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The Fish Market is closing its San Mateo and Palo Alto locations

Uploaded: Jul 12, 2023
By Stephanie Gerson

The Fish Market's Famous Cioppino, prepared at their Palo Alto location. Photo by Sinead Chang.

After 47 years in operation, The Fish Market has announced the upcoming closure of its two locations on the Peninsula, in Palo Alto and San Mateo.

In a July 11 press release, The Fish Market cited “changing market conditions” and additional factors influencing the restaurants’ “ability to continue to provide the high-quality seafood experience they built their legacy on” as reasons for closing.

Additionally, The Fish Market’s Peninsula locations caught the attention of local developers as sites for new housing developments. Menlo Park-based developer Acclaim Companies issued a proposal for a seven-story residential complex with 380 apartments to be built on El Camino Real in Palo Alto where The Fish Market currently stands. Windy Hill Property Ventures applied to redevelop The Fish Market footprint in San Mateo, proposing 321 rental units with the possible addition of ground-floor retail and restaurants.

“With redevelopment imminent for both of the properties we currently lease, we have chosen to preserve the memory of our founders – and the memories created by millions of guests over the years – by closing in a fashion that upholds the restaurant’s original integrity and vision,” said Dwight Colton, president of The Fish Market, in a statement.

The Palo Alto location’s last day of operation will be Sep. 13, and San Mateo’s on Sep. 20. To honor its long-standing legacy in the Bay Area, The Fish Market will serve weekly specials of favorite menu items offered over the years throughout the month of August.
As a final farewell, a commemorative menu will be released in September with a public auction of Fish Market kitchen equipment and memorabilia to follow.

“Not only are we fully committed to supporting our staff through this transition process, we want to celebrate with and express gratitude to our guests at both locations before we bid farewell,” Colton said.

The Fish Market, 3150 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; 650-493-8862; 1855 South Norfolk St., San Mateo, 650-349-3474, Instagram: @thefishmarkets.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Delvin Williams, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jul 12, 2023 at 1:02 pm

Delvin Williams is a registered user.

We will miss both Fish Markets.

Too bad MacArthur Park isn't going out of business instead.

Posted by Roger, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jul 12, 2023 at 2:59 pm

Roger is a registered user.

I heard months ago that this closure was coming, but I am still upset. Another peninsula institution falls by the wayside. I eat at the Fish Market regularly for its high quality and reasonable prices. I know that there were some internal economic factors involved in their decision to close but I believe the biggest factor is the drive for more housing. The owners of that land and that of the McDonalds next-door are eager to sell to housing developers for a huge profits; housing seems to be the only valid use for city land these days. The City of Palo Alto is also culpable in the demise of these restaurants, as they were with the closure of the bowling alley, since they make the necessary zoning changes from commercial to housing use. And, though I don't eat at McDonalds, but I know a lot of people do, so where do they go now for an affordable lunch? New housing is fine but put it where the unused office builds are. The current residents are being forced to sacrifice by having fewer places to eat and fewer things to do.

Posted by Miranda Morales, a resident of Ventura,
on Jul 12, 2023 at 4:20 pm

Miranda Morales is a registered user.

"Too bad MacArthur Park isn't going out of business instead."

Palo Alto needs a McDonalds far more than it does an upscale MacArthur Park but I believe that particular property is protected by some kind of historical landmark statute.

If the ECR-based McDonald's is closed, there will be no fast food burgers within close proximity other than the Jack In the Box near California Avenue.

This would be a travesty because discriminating Jack In the Box customers often order their specialty burgers from Jack In the Box and then drive over to McDonald's where the french fries and Cokes are superior to to those at Jack In the Box.

One consideration might be to establish a McDonald's on California Avenue with both drive through and indoor seating.

Posted by Andrea Collins, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jul 13, 2023 at 11:14 am

Andrea Collins is a registered user.

This is a bad time for people who enjoy more Fish Market and no more Filet O Fish sandwich at McDonalds.

Posted by George Sand, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove,
on Jul 13, 2023 at 8:07 pm

George Sand is a registered user.

Makes me sad that the Fish Market is closing. Thank you Fish Market for all your beautiful meals, staff and owners and cooks, so homey, so Palo Alto. See you in August. I might be a little misty eyed. My old mom used to take me and now I'm old. Well, maybe I can take someone else.

Posted by Thoughtful, a resident of Atherton: other,
on Jul 14, 2023 at 9:29 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

The dining situation continues to deteriorate in Palo Alto due to rezoning and real estate. The Palo Alto city council should not be allowing this to the extent it is occurring. There used to be many nice restaurants along University Avenue or a block away. Spago, Coppola, and many others have closed. It really detracts from the quality of life.

Posted by KK, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 19, 2023 at 9:10 am

KK is a registered user.

Sad to see this venerable institution disappear - I have a number of happy memories eating there. At the same time, I'm gratified to see that it will likely be replaced something that is even needed more, higher-density housing ! As much as we see the peninsula as suburbia, it's really an urban area where much of the land has been constrained to R1 zoning and low density housing. That's a formula for stratospheric housing prices, homelessness and little future for many of young adults. Time to give up on the Silicon Valley of the 70's and 80's and move on to a better incarnation for today's needs.

Thirty percent of the American homeless population and 50 percent of its unsheltered population live in California, more than 170,000 people total. Homelessness is primarily a function of the broader housing-unaffordability crisis, which in turn is primarily a function of how difficult local governments have made building new housing in the places that need it the most.
Web Link

Posted by pogo, a resident of Woodside: other,
on Jul 19, 2023 at 11:14 am

pogo is a registered user.

Anyone care to recommend a similar, mid-range, sit-down, seafood restaurant with at-table service? Maybe, Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay? Are there others?

Yes, I like Cook's but it's not comparable to The Fish Market. As others have said, I'm sorry to see this place close!

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