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Visitors hopeful for Dolphin Restaurant to return to the Santa Cruz Wharf

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- After more than 60 years on the Santa Cruz Wharf, a seafood staple will be demolished within the year.

On Tuesday, the City of Santa Cruz confirmed that they will need to demolish the Dolphin Restaurant in order to begin intermittent repairs to the wharf which was damaged in the February 2024 storms.

Parks and Recreation of Santa Cruz said the demolish date remains to be determined, but is likely set for this Fall or early Winter.

Many frequent visitors are saddened by the news of the closure.

“I think it’s sad to lose such a unique restaurant and such a unique location, Carrine Vidas from San Jose said. "There’s no place like it to be right out in the middle of the ocean."

The general manager of the Dolphin restaurant, Lance Haggard, talked about their plans following the demolition of the restaurant. He said, “before anything can be rebuilt the wharf has to be repaired. After that we hope the city allows us to rebuild.”

Many people are hoping the city allows them to return to this location

“I think it’s a big loss, I mean it, it was the go to restaurant at the end of the wharf," Drew from San Rafael said. "Anything beyond that, was just fisherman and it was a fun place to go."

The restaurant's immediate plans after demolishing is to clear out the building, sell and donate what they can and get rid of everything else.

The City of Santa Cruz confirmed that they will do temporary stabilization work at the end of the wharf within the next few weeks. Leading some people to find an alternative restaurant to eat at till then.

“We come out here to go to the Dolphin restaurant, it’s our go to and it’s a big letdown, even though we have an alternative restaurant to eat at," Craig from San Rafael said. "We knew the people there, we knew everybody that owned it and it was our regular go to so we’re very sad about it.” 

Haggard told us they will be working with the city to establish an alternative route. They might add a food trailer on the wharf. Until then, it’s up to the city.

We did reach out to the Dolphin's owner about the impending demolition, he tells us it's a sensitive subject and didn't want to speak on camera. 

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Briana Mathaw


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