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Pondering the Possibilities About the Smokehouse Venue

One familiar restaurant in San Rafael is looking for a new home, so why not the vacancy recently created at Novato's Vintage Oaks shopping center?

Maybe this is a crazy idea, but there's no sense in holding back: What if the famed restaurant relocated to the location at shopping center in Novato?

You might have heard that the Seafood Peddler, an institution along the San Rafael waterfront, to make room for the new , an operation with the backing of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. A previous attempt to open Terrapin Crossroads in Fairfax fell through after aggressive opposition from neighbors.

The Smokehouse ownership after just seven months of operation. About $2.3 million was poured into the 9,100-square-foot former Shane Co. jewelers building just off Vintage Way. It had a 100-seat dining room and 70-seat outdoor patio plus a small concert lounge that seats about 110. It was a gorgeous place and there was tons of free parking.

as to why the Smokehouse was shuttered, but the gossip is quickly turning toward the future and what might move in.

Seafood Peddler General Manager Richard Mayfield said Thursday that he can't reveal any information about where the restaurant might relocate. It could be that the Smokehouse building is too small for the Peddler if its management seeks to attract large groups for banquets and special events. The Peddler featured not only enclosed waterfront dining but also a 55-seat room, a 125-seat room and the 350-seat Palm Ballroom. That place dwarfs the Smokehouse location, but maybe the Peddler is seeking to downsize in this economy like so many other businesses.

But think about it: Isn't Novato in desperate need of an eatery whose "sole" focus is on seafood?

CLKO January 07, 2012 at 05:56 AM
It used to be Olive Garden. Why can't Novato sustain a good, family friendly, moderately priced restaurant? I hate having to drive all the way to Rohnert Park to get my Olive Garden fix!
Lou Judson January 07, 2012 at 02:48 PM
So the Pini building is uninhabitable? Can the owenrs tear it down and make a park for the people of the town?
Naj January 07, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I know that the people who built the Trader Joe's complex were originally planning on building a mini mall in that building. What kind of mini mall I'm not exactly sure, but when they found out about all the problems that's when everything stopped. I thought the same as you, put a small park there. Beyond that, that's all I really know. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful than that.
Craig Belfor January 07, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Seafood sounds good. The location is perfect. With over 600 foreclosures in Novato now, the only thing that's not under water is the lagoon at Bahia.
Born & raised January 10, 2012 at 06:54 AM
Buh-dump-bump. Craig Belfor, ladies and gentlemen, he'll be here all week, and don't forget to tip your waitress. Goodnight!

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