Home » What occurred to 49ers legend Dwight Clark’s restaurant

What occurred to 49ers legend Dwight Clark’s restaurant

The very first thing you see after a cursory web seek for Clark’s by the…

The very first thing you see after a cursory web seek for Clark’s by the Bay, the previous restaurant of late San Francisco 49ers receiver Dwight Clark, is a discussion board publish on Yelp asking if anybody else remembers the Redwood Metropolis institution.

The query is sensible, as Clark’s by the Bay closed greater than 25 years in the past and, as a number of commenters within the thread observe, was in a tucked-away space that will have hindered a number of the enterprise’s potential success.

The restaurant was certainly actual, although opinions on it have been various. Some fondly recalled going there with their households once they have been youthful or assembly Clark himself and getting his autograph. Others remembered a less-than-stellar location alongside meals that didn’t precisely stand out.

The menu cowl at Dwight Clark’s restaurant, Clarks By The Bay, situated in Redwood Metropolis.


Picture courtesy of Kjirsten Tuohy

A t-shirt commemorating Clark's By the Bay.

A t-shirt commemorating Clark’s By the Bay.


Picture courtesy of Kjirsten Tuohy

Commemorative pins that were given  to Clark's restaurant workers based on years of service

Commemorative pins that got  to Clark’s restaurant employees based mostly on years of service


Picture courtesy of Chang Cho


The duvet of the menu at Clark’s by the Bay, left; a T-shirt for Clark’s by the Bay, higher proper; and commemorative pins that got to employees based mostly on years of service. / Pictures courtesy of Kjirsten Tuohy, James Leonard and Chang Cho

Tim Harrison, proprietor of famed Niners sports activities bar Canyon Inn, remembers that the restaurant began out as an thought, and a dangerous one. He really discouraged Clark, whom he had identified since 1981, from pursuing the enterprise at first as a result of he knew how robust the trade is.

“My preliminary response was for him to take all the cash that he would spend on the restaurant and put it in a paper bag. After which, as he’s driving over the San Mateo bridge, roll the window down and throw it, after which that’s probably the most cash he’s going to lose,” he stated, chuckling. “I used to be form of joking, however not likely.”

Clark might have heard Harrison’s warning, however he actually didn’t take heed to it. His thought developed increasingly, getting the best folks and cash concerned, till Clark’s by the Bay formally opened to a gaggle of esteemed visitors on Dec. 7, 1987, simply a few months earlier than his NFL retirement, with a gap to most of the people scheduled for the next night.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s write-up of the night detailed a enterprise that had the monetary backing of the best folks and a menu that Clark and his spouse, Ashley, had personally taste-tested themselves. The previous wideout was introduced as somebody who broke the now-archaic stereotype of an expert athlete squandering their cash on extreme luxuries, with Clark as an alternative utilizing his earnings towards an funding that will maintain him in part of the nation he had turn into enamored with. 

A present-day view of the building in Redwood City that once housed Dwight Clark's restaurant, Clark's by the Bay.

A gift-day view of the constructing in Redwood Metropolis that when housed Dwight Clark’s restaurant, Clark’s by the Bay.

Picture by way of Google Road View

The Chronicle described the indoor decor as “California Comfortable,” with pure oak and tiles that have been beige, brown-and-cream and peach. The article even teased that the partitions would ultimately be adorned with sports activities memorabilia from Clark’s taking part in profession, together with the ball from “The Catch.” Ultimately, that grew to incorporate autographed pictures despatched to Clark by well-known sports activities figures, akin to Lou Holtz, a former employee stated.

On prime of that, the restaurant’s celeb proprietor made common appearances to actively work on the eatery — versus simply displaying up for vainness’s sake. “He’s decided to study the enterprise,” the Chronicle reported when it opened.

The evaluation didn’t point out how the upstairs eating space was steadily reserved for particular visitors on most nights, sometimes teammates or workers members of the 49ers, Harrison stated. It was an space Harrison was typically invited to due to the connection he had with gamers after his bar steadily fed them throughout their first Tremendous Bowl run. The one a part of the Chronicle’s article that didn’t age effectively was the then-30-year-old Clark proclaiming, “Sports activities bars are fads. They don’t final.”

