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Iconic San Francisco coastal diner may never reopen

Tom Hickox works at Louis' Restaurant at Point Lobos in San Francisco in 2018. | Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The future of an iconic San Francisco coastal diner is in doubt after its owners, the National Park Service, told The Standard it is not looking for a new vendor.

Renowned for its scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and Sutro Baths, Louis' Restaurant opened in 1937 and served diner food including omelettes, burgers and It's-It ice cream sandwiches, according to a menu on the restaurant's website.

Louis' Restaurant shuttered in 2020—much to the dismay of locals who expressed their woes over social media.

"While no solicitation process is currently underway for 902 Point Lobos Ave., we continue to maintain the building and evaluate its potential use for the future," National Parks Service spokesperson Julian Espinoza said in an email.

Louis' Restaurant on Point Lobos Avenue in San Francisco closed in 2020. | Google Street View

The service said it has found new restaurateurs to run the site previously occupied by the nearby Cliff House, but has not shared further details about the new venture.

"Louis' was a unique place to have breakfast," said San Francisco historian Woody LaBounty. "You could see the sun glinting off the water. It had a lot of what the Cliff House had, but the tourists didn't know about it. It was where the locals went."

Former Louis' owner Bill Hontalas said he was "dismayed" that there is no search for a new business to take over the space occupied by Louis' for decades.

"Our family operated Louis’ for 83 years in the same location at Point Lobos and we were dismayed to hear that there are no plans for the business to continue," Hontalas said in an email. "Louis’ was not a tourist spot but a place for locals to gather and enjoy the expansive views over coffee and conversation."