Known as much for its historical charm as its fresh seafood, steaks and dining over the water, Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill will reopen after being closed for more than four months. General Manager Derik Morse says that this has been a difficult time in the restaurant’s storied history. When the pandemic hit, they quickly closed the restaurant on March 16, and now plan to have a soft reopening on Thursday, July 30 and open for dinner on Friday, July 31. With only half of their staff returning, they are planning to open with a condensed menu Wednesdays through Sundays for dinner from 4 pm to 9 pm.
Bluewater didn’t stay open to offer take-out food, as many other restaurants did, because they felt their menu items are best served fresh from the kitchen, not via delayed delivery. Takeout meals are usually less than ten percent of their business.
Morse embraces the history of the building and misses giving tours upstairs in the Boathouse to customers. He knows guests will miss being inside the historic building, but is thrilled to create this new temporary “tent city” outside so they can open.
With a storied past starting in 1887 as a boathouse for The Del, the building has also been a bath house for The Del’s Tent City, a maritime research facility, event space, and the Chart House.
The pop up Bluewater Boathouse Tent City Grill will seat about 130 guests outside under 14 bright blue tents with solar lighting, and be reminiscent of the original Tent City. Guests will enter through a tent at the hostess stand and be escorted to an outdoor table where servers will share historical facts about the Boathouse and Tent City.
Throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, Morse and the restaurant group Bluewater Grill, which has eight other restaurants, have been watching the incremental restaurant openings, with the Coronado location being the last to open.
“The owners listened to staff regarding their safety concerns and made the decision to remain closed. They didn’t base it solely on financial decisions. They waited until the time was right, when staff and customers would feel safe and comfortable,” comments Morse.
Even though the restaurant has been closed, Morse and Manager Autumn Vaughn have come in multiple times a week to keep up with the required safety precautions. They had just gotten their large indoor dining space sanitized and organized for social distancing, ready to open, but then the County Health Order mandated only outdoor dining. Their current patios would have only accommodated only 37 guests, so Morse worked closely with the city to come up with the expanded Tent City dining experience on the front circle driveway to make opening viable.
Some of Bluewater’s most popular menu items include: Chipotle Swordfish, Fish and Chips, Top Sirloin, and Brick Chicken. Remember that crusty sourdough bread that arrived piping hot on the table? Unfortunately, the bread company went out of business, but they are working to secure a new purveyor. Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade and Captain’s Mai Tai are among their most popular libations.
As additional staff is hired, Bluewater Boathouse hopes to be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner soon. Calling for reservations is recommended at 619-435-0155.