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As first reported by The Restaurant Guy, Chuck’s Waterfront Grill and the Endless Summer restaurants are closing for good. The two restaurants, which opened in 1999, are anchors of the Santa Barbara Harbor, sitting adjacent to and above the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
They are owned and operated by Larry Stone, who opened the Chuck’s of Hawaii steakhouse on upper State Street in 1967, and Steve Hyslop, who started working at the original Chuck’s as a dishwasher in 1979. There’s no word yet on whether the original Chuck’s will be affected.
Both of the waterfront restaurants posted a notice to their Instagram pages on Thursday morning around 9 a.m. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce we have closed our doors for good,” reads the Chuck’s post. “Thank you for your constant support. The memories will never be forgotten.” The Endless Summer post says the same, but concludes, “It truly is the end of an incredible era.”
The closures leave a massive commercial real estate hole in the harbor.
Though it was presumed initially that the COVID-19 pandemic’s shutdown orders contributed to the closings, it turns out that a change has been in the works for a while. According to the City of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Department, Stone and Hyslop have been seeking to sell the businesses since August 2019. They found a buyer in February 2020: Aaron Petersen, who owns Chomp, The Coffee House by Chomp, and Brekkies by Chomp in Solvang, and co-owns Mortensen’s Danish Bakery, located in downtown Solvang.
According to a city report, Petersen initially planned to keep the Endless Summer and Chuck’s Waterfront in normal operation until the fall and then switch to his own concepts. For the former Endless Summer, Peterson is planning a traditional deli café serving sandwiches, soups, and salads with a grab-and-go component, as well as a small grocery store. At night, the upstairs would shift into a dinner menu with full bar.
Downstairs, in the former Chuck’s space, Petersen plans to open a restaurant like Chomp, featuring burgers, fries, and shakes that caters to families, young adults, and retirees. The design will be diner-like, with stools and a larger counter area.
Though the pandemic is not the cause of the changes, it does appear that the shutdown did stall the plans to maintain the original restaurants until the fall.
An email to Hyslop was not immediately returned, and the Independent is attempting to reach Petersen, as well. This report will be updated if more information is learned.
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