Out-of-state concessionaire could be awarded
Stow Lake Boathouse lease

On Thursday, July 22, a Recreation and Park Department selection panel announced their choice to award the Golden Gate Park Stow Lake Boathouse lease to a New Mexico-based corporate concessionaire, Ortega Family Enterprises. Restaurateur Frank Klein (First Crush, Biscuits and Blues, Fish and Farm), who collaborates with the Ortega Family at their Muir Woods concession, is being named to manage the food aspect of the new venture. On Aug. 19, the Recreation and Park Commission is scheduled to decide whether to approve the panel’s recommendation.

If this plan goes through, it will terminate the family legacy of current lessee Bruce McCullen, whose grandfather brought in the first boats in 1946 as architect Warren Charles Perry put the finishing touches on the historic boathouse.

“I’m still digesting it. It’s hard to say what happened,” says McCullen. “In our bid we did everything the RFQ wanted. We offered to replace the boat fleet, substantially raise the rent, do upgrades, and planned to open an indoor cafe that would serve organic, locally produced food. Combine that with 65 years of service, and then I lose to an out-of-state bidder.”

Suzanne Dumont of the Save Stow Lake Boathouse Coalition says of the decision, “It’s confusing to most people how a New Mexico souvenir shop chain would be a good fit for the Boathouse. Furthermore, we don’t understand why they would be going with an out-of-state vendor when San Francisco is full of so many creative and good people looking for work.”
No one from Ortega Family Enterprises could be reached for comment.

The hearing will be held on Aug. 19 at City Hall (time is yet to be determined) and will be open to the public.
Contact: www.parks.sfgov.org, www.ortegafamilyenterprises.com, www.savestowlake.org