Editor's Note: The owners of the Waterfront Restaurant say many news reports have falsely reported that their last day of business will be this Sunday, Dec. 23 - it is in fact this Saturday, Dec. 22.
One of Redwood City's most beloved local restaurants, the Waterfront Restaurant located at Pete's Harbor, will close its doors forever this Saturday, Dec. 22.
As many know, the owner of Pete's Harbor, Paula Uccelli - wife of the late Peter Uccelli, the harbor's namesake and founder - plans to shut down the harbor after the start of the new year, and hopes to sell to Colorado-based developer Pauls Corporation. The company has plans to build a 411-unit luxury waterfront community if the sale is approved by the City.
Due to those plans, all the tenants of Pete's Harbor have received eviction notices, asking them to vacate the harbor by Jan. 15 - all the tenants, including the Waterfront Restaurant.
Husband-and-wife team Jose and Dunia Rodriguez, who have owned the restaurant for nearly 11 years, say they have mixed feelings about being asked to leave.
"We want to stay," Jose told Patch on Tuesday. "But we understand wanting progress, so we understand the owner's position."
"It's not easy for us, but it's okay," Dunia said.
Jose and Dunia say, though they have to close their doors this Saturday, they hope to be opening new doors in early 2013. They have been shopping for a new location in downtown Redwood City, and they think they may have found a winner.
They hope to be able to announce their new address by the end of this week, and Jose said they plan to spend the holidays preparing their new location and starting to move in.
Jose said, much like the residents of Pete's Harbor, they were given an eviction date of Jan. 15, but he said closing before the holidays and starting their move will benefit them more in the long-run.
"We decided to move right away, to hopefully gain more time [and be able to re-open quicker]," Jose said.
The couple say, if all goes according to plan, they could possibly re-open before Valentine's Day early next year.
Jose explained that, once word began to spread that Paula Uccelli was planning to sell the harbor to Pauls Corporation, the restaurant started to lose bookings of banquets and other large events, which he says accounts for the majority of the restaurant's income.
"Without banquets, it's very hard for us to operate," Jose told Patch.
Jose said that, if they do move into a new space downtown, they most likely won't have room for the 200-people banquets the Waterfront Restaurant is known for, but they hope to at least keep some of the business from local service clubs who like to host their meetings at the restaurant.
Jose said the restaurant is only open for lunch this week, their last week in business.
As long-time customers have heard of their impending closure, Jose and Dunia said many have been stopping by to bid them farewell and enjoy one last meal by the water.
"A lot of old-timers and families have been coming by," he said. "There are a lot of generations of families with fond memories."
Dunia said, that is what she and her husband will miss most about the Waterfront - how many families have celebrated major milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations and the like witht them, in their banquet room. In fact, Dunia and Jose themselves celebrated their own 25th wedding anniversary at the restaurant not too long ago.
Dunia especially likes how the Waterfront has been a welcome place for the local Hispanic community, and she is glad so many of them have been stopping by to wish them luck.
Jose says, if they do re-open the restaurant downtown, they will most likely change their name since the restaurant will no longer be on the water, but they will still serve up much the same menu as before.
Patch will update this story with the new location of the restaurant if plans are finalized soon.
PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - Do you have fond memories of spending time at the Waterfront Restaurant? What will you miss about it? Will you visit if they re-open under a new name in 2013? Tell us in the comments below.