Long-time San Rafael staple, will be shutting its doors in the Canal district at the end of the month. But, the music and food will go on thanks to Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh.
Under an agreement announced today, Lesh and his wife, Jill, will be purchasing the historic restaurant and turning it into an expanded version of his project that was previously proposed in Fairfax.
“It will no longer be the Seafood Peddler,” said Seafood Peddler General Manager Richard Mayfield. “We’ll be moving to another location in Marin.”
The arrangement will go into effect at the end of the month, but the Seafood Peddler’s new location hasn’t yet been determined said Mayfield.
For residents who followed the progression of the Terrapin Crossroads proposal in Fairfax, which was after , the plan for the Canal location looks very different.
According to updates on a newly-formed official Terrapin Crossroads website, the Canal location will feature a dining room with a scaled-down menu starting in February 2012. The dining room will serve sustainable, local food and will expand its menu as renovations continue throughout the year.
The proposal also includes a music venue, called The Grate Room, where performances and concerts will start in March 2012. According to the Terrapin Crossroads website, the shows will feature Phil Lesh & Friends, “Rambles” with guests artists, jazz shows, wine tastings and Sunday morning brunch music.
San Rafael Economic Development Coordinator Katie Korzun said the city received an application for the project today, Wednesday morning, Jan. 4.
Because the Seafood Peddler’s use permit allowed it a banquet room with music and entertainment, the application with the city for the Terrapin Crossroads project simply requests two main changes in the use permit: extending hours to 2 a.m. and changing the main entertainment from parties to concerts and live performances.
“It’s a fairly simple thing,” said Korzun about the application process. Because the application had only been received around 10 a.m., she said they were not sure yet if it would require a hearing process, but “probably not.” There is a stipulation in the Seafood Peddler’s use permit that allows changes like that to be made administratively by staff, but city staff is considering notifying some property owners in the area.
Proposed changes to the building right now include just minor remodeling and upgrades to the interior.
Korzun also noted that the application, filed by McDevitt Enterprise, LLC, does stipulate that there would be a “more substantial project later.”
The official statement from Lesh also makes references to further upgrades later in 2012. The music hall, The Grate Room, will be closed in the fall of 2012 for major renovations with a grand re-opening scheduled for March 2013. The dining room will also expand its hours and menu later in the year.
After the Leshes's proposed community music venue project in Fairfax died, they have been looking for another location in Marin. In their official statement on their website, Lesh said he was inspired to move into the Seafood Peddler location after thinking about rehearsal sessions with Bob Dylan at Club Front in the Canal district.
On his site, Lesh wrote:
I was recently re-reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, and Jill and I started reminiscing about the 1987 rehearsal sessions with Bob that took place at Club Front, the Grateful Dead San Rafael studio/boy’s club from the late seventies until the mid-nineties. We were having lunch in the area one afternoon and decided to take a drive by the old studio. While we were driving around we went by The Seafood Peddler restaurant, where Furthur did some rehearsal shows a couple years ago in their Palm Ballroom. We pulled into the rear parking lot and we saw a large painted Grateful Dead logo with the words Buckle Up Kids above it. We looked at each other and both had the same flash – that the Seafood Peddler had the foundation for us to realize our long-held dream of finding a place in Marin County to make music.
The new venue is scheduled to open in February with the Seafood Peddler closing at the end of the month. It may bring more people and business to the Canal district, Lesh hopes.
“It would be really welcomed in the area and really use the restaurant to its full capacity,” said Korzun. “I think it’d be a great idea.”
What do you think of the proposal?