Letter-to-the-Editor: Reuben E. Lee — Will It Rise Again?

Byline: Paul Reynolds

I was surprised to read the story in the Dec. 21-Jan 3 issue about the former restaurant/steamboat replica Reuben E. Lee sinking at a local shipyard while it was being repaired. And the main reason I was surprised is that I thought it had fallen apart and disappeared years ago.

My wife reminded me that the sistership Reuben E. Lee in Newport Beach had been dismantled, sold off and had its remains scuttled some time ago — but the San Diego version evidently lived on a bit longer.

I miss the old days when we had lots of restaurant ships along the West Coast. But I can’t say that my dining experiences aboard any of them were very memorable, when it came to the food served.

These eat-aboard boats were curiosities, and nothing more. But little curiosities and novelties like those stick in our memory, somehow tug at our heartstrings and make us nostalgic for the bygone days of our youth that will never return — except in our memories.

I don’t expect Reuben E. Lee will ever return (as a restaurant, anyway) — even if they somehow salvage the steamboat that once housed it.

Paul Reynolds


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