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San Francisco’s Cliff House Restaurant to Close

The Cliff House restaurant, which first opened 157 years ago, announced Sunday that it will close permanently on Dec. 31, a victim both of the COVID-19 pandemic and delays by the National Park Service in reaching a long-term operating contract, the restaurant’s owners said.

The announcement of the permanent closure was posted Sunday by Cliff House’s longtime owners, Dan and Mary Hountalas, on the restaurant’s website. They said 180 employees will lose their jobs.

The Cliff House ended in-house dining in March due to the pandemic, offering only takeout service starting in early June. But they closed down completely in mid-July, saying the restaurant was losing too much money as a takeout-only operation.

“It costs tens of thousands of dollars every month to maintain and guard the massive Cliff House building,” the owners wrote.

The last long-term contract between the Cliff House and the National Park Service expired in June 2018, and the restaurant had been operating since then under a series of short-term contracts, the current one set to expire on Dec. 31.

The owners said Sunday that COVID-19 exacerbated their business difficulties, which they asserted started with the 2018 expiration of the last 20-year contract.

“The National Park Service should have selected an operator on a long-term basis to ensure the continued operation of this national treasure,” the Hountalases said in their statement Sunday.

—Bay City News

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