The Fish Market era is coming to a close in the Bay Area.
Almost 50 years after opening California’s first Fish Market restaurant in Palo Alto, then expanding throughout the South Bay and Peninsula, the company will shutter that original location and the San Mateo one, as well as its fishery operations based in South San Francisco.
The reason? Redevelopment is in the works for both properties, according to group’s president.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of our Palo Alto and San Mateo locations,” Dwight Colton, president of The Fish Market, said in a statement issued Tuesday evening. “For nearly five decades, we have remained committed to our founders’ mission of providing the highest-quality, freshest, expertly prepared seafood in a friendly atmosphere.
“However, with redevelopment imminent for both of the properties we currently lease, we have chosen to preserve the memory of our founders – and the memories created by millions of guests over the years – by closing in a fashion that upholds the
restaurant’s original integrity and vision.”
Both restaurants are scheduled to close sometime in September, allowing time for customers to make their final visits. In August, he said, the kitchens will feature weekly specials of favorite menu items offered over the decades as a tribute.
During the final days in September — no specific date was announced — a commemorative menu will be available as a farewell gift to guests.
At one point, the California-based chain had as many as nine locations. According to the website, the company’s founders launched the Fish Market in 1976, transforming a former pancake house on El Camino Real in Palo Alto into a seafood restaurant, market and oyster bar. That was followed in 1979 by the Santa Clara location, also on El Camino; that restaurant has closed. The San Mateo restaurant opened in 1982. The San Jose restaurant opened 15 years after that, in 1997, and closed during the pandemic.
Two Southern California Fish Market restaurants — in Del Mar and San Diego — will remain open and continue serving seafood classics as well as contemporary dishes such as a Nashville Hot Halibut Sandwich, Ahi Poke Bowl and Fish & Shrimp Yellow Curry.
“We want to thank our loyal, Northern California guests for their support over the years,” Colton wrote. “Most of all, we’d like to thank our team members, past and present. They are the true heart of our restaurants and we owe our accomplishments over the last 47 years to them.”
This is a developing story; please return for updates.