Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Iconic Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant to close after 97 years

At nearly 100 years old, the landmark Sicilian seafood establishment Alioto’s Restaurant will permanently close its doors, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The institution has a rich, storied history in the famous port of San Francisco — and its closure marks the end of a family legacy.

Founded by Italian immigrant Nunzio Alioto in 1925 — and before it became known as a landmark seafood restaurant — Alioto’s was just a humble fish stand. Eventually, it moved into Stall No. 8 at Fisherman’s Wharf and sold lunch to Italian laborers, hence the illuminated No. 8 on the facade of the building. As business flourished in the 1930s, Alioto combined his fish stand with a seafood bar, selling shrimp and crab cocktails and fresh Dungeness crab. It was the very first building on the wharf.

Even after his death in 1933, his family members carried on the restaurant’s legacy: His surviving wife, Rose, stepped in, becoming the first businesswoman on Fisherman’s Wharf. Once she expanded the restaurant in 1938 and established it as a formal restaurant, it became Alioto’s, the institution that proudly served “the freshest seafood, family Italian recipes, and the finest views” for decades to come. It survived a devastating fire in 1957 and served soldiers in World War II, but it hasn’t been able to reopen its doors since March 2020.

Until the pandemic struck, it prepared traditional Sicilian seafood recipes, serving halibut, salmon and rich clam chowder along with petrale sole and swordfish.

“The loss of Alioto’s — a renowned Fisherman’s Wharf icon — is heartbreaking for the Port and the generations of San Franciscans and tourists that have enjoyed the Alioto’s dining experience,” Port of SF spokesperson Randy Quezada told SFist in a statement. “Their contribution to the Port and the city will not soon be forgotten.”

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