San Francisco 49ers wideout Dwight Clark goes up in the air in the end zone for the game-tying touchdown pass from Joe Montana, famously known as the "The Catch," that would defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC championship game.

San Francisco 49ers wideout Dwight Clark goes up within the air ultimately zone for the game-tying landing cross from Joe Montana, famously often called the “The Catch,” that will defeat the Dallas Cowboys within the 1981 NFC championship recreation.

Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

Nonetheless, because the publishing coverage for the Chronicle on the time appeared harking back to Newton’s third legislation of movement — for each motion, there’s an equal and reverse response — that puff piece was rapidly adopted up with a harsh, and notoriously sexy, evaluation.

In a evaluation titled “Soccer Hero’s Diner Fumbles within the Kitchen,” Patricia Unterman rated the restaurant a 0 out of three stars. The singular plus was the possibility to speak to a Bay Space sports activities hero. The minus was merely “the meals.” What actually caught the eye of readers was the beginning of the fourth paragraph.

Dwight Clark poses for a photo with young Redwood City resident and 49ers fan James Leonard, who often got to go to Clark's By the Bay whenever he got a good report card at school. 

Dwight Clark poses for a photograph with younger Redwood Metropolis resident and 49ers fan James Leonard, who typically bought to go to Clark’s By the Bay at any time when he bought a very good report card in school. 

Photograph courtesy of James Leonard

“After which it occurs,” the evaluation reads. “Dwight Clark reveals up. He’s there speaking to that enormous desk of followers. All eyes flip. He’s cute, tall, slender and has a terrific rear finish in pale blue denims.”

It didn’t matter Unterman used the remainder of the paragraph to reward Clark for the truth that he was within the trenches — busing tables, taking out the trash, apologizing to potential patrons for lengthy wait instances — on a busy night that will make any veteran of the service trade recoil studying about. Readers decided that the critic went method too far in ogling a neighborhood sports activities determine whereas he was attempting to run a restaurant.  

The following day’s Letters to the Editor web page, headlined “Assessment the Rump Roast, Not the Rump,” highlighted a few of these pissed off readers. “Are you severe? Or did your hormones take management of your thoughts? I imply actually!!!” started one from Patrice Hughes of San Francisco. Lila Fitzgerald of San Leandro stated Unterman did “an unimaginable disservice to ladies.” Even Clark’s by the Bay managing basic companion Paul Bouchard wrote in to name the remarks “callous (and sexist).”

Dwight Clark greets diners at his restaurant, including Kjirsten Tuohy (who was celebrating her 30th birthday) at his Redwood City restaurant.

Dwight Clark greets diners at his restaurant, together with Kjirsten Tuohy (who was celebrating her thirtieth birthday) at his Redwood Metropolis restaurant.


Picture courtesy of Kjirsten Tuohy

At his restaurant, Clark's By The Bay, the 49er's legend would often make the rounds greeting patrons in the dining room.

At his restaurant, Clark’s By The Bay, the 49er’s legend would typically make the rounds greeting patrons within the eating room.


Picture courtesy of Kjirsten Tuohy


At left, Dwight Clark greets diners, together with Kjirsten Tuohy (who was celebrating her twentieth birthday) at his Redwood Metropolis restaurant. / Photographs courtesy of Kjirsten Tuohy

(For the file, Unterman did defend her evaluation on that very same web page, saying she would have stated one thing comparable about actress Liz Taylor’s physique if she selected to open up a restaurant and that the attraction of a star’s restaurant is, effectively, the celeb. “Sexiness is a part of leisure,” she wrote earlier than once more complimenting Clark’s bodily look.)


Bouchard was defending not solely the integrity of Clark’s rear but in addition the restaurant’s integrity. Even these with no monetary curiosity within the restaurant wrote in to do the identical. One reader, Rebecca Rhyner from Turlock, accused Unterman of being unable to deal with Clark’s by the Bay’s success, whereas one other, Sue Conley of Yosemite, wrote, “No restaurant is ready for scrutiny at two months,” earlier than imploring the reviewer to provide Clark’s one other likelihood and for her to not write any extra “snicker items.”

