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San Francisco’s historic Cliff Home restaurant to shut completely

SAN FRANCISCO – The Cliff House restaurant, which opened 157 years ago, announced on Sunday that the restaurant will permanently close on December 31st. This is both victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and, as the owners say, delays by the National Park Service in securing a long-term operating agreement with the restaurant.

The final closure announcement was posted on the restaurant’s website on Sunday by longtime owners of Cliff House, Dan and Mary Hountalas. They said 180 employees would lose their jobs.

Due to the pandemic, Cliff House ended eating indoors in March. After 10 weeks of only taking out restaurants, the restaurant was closed to guests due to the pandemic.

Operators said they tried to try a takeout-only service in early June, but after 10 weeks the service closed completely in mid-July as the restaurant lost too much money as a take-away-only operation.

The last long-term contract between the Cliff House and the National Park Service expired in June 2018, and the restaurant has since been operating under a series of short-term contracts, the current of which was due to expire on December 31st.

Owners said Sunday that COVID-19 exacerbated issues but that they were due to the expiration of the last 20-year contract in 2018.

“The National Park Service should have selected an operator in the long term to ensure the continued operation of this national treasure,” said the Hountalases in their statement on Sunday.

ABC7 News has requested a comment from the National Park Service but has not yet received a response.

ABC7 News contributed to this report.

PHOTOS: Inside San Francisco’s iconic Cliff House

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