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The Cliff House is Closing Permanently…and it’s The National Park Service’s Fault

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Yet another true San Francisco legend is closing down permanently. As we reported back in July, The Cliff House shut down temporarily because continuing to do businesses during COVID wasn’t economically feasible. But now it seems they are permanently closing because their landlord, the Federal Government, is shaking them down.

A press release received yesterday from Dan and Mary Hountalas, the Cliff House’s proprietors since 1973, states that the National Park Service, who owns the building, is asking for unreasonable concessions in order for the Hountalas family business to continue occupying the space. According to the press release, the Hountalases have been running the Cliff House since 3 years before the NPS bought the building. Part of the deal is up keeping and maintaining the massive historical building, which costs “tens of thousands of dollars a month”. After their 20 year contract with the NPS was up in 2018, the Hountalases tried to renegotiate a new long-term contract, only to get be given  successive six month and one year extensions instead. Despite the decimation caused by the pandemic, the NPS has refused to be accommodating or understanding. As the press release states:

“The NPS offered us a fourth one-year extension to continue guarding and maintaining their building with all costs to be paid for by us without any compensation whatsoever from the NPS. Unlike the government which is not held accountable for profits and losses we could not accept the additional extension as there is no possibility of doing a sustainable level of business for the foreseeable future.”

And so the Cliff house must permanently close.

On top of San Francisco losing one of its iconic landmark restaurants, 180 people are permanently losing their jobs. This who thing is terrible.

Lisa Buckley who works at the Cliff House had this to say:

“I joined the Cliff House in 2004 and working there has been such a unique and wonderful experience, we are a tightknit quirky sf family with Dan and Mary’s incredible support. I have never worked anywhere in my 35 years in hospitality like it. We all were part of creating lasting memories for our guests, and have been told countless stories by visitors reflecting on times gone by that span over generations. Going to work everyday to my ‘corner office by the sea’ was a pleasure… hard to believe it will be gone.”

If you think this is as messed up as I do you can email the NPS directly by reaching out to:

Laura Joss –

The entire press release below for more context:


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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


  1. john e garrett
    December 17, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Damn Trump republicans.
    They should be thrown off the cliff and onto the rocks below.
    Evil creatures ??

  2. Roy Jordan
    December 17, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    Just sent an email to NPS supporting a bail-out for the Cliff House.