The City Council will consider spending $40,000 on an environmental study Wednesday in relation to a waterfront restaurant being proposed by an outside partnership. Tony LoForte, owner of Zio Fraedo’s in Pleasant Hill, and Dino Gerosolimo, who owns Dino’s in Walnut Creek, since last April have pursued approval to construct a new restaurant on the site of the former Albatross, near the marina.
This decision will be made at a special "neighborhood meeting" at the Senior Center. This should be a fun meeting. No TV cameras will be rolling for this one, folks.
Here are some thoughts that come to mind about this plan. Add your own in the comments.
- If the menu offers “fish freshly caught from Carquinez Strait,” order the Cobb Salad instead.
- Thanks to global warming and the subsequent melting of the polar ice caps, this restaurant may wind up sitting in the middle of the river, with access only by kayak, or, for special occasions, a gondola.
- To begin construction of the restaurant, all the applicants have to do is win approvals from federal, state, regional and local government agencies. What could possibly go wrong?
- The parking lot for the restaurant is already in place. That would be an amenity but for the fact that it regularly winds up under water during rain and high tides. On those days, the restaurant could offer special deals to the owners of those giant-tired off-road trucks who aren’t afraid to go on a date wearing waders.
- The applicants have said they intend to open an upscale, cloth napkin eatery, to draw diners from far and wide. That sounds great. So did the plan to put a similar restaurant into 610 Court St., until the developer of that project bought the building and then said an upscale restaurant just wouldn’t pencil out. Anyone for fries and a Diet Coke?
- If this restaurant gets built, rest assured it will have a back room, which means politicians, judges and business people will once again have a place to gather and make deals in downtown Martinez, just like in the good old days of Paul's and Armato's. Maybe they could install a smoke machine, just to get the right ambiance.
- The odds are very good that the city will try and extract a few million from the applicants toward the construction of that elusive railroad overcrossing we’ve heard so much about for so many years. This suggestion will likely lead to language not fit for sensitive ears from the aforementioned Mr. LoForte.
- While there has been a loud clamor for a new restaurant on the waterfront, rest assured that it draw some pretty fierce opposition from a variety of the populace for a variety of reasons. This is, after all, Martinez.
- Any clause that puts the city in charge of running the restaurant in case the owner backs out should be strictly avoided. Why? Two words—Martinez Marina.
- Part of the fun of eating at this new establishment could be watching boats trying to leave the marina at low tide.
- Hopefully the smells that emanate from the dock at low tide will not be part of the dining experience at the restaurant.
- An Italian-themed seafood restaurant in that particular location would be extremely appropriate, given the rich history and heritage of the once-mighty Italian fishing community that helped shape the soul of this city from the turn of the 20th Century to the 1950s.
- A restaurant on the site would be a far cry better for everybody than the lavish casino (then mayor, now councilmember) Mike Menesini once proposed there in the 1980s.