Bayside Cafe spot in Morro Bay up for grabs

March 30, 2015

morro bayThe state of California may soon give the boot to the operators of a longtime restaurant situated in Morro Bay State Park.

Bayside Cafe has been operating under a contract that expired in 1993, according to a state parks news release. State parks plans to put the location of the restaurant up for bid.

On Thursday, state parks and the Morro Bay Harbor Advisory Board will jointly conduct a meeting in which they will take public input on possible uses for the facility. State parks officials wish to hear public input and ideas prior to preparing a request for proposals for a long-term contract to operate the location.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Morro Bay Veteran’s Hall. Those who would like further information about operations of the restaurant facility may contact state parks officials Brooke Gutierrez (805) 927-2065 and Vicky Waters (916) 653-5115.


The Harbor Board’s agenda is on the Morro Bay city website. In the package is a report, written by the State, discussing the Bayside situation. This report is from May of 2014. Why wasn’t this report on the agenda of the Harbor Board or the City Council for an open discussion with the citizens of Morro Bay. It appears that, once again, the ball has been dropped by this city council.


Good food! nice view, but whatever you do, don’t complain about your food or else. The Bayside will have a hard time finding supporters…it matters how you treat people!


Unfortunately, and as much as I’d like to, you can’t pin this one on the current “leaders” of the City of Morro Bay. This is a State Parks issue, and they’re the ones who will decide what direction they will go in regarding this property, hence this Thursday meeting for public input. Interestingly, if the property were to go up for bid, the City COULD submit a bid. Unfortunately, there are two obstacles with this: (1) The City has no money to bid with, and (2) As previously stated by many posters, the current City Council is not the most business-friendly group you’ll ever meet, I doubt they’d consider it even if they had the available funds.

Niles Q

The harbor department got the marina lease about 10 years ago from State Parks and subleases to Associated Pacific to operate the marina.

The intent was to put the lease payments aside to build up enough money to dredge and rebuild the entire marina. (this plan should still be on the city’s website in the document archives, maybe?)

They took all this time to get the environmental reviews, permits done and last year i think it was, they managed to get the marina entrance channel dug out. A million dollars-plus job

The rest of the marina under the boats has that sticky-gooey mud and is incompatible with the offshore dredge disposal site (sandy seafloor off the Sandspit) and will have to be trucked for off-site disposal.

The good news was that tests didn’t find any heavy metals or other contaminants in that mud, which could have pushed it into the hazardous materials disposal realm.

Still having to truck away the dredge spoils pushed the projected costs to something like $20+ million.

So the harbor department’s dog in this hunt is to see if the City Council wants to continue the arrangement and try and get phase 2 of the marina project done.

As for Bayside Cafe, the City has never had anything to do with it. State Parks kept the cafe, kayak rentals, and golf course concession payments for themselves.

They’ve since reached agreement with the County on the golf course and with the campground having been upgraded not so long ago, that state park is a money-maker.

The cafe pays something like $80,000 in rent a year, the golf course more like $150,000 minimum.

As for being without a new lease for 20+ years, I don’t think it’s unusual to be paced on month-to-month, though that is an extraordinarily long time.

That’s how business has bee done in this State. I’d bet that now, some by-the-book bureaucrat in Sacramento is just following the handbook for concessionaire deals.

They probably were shocked that no lease exists for this cafe and it hasn’t been put out to bids for all this time.

That building is so old, and while that’s a big part of its charm, I wonder about the electrical, gas, termites, etc… It caught fire a few years back, an electrical problem I think, or maybe a hood fire?

It has a wonderful location, ambiance and great food too. I truly hope the current owners can keep it.

The keys will be how much the rent gets jacked up and whatever improvements the State Parks wants done to get a new lease. I can’t see a new lease being granted without substantial investments being made.

The City’s formula on the Embarcadero is 10 years of lease for every $250,000 of upgrades made. Don’t know what State Parks requires.

But that could easily run the costs so high, that continuing on with that tiny little cafe would be hard to justify and that would truly be a tragedy.

I say, Save the Bayside Cafe!!!

Jorge Estrada

It’s very unfortunate that life as we know it here has to be changed into life as it is known somewhere else.


This current City Council main goal seems to be running business out of town and trying to justify a building moratorium in the long run.

Enough is enough. Call these people and let them know that you’re angry. They could care less about what all this means to the people who live here now and the ones who have lived here their whole lives.


MB residents need to organize and turn out in force. Unless or until you do, your city council will find a way to minimize your concerns. It happened to us in AG with Ferrara, Adams and Tim Carmel leading the good ‘ol boys club.

Stand up for yourselves- -no one else will. Be persistent. They will stick their fingers in their ears and sing ‘lalalalalalalalalala’ hoping you get tired / discouraged and go away.

We wish you luck and will be rooting for you!


Seems to me there’s a trend in running a restaurant when the City is your land lord.


The city of Morro Bay did this to the Whales tale restaurant. The Whales tail was in the same spot for over 30 years, then got the rug pulled out from under them when the city opened the lease & someone out bid them. They tried to re-open on Morro Bay Blv and never recovered. The people who outbid them went bust very quickly and has had several owners since. It seems that someone has their eyes on this location as it has been very successful. What prompted this revelation after 22 years? You can bet someone who had this inside information started the ball rolling. If you have ever dealt with the City of Morro Bay, its always who you know. It will be interesting to see which of the Embarcadero businesses wins this contract. Morro Bay eats it’s own for sport and only promotes Embarcadero businesses. Take your businesses elsewhere.


Perhaps the Bayside Cafe will move into the vacant-again Whale’s Tail building.


Or the Rose’s building. I think that’s for available, too.


Or the restaurant site in the Salt Building, I think that’s empty, too.