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The California seafood chain is 47 years old for closing two Bay Area restaurants

The California seafood chain is 47 years old for closing two Bay Area restaurants

California’s longtime seafood chain, Fish Market is leaving the Bay Area. The company is closing its original 47-year-old restaurant in Palo Alto, as well as the San Mateo restaurant and south San Francisco fishery, Farallon, according to a letter from President Dwight Colton shared to website.

“The difficult decision to cease operations at these locations is due in part to changing market conditions, and other factors affecting Fish Market’s ability to continue to provide the high-quality seafood dining experience on which we have built our legacy,” Coulton wrote.

Colton also cited impending real estate development at the Palo Alto and San Mateo restaurants as the reason for the closure. The Palo Alto Fish Market is scheduled to close Sept. 13, and the San Mateo Fish Market is scheduled to close Sept. 20. The Farallon fishery is scheduled to close in September.

“Unfortunately, these projects had to be converted into high-density housing projects,” Colton told SFGATE. “We thought we would try to get out on our own terms. … We think it’s the fairest for our staff and guests.”

The founders of the California chain opened their first fish market—a seafood restaurant, bar, and oyster market—in Palo Alto in 1976. Soon after, they opened locations in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Jose (both Santa Clara and San Jose. San Jose closed sites in the wake of the pandemic). At its peak, Fish Market had a total of nine restaurants—all but one in California, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Now, only two fish markets remain, both in Southern California: one in Del Mar and one in San Diego.

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With the last two Bay Area restaurants winding down, Colton wrote in his post, both locations will offer “weekly specials of favorite menu items offered over the years as a tribute” for the month of August. There will also be a souvenir listing in September, followed by an online auction of memorabilia after closing.

After the announcement, Colton said the fish market had seen an outpouring of support from customers.

“On our Instagram and Facebook page, it was very positive,” he said. People share memories, such as, “I proposed to my wife at your restaurant,” or “I used to work there.” There’s also disbelief, like, “I can’t believe it’s closing after all these years.”

As the fish market prepares to exit the Bay Area, Colton said he feels grateful for his 47 years here.

“I really want to express our gratitude to the guests and all of the team, and the thousands of people over all these years who have chosen to work with us,” he said. “The Fish Market, like most restaurants, is a building. What makes a restaurant special are the people and the environment we create, and that is entirely down to our people over the years. They make the magic of the Fish Market happen.”

This story was updated at 2:30 PM, July 12, to include comments from Dwight Colton.