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Pacific sunset | © David Amsler/Flickr
Pacific sunset | © David Amsler/Flickr
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After 44 Years, Malibu Icon Gladstones Set To Close

Picture of Marnie Sehayek
Updated: 26 August 2016
Iconic seafood restaurant Gladstones is set to close after a 44-year tenure on a strip of prime Malibu coastline. After years of declining revenue and a facility that is ‘seriously deteriorated and outdated,’ the county Department of Beaches and Harbors, which operates Will Rogers State Beach, and the restaurant are content not to renew the 20-year lease when it expires in October 2017.

In an effort to attract a new long-term tenant on the land, some officials are interested in extending the lease period, currently a maximum of 20 years. In a motion to be considered by the Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said, ‘the department desires the successful bidder to construct an entirely new facility, which the department believes will require an agreement term of 40 or so years,’ The Daily Breeze reports.

Gladstones occupies a special and iconic bit of beachfront property at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. Over the years, it’s been an LA staple for its family-friendly atmosphere, prime sunset vantage point, and tinfoil creatures full of leftovers. Serving traditional seafood fare like clam chowder, steamed clams, and lobster tail, the restaurant used to be a high-grossing establishment since its founding in the ‘70s. After a scathing review in The Times in 2008, Gladstones partnered with Sam Nazarian and his company SBE (Katsuya, Bazaar at the SLS, and XIV) to revitalize and rebrand the restaurant. Unfortunately, it never quite bounced back.

Malibu, California in the early 1970s ©Flickr/ R.L.HUFFSTUTTER
Malibu, California in the early 1970s | ©Flickr/ R.L.HUFFSTUTTER

The restaurant is still taking reservations and will work with the city to remain open during this process, so you can still get your steamers, foil art, and peanuts for a while. A message on the restaurant website reads, ‘Despite what you may have heard throughout the media, at this present time, there is no set closure date for Gladstones Malibu.’ The restaurant will continue to take reservations and event inquiries.

A spokesperson for the County of Los Angeles told Eater LA, ‘The County is obligated to allow an open, competitive opportunity for a new lease. ANY operator – including the Gladstones group – may compete for the new lease.’ They also note that ‘The County had worked with Gladstones to assure that it may remain in business throughout this process, despite the eatery’s declining revenue.’