Wipeout Bar & Grill located on Pier 39 has long been a bustling spot for tourists and local San Franciscans alike. Inspired by classic California surf food and celebrating the coastal life, Wipeout opened in 2005, but the restaurant and Pier 39 has a much longer history.
Pier 39 is a famous landmark, which was founded by Warren Simmons on October 4, 1978. Simmons envisioned a place where people from all over the globe could gather to enjoy San Francisco’s stunning bay views while relaxing with good food and drinks. Since its inception, this is exactly what Pier 39 has become.
But this dream was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. “When COVID hit, since Pier 39 is considered an outdoor mall, we couldn’t do take out. The whole mall had to be closed,” shares Ines Rodriguez, who serves as the Marketing Manager for the Simmons family’s restaurants. “We were closed for about three months. Since we are such a tourist restaurant that was hard, even though we do have a local base.”
This shutdown note only affected Wipeout, but all the other restaurants on the Pier, which include Pier Market Seafood, Fog Harbor Fish House, and Biscoff Coffee Corner.
“Right now, there isn’t really any tourism. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for a while and now it’s not just restaurants that are being hit, it’s everything surrounding that too, like hotels and stores,” says Rodriguez.
COVID-19 is not the only natural disaster that Pier 39 and connected Fisherman’s Wharf has faced. In May 2020, a warehouse fire ripped through the Wharf, devastating the area and causing irreparable damage to the fishing industry, which lost millions of dollars in the blaze.
“Fisherman’s Wharf is an iconic place not only in San Francisco, but worldwide,” says Rodriguez. “The fire brought a lot of locals to realize how special the Wharf is. As a community we all got together to help. Prior to that it was known as being very touristy, but now people are seeing its value to the city and community.”
This is especially vital as San Francisco reopens and local businesses attempt to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic. Rodriguez explains, “Bringing more people to our city means more business and that is so important right now, so there’s a lot to be thankful for. We’re really in this together.”
Wipeout has resumed its outdoor dining service and their classic menu provides a delicious diversion from the problems of the day. They serve a whole range of delectables from burgers, to pizza to fried food like coconut shrimp and calamari. And for those patrons that want to keep it healthy in these health-conscious times, they offer large California-inspired salads. Their drink menu also provides some solace, full of hand-mixed margaritas and other beverages.
Wipeout is a uniquely charming hang-out spot, boasting a wide-open patio space, fire pit, celebrity-signed surfboards and beach signs. These all come together to create a colorful and currently much needed atmosphere of fun. Patrons can soak up the sun and Pacific spray while being assured that they are not risking their health.
“We are taking all the procedures and precautions for our staff during COVID and that makes me really proud to work for this company and family. It’s so cool to think that my boss’s father started this,” says Rodriguez.
Indeed, this enduring family legacy is a testament to perseverance and the power of Simmon’s restaurants, which are all full of heart. As Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 reopen to locals, one hopes that this distinctive San Francisco dining experience will once more be an attraction that draws people from all over the world.