Cat ‘N’ Fiddle space, now the home where Seafood Peddler relocated from San Rafael when its old home there was sold and became Terrapin Crossroads.
Houlihan’s — A centerpiece of downtown Sausalito from 1980-1998, became Water Street Grille. Upstairs is now Barrel House; downstairs was the now-closed Il Piccolo Caffe. This was one end of the famed “Houlihan’s to Houlihan’s 12K” race that ran between the two restaurants (in San Francisco and Sausalito) from 1984 through 2002. The race continues today as the “Across the Bay 12K” that runs from Fort Baker in Sausalito across the Golden Gate to San Francisco. Less well known were events like the 1980 beer drinking contest judged by the members of Jefferson Starship, a contest whose entrants included a St. Bernard dog. The building is the former home of the Purity Market (see bottom section below).
Il Piccolo Cafe — This Italian cafe adjacent to Yee Tock Chee Park was involved in a series of squabbles over who could sit at the tables in the free public-shore access areas that they colonized for outdoor seating to take advantage of the fantastic views. Regulators finally posted signs above the patio saying, “Anyone can sit here without buying something and it’s a public space,” with a phone number to report problems to the Bay Area coastal access enforcement office. The restaurant closed in 2016 after a ten-year run.
In the Kitchen — ITK was not by itself a restaurant but this cooking school provided the food for Wellington’s Wine Bar. Both businesses lost their lease when the building they shared was remodeled and became the home of Joinery. ITK moved to Emeryville, and we think that Sausalito should be offered Emeryville’s First Round Draft Pick in next year’s restaurant draft and a wine bat to be named later. Or Emeryville could just give us Pixar and we’d call it a day.
Jan’s — A lunch counter located inside the Rexall Drug Store at the corner of Bridgeway and El Portal in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s. The lunch counter faced through the front window of the store, so you could sit there and watch the world go by and enjoy what we now call Vina Del Mar Park, It was a popular meeting spot, and the standard meal was fresh salad, casserole of the day and a dessert. Jan’s was dressed up to appear in a scene in the 1949 noir movie Impact, starring Brian Donlevy.
Kench’s Restaurant — It may surprise you to know that 125 years ago Sausalito was already known for having fine European style restaurants. Located on Caledonia St., in the late 1880s and early 1890s, Kench’s was the successor to the highly respected Madame Rety’s French Restaurant, starting in 1887. Kench’s Restaurant closed in about 1895, and the structure was demolished in 1921.
Latitude 38 — In the early 1970’s this was an eating and drinking place in the old Village Fair shopping complex. I barely remember the place — anyone have any more than that to share with us?
Le Vivoir — A French restaurant at 801 Bridgeway in the northern half of the Casa Madrona Hotel (not to be confused with the current Poggio site in the southern wing that was the Village Fair shopping area), it was operated by the Deschamps family from the late 50s to the late 70s. Famous guests included Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Warren Beatty, and the members of Pink Floyd.
Lion’s Share — In 1968 this was a small folk and rock club at 100 Caledonia St., at the corner of Caledonia and Pine. The Grateful Dead played there at least once, as did other seminal local bands. The building burned down in 1969, and the club relocated to San Anselmo, where it lasted until 1974. A small office building now occupies the Sausalito location.
Louano — Joseph Louano ran a bar in Sausalito in the late 1800s.
Louie’s Deli — Popular deli in the Marinship area next door to Avatar’s, closed during the Covid pandemic shutdown of 2020 after the unexpected death of co-owner Maurice Franjieh, who ran the deli with his wife. Our prayers go out to his family. Even before the pandemic he told me about how the pervasive scaffolding and the drawn-out remodeling of the building had damaged his business because everyone thought they were closed. His death leaves a hole in the spirit of the Marinship, and we’ve lost a fixture in the neighborhood community.