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VENTURA : City to Open Talks for New Pier Eatery

Ventura city leaders on Wednesday decided to begin negotiations with a Seattle businessman who wants to open a restaurant at the foot of the Ventura Pier.

The new 5,000-square-foot restaurant would be about twice the size of the Pier Fish House, the former eatery at the base of the pier that closed in September, 1992.

After receiving four restaurant proposals last year, a council committee has selected Hal Griffith, who owns and operates restaurants on piers in Oceanside, Newport Beach, San Clemente and Seattle.

Griffith said he envisions that the new restaurant, which would be called Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar, would serve primarily seafood at moderate prices. He also hopes to serve some fast food, as well as operate a bait shop nearby on the pier.

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Beginning next week, Ventura officials will negotiate lease terms with Griffith, who wants the city to help construct the restaurant.

Bill Byerts, the city’s park service manager who served on a committee that selected Griffith, said the pier restaurant will be a high priority for city officials because it will be located on one of Ventura’s main tourist attractions. The city has spent $3.5 million to restore the aging landmark.

“In my opinion, it’s the best location in Ventura for a restaurant,” Byerts said.

Negotiations are expected to conclude within 60 days. Byerts said city officials are hoping that the restaurant will be ready for use at the start of summer next year.

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