Rocky Point Restaurant in Escrow, Potential New Owner Planning an Overhaul
November 21, 2012
Plopped on its own Pacific-rimmed peninsula just down Highway 1 from Palo Colorado Road, Rocky Point Restaurant (624-2933) has long enjoyed one of the most storied settings between Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo, and a strong enough surf-and-turf—with pork and chicken on top of lobster and steak ($95 for two)—to be a splurge favorite.
Over the last few years, though, even as Big Sur has evolved into a full-blown foodie destination, South Coasters and local foodies alike have driven past more and more—or stopped by just for a drink with the view—because the food has trended towards formulaic and forgettable.
That's due in large part to the fact that the place has been on and off the market for upwards of a decade and a half.
So it comes as good news that a potential new owner has already been taking a closer look at the menu, the service and the infrastructure. The property is currently in the process of closing escrow, which could finalize as soon as early next month.
A new deck may be in the offing—but any substantive talk of upgrades would be premature, as all sorts of wrinkles, from ABC licenses to sale of the business, will need to be ironed out first.
Here's what does seem relatively certain, according to people close to the project, including local realtor John Kenny:
New owner Dr. Peter Wang hopes to restore the roadside destination to its former gourmand glory.
Wang is president and CEO of the Wang Foundation, a nonprofit that uses international bridge-building and service learning—often in collaboration with China—to fight poverty.
According to Kenny, beyond redeeming the place’s rep, Wang's priorities are taking care of the staff who work there, who will all be asked to reapply, as is required with the sale. Some staffers had been upset at word that secret shoppers had been evaluating their performance.
"He's most concerned with the history of Rocky Point and the people," Kenny says. "He wants to re-establish it to what it once was. He's really sensitive to the community, so I don't understand the [rumors] of secret shoppers."
Lee was brought on to help evaluate how to deal with outdated infrastructure that the county will likely flag for repair.
“I’ve opened enough spots that I’m the guy to come to to talk costs and building plans,” he says.