Clark’s by the Bay survived the evaluation and the leering for practically a decade till it was offered in 1996. Since then, the constructing the place the restaurant as soon as lived has had a busy previous couple of many years. What’s identified for sure is that after it left the possession of the Niners wideout, it grew to become a restaurant specializing in “Italian consolation meals” known as La Rotonda Sul Mare.

Joe Montana talks to Dwight Clark prior to player introductions before the start of Super Bowl 19 against the Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium on January 20, 1985. The 49ers defeated the Dolphins 38-16. 

Joe Montana talks to Dwight Clark previous to participant introductions earlier than the beginning of Tremendous Bowl 19 towards the Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium on January 20, 1985. The 49ers defeated the Dolphins 38-16. 

George Gojkovich/Getty Photographs

A evaluation from Palo Alto On-line famous that the parts have been smaller, and the menus extra “Italian-accented,” than every was at Clark’s. The reviewer, whereas making observe of less-than-stellar service — the waiter was 0-for-3 on handing entrees to the best particular person on the desk, for instance — stated the meals was “scrumptious” regardless of sure “inconsistencies.” That institution didn’t survive an excessive amount of longer after that evaluation. By 1998, publications have been referring to it as “the now-shuttered La Rotonda Sul Mare.”

From there, it’s form of tough to piece collectively what that location grew to become. The Higher Enterprise Bureau says Bella by the Bay, an Italian seafood restaurant, opened up in that location initially of 1998. The restaurant’s signal remains to be seen on the road view of the deal with, although the Yelp opinions solely return to 2010 and finish in 2011.

The tough half is that between 1998 and 2011, there was one other restaurant on Yelp that shared the very same deal with known as Arrivederci Italian Seafood Restaurant. The opinions for that spot start in 2006 and go into 2010 as effectively.

California Canoe and Kayak, a paddle sports activities retailer, at present leases the constructing. When requested about who owned it earlier than them, SFGATE was directed to the Port of Redwood Metropolis. The workplace apparently has the leasing historical past of that constructing, which might fill within the gaps, however the particular person SFGATE contacted didn’t reply by time of publication. 

After Clark died in June 2018, there was ample remembrance of the play that made him a sports activities hero to a era of 49ers followers, but in addition loads of others that made house for his time as a restaurant proprietor.

Chang Cho, who labored at Clark’s by the Bay from when it opened to when it closed and now owns Fred’s Place in Mountain View, instructed SFGATE his favourite recollections have been the private connections the work setting fostered. One among his groomsmen for his upcoming wedding ceremony is even the man who dealt with hiring him there within the first place.

What actually made working there particular was how nice of a boss Clark was, Cho stated.

“Dwight was as real as they arrive,” Cho wrote by means of Twitter DM. “He’d even present up for worker picnics within the summertime. At all times gracious with an autograph or picture when visitors requested. Folks would even ship issues to the restaurant to get signed and he’d signal them and ship them again.

Dwight Clark waves to the crowd after the final game of his career on January 9, 1988.

Dwight Clark waves to the gang after the ultimate recreation of his profession on January 9, 1988.


Michael Zagaris/Getty Photographs

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark attends the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park on August 26, 1994 in San Francisco, California.

San Francisco 49ers large receiver Dwight Clark attends the preseason recreation towards the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park on August 26, 1994 in San Francisco, California.


George Rose/Getty Photographs


At left, Dwight Clark waves to the gang after the ultimate recreation of his profession on Jan. 9, 1988. At proper, Clark in attendance of a 49ers recreation in 1994. / Photographs by Michael Zagaris & George Rose/Getty Photographs

“Even after I noticed him on the final alumni flag soccer recreation at Candlestick when it was closing, he remembered who I used to be!”

The way in which followers inform it, Clark clearly had a dedication to creating certain folks round him have been joyful, even after he may have gotten away with doing considerably much less after changing into a Bay Space sports activities legend. Whereas his loss of life practically 4 years in the past was an impetus for Niners followers to recollect the cherished moments they personally had with him, the anniversary of The Catch ought to very a lot be the identical, and hopefully we get to listen to (and browse) much more about simply how particular Clark and his restaurant have been to folks.