Harbor Commission approves lease renewal for Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

Local eatery is Santa Barbara Harbor’s third largest grossing tenant and has increased sales by 90 percent in 10 years.

SANTA BARBARA — The value of a quality, mom-and-pop seafood restaurant can never be underestimated, especially in Santa Barbara. The Harbor Commission approved a 10-year lease unanimously with two five-year extension options for Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, a local eatery that has been operating on Stearns Wharf since 1980.

The lease, which would be an extension of the 1,160-square-foot property located at 230 Stearns Wharf, was negotiated for $22,339.25 per month. Brian Bosse, waterfront business manager, who gave a presentation on the lease, stated the base rent accounts for 10 percent of the tenant’s gross receipts up to and including $1,250,000. The tenant pays its own utilities separate from the rent and would be subject for an annual rent adjustment to account for cost of living.

The restaurant was praised by city staff, who mentioned the long-term tenant has been easy to work with, in good standing as far as rent payments and has grown exponentially considering bar-stool seating is only available for up to 26 guests. Bosse further mentioned Santa Barbara Shellfish Company’s sales have increased 90 percent since 2008, is the harbor area’s third largest grossing tenant and is an active member of the Wharf Merchants Association.

Scott Riedman, Santa Barbara’s waterfront director, reflected on watching Santa Barbara Shellfish Company progress since 1997, adding he also saw the owners rebuild in 1998 after the fire on Stearns Wharf.

“It’s been really fascinating to watch the growth of such a small business into a major player down at the waterfront,” Riedman said. “It’s a great local story and a great business story.”

Adam White, the owner’s son and manager of Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, was present at the meeting. White said, “We take the responsibility of being out on the Wharf very seriously,” and reminisced about his childhood spent on Stearns Wharf as his father operated the burgeoning business.

Fare at Santa Barbara Shellfish Company is based around family recipes, according to the website, and serves up favorites like crab cakes, lobster rolls, shrimp tacos, ceviche, oyster shooters, clam chowder and more.

The White family has since opened three other successful restaurants in Santa Barbara, Casa Blanca, Santa Barbara Fishouse and Boathouse Hendry’s Beach.

Visit the website at shellfishco.com.

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