Coronado Boathouse Now 1887 on the Bay

Published July 1, 2013 by Coronado Patch.

One of the oldest standing structures in Coronado changed its name earlier this month.

“It’s been part of the coronado community since 1886 or 1887 and its been called the boathouse until now,” said Bruce Linder, Executive Director of the Coronado Historical Association.

The restaurant once known as Coronado Boathouse is now named 1887 on the Bay.

“We wanted to change the name because we changed the restaurant. We wanted to make sure that the people knew that it’s a different restaurant,” said General Manager Roger Boomer.

Along with an expanded wine list, new cocktails and local craft beers at the bar, the restaurant had a minor renovation, hired chef Jess Ledesma and changed its menu.

“We changed the entire menu. We have a new executive chef. He’s world­class and produces what’s known as world cuisine. He’s formally trained in Hawaii so he’s really good with Hawaiian seafood,” Boomer said. “The Wagyu beef that we serve, the chef calls it the butter knife experience meaning you can cut it with a butter knife it’s so tender and juicy and flavorful.”

The name was also changed, Boomer said, because there are too many other boathouses. Some people have started to call the city building near a boat launch in nearby Glorietta Bay Park the boathouse, Boomer said. 

“There’s also a Boathouse Restaurant in San Diego. We would often lose reservations to them and they would lose reservations to us,” he said.

The sign in front of the restaurant was changed during a grand opening ceremony June 13.

Though the restaurant formerly known as the Coronado Boathouse was allegedly built as a practice run before the Hotel del Coronado was constructed, the building’s complete story has not yet been told, Linder said.

“As it turns out we’re working right now on a relatively substantial project to outline the boathouse’s history,” he said.

The Coronado Historical Association plans to open a new exhibit in the coming weeks that focuses on Coronado boating history.

Working with the Hotel del Coronado’s historian and city, an effort is being made to sift through old newspaper articles, city records and public documents to bring new information about the boathouse to light.

Since the boathouse opened it has been “a center of Coronado social life,” he said, particularly during its first few decades in existence when it was used by Tent City visitors and hotel guests.

“Back in 1903 for about a two-­year period of time it was an oceanographic station and it was a precursor to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography,” Linder said. “Before they built the buildings up in La Jolla their institute was here in the boathouse.”

The Coronado Yacht Club used the boathouse to hold its regular meetings in the 1930s and 1940s.

“There are thousands of stories where people signed up as club members and did a lot of things around the boathouse,” Linder said.

At one point in its history the building was moved about 100 feet north and closer to the shore of Glorietta Bay.

“If you see the original pictures you had to take a little bridge out there,” he said.

The reshaping and dredging of Glorietta Bay will also be a featured topic in the new historical association exhibit, Linder said. 

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