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A new restaurant may open in Louis’ clifftop location in San Francisco

Louis' Restaurant served customers for 80 years at the edge of Lands End in San Francisco.| Scott Strazzante for the SF Chronicle via Getty Images

The location of longtime seaside diner Louis’ Restaurant may become the home of a new restaurant, according to the National Park Service, which owns the San Francisco building.

“The NPS is currently working toward a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the future for a tenant to occupy 902 Point Lobos Ave to operate a restaurant,” park service spokesperson Julian Espinoza said in an email.

The park service had previously said that there was no search process underway, but that it would “maintain the building and evaluate its potential use for the future.”

People walk past Louis' Restaurant on Feb. 17, 2023, located near Land's End. The diner shuttered in 2020. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

The service did not say when the request for proposal, a formal document asking for vendor bids, would be released. The service had a bidding process for the former Cliff House restaurant nearby, and has selected a new operator, but has not shared further details.

READ MORE: Cliff House To Reopen as New Mystery Restaurant This Year

Louis’ Restaurant closed in August 2020 after more than 80 years in business, just months before it was due to renew its lease. The months of closure due to Covid made it infeasible to stay open. 

Tom Hontalas, former co-owner of Louis’ Restaurant, stands outside the iconic 1930s coastal diner. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Whoever takes over the building will have to address needed repairs to the building, which has not been fully renovated in decades, Espinoza said.

Public documents say that while the building is in “good overall condition,” the building would not be up to current building code and would need even more modifications if the next restaurant there wanted to expand the space.

Laurie Thomas, head of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, said that renovation of professional kitchens can be very expensive.

“Once you get into plumbing and electrical, you can easily get to $100,000,” Thomas said. 

Tom Hontalas, former co-owner of Louis’ Restaurant, said that he was excited to see who ends up taking over.

“I wish them the best, and look forward to seeing what they’ll do with the place,” Hontalas said. “Maybe one day I’ll drop in. I don’t think I’ll say who I am, but I’d check it out.”

Garrett Leahy can be reached at garrett@sfstandard.com