SF's Cliff House restaurant reopens despite shutdown


Cliff house owners Dan and Mary Hountalas said they received word late Friday that they could officially reopen.

"We are delighted and thrilled that the Parks went to bat for us and after reviewing all the criteria, a final judgment was made that the Cliff House could reopen." Mary Hountalas said in a statement posted to the restaurant's website.

The Cliff House, a concessionaire for the National Park Service that sits on federal land, was forced to shut down last week along with all "non-essential" federal services because Congress failed to pass a budget by Oct. 1.

Local officials sought to get an exception to keep the restaurant operating, but were denied and the business joined other local concessionaires that are closed, including Alcatraz Cruises, which transports people to the famous penitentiary, and the Warming Hut at Crissy Field, National Park Service spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said.

The restaurant defied federal orders and reopened Monday and Tuesday, but was forced by the government to close again starting Wednesday.

The Hountalas said the restaurant, which is a popular tourist destination and wedding venue, employs 170 staff. The shutdown caused financial losses of approximately $10,000 per day, the couple estimates.

All national parks in the region have also closed because of the shutdown, including Muir Woods National Monument and Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Picavet said earlier this week that a total of 209 federal employees in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area have been furloughed as a result of the shutdown.

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