Coast Road Fine Dining

Gladstone’s in Malibu benefits from a makeover in both style and menu offerings, so reports an article from the Los Angeles Times.  “The Pacific Coast Highway location is Southern California’s highest-grossing independent restaurant, with annual revenue topping $14 million, according to Restaurants & Institutions, an industry trade journal. But sales and profits have slid in recent years as the restaurant has fallen victim to the recession and changing consumer tastes, (Richard) Riordan said.”

$14 million dollars?  That’s a lot of dining!  Gladstone’s location, “Where Sunset Boulevard meets Pacific Coast Highway,” might be part of the reason for its success.  On weekends, the Pacific Coast Highway, (and here I refer to the Coast Road in its entirety as PCH and California SR 1), is a dining destination for weekend wanderers wanting a sight for sore eyes and pleasing food and drink.

That $14 million dollar quote got my attention and I reflected on all the fine dining opportunities that I’ve enjoyed during my lifetime on the California coast.  I also think about the many times I’ve been stopped by tourists who ask, “Where’s a good place to eat around here?”  Fine dining in this post is not to be defined as expensive, formal and dressy, instead, “fine dining” is used as the qualifier to describe simply a good place to eat.

Gladstone’s covers the seafood standard for a weekend Coast Road dining excursion.  Other very good seafood eateries would be Las Brisas in Laguna Beach, Pelly’s Fish Market & Cafe in Carlsbad, the Crab Cooker in Newport Beach, and the walk-up window for fish & chips at Barbara’s Fish Trap in Princeton-by-the-Sea.

Non-seafood-based restaurants that are really good and do have seafood choices on their menu are Taco Temple in Morro Bay, Mezzaluna at Princeton-by-the-Sea, 955 Ukiah Street in Mendocino, and then, two reasons for a mere day trip to Big Sur, Nepenthe and Big Sur Bakery.

Worth your attention, is that each of these restaurants are independently-owned and operated.  No corporate restaurant chains on the California coast merit mention, and seldom exist, (because locals either petition to keep out franchise businesses and the few that obtain permits, rarely last long under the seasonal tourist buck and locals’ boycott), except the tasty old standard we enjoyed for prom dates, Chart House.  (I still love their warm dark brown bread.)

$14 million dollars though?  I doubt if any of the other wonderful eateries that I’ve listed above earn that much annually.  Maybe Nepenthe, but even then, it’s tough to compete with a coastal location like Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway.

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