What’s Cooking, Dock?: Tying Up and Dining Around the Bay

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As I mentioned before, the weather plays a vital part in the volume of boats out on the bay.

Our Fourth of July weather was disappointing, and a decrease in boats was noticeable. Presently, though, the weather is quite warm and boating is back to normal. Forecasts for the next week are excellent, and we boaters are anxious to get out on the water.

The summer season is close to half over, so we look forward to boating as much as possible. I was boating yesterday and the weather was warm, the seas were calm outside and it was fun to see our local young ones sailing their sabots and small boats adjacent to the yacht clubs and the Sea Scout base.

When we are boating for the day, my wife and I enjoy using the city docks throughout the harbor to tie up and pick up lunch or dinner.

One of our favorites for many years is the dock a half-block east of the ferry landing on Balboa Island. We tie up and walk to the Island Grill next to the ferry. They have great cheeseburgers and French fries. Their menu is quite broad, and all their items are enjoyable. For the yachts bigger than 20 feet we anchor in the turning basin, launch the inflatable and putt over to pick up the food.

Across the channel is another city dock west of the Catalina Flyer berth. There are great sandwiches at the Balboa Saloon, good pizza another block west on East Bay and, of course, the food at Newport Landing is a little pricey but well worth the cost.

Both of these city docks have a 20-minute time limit, so that is why I mentioned we get the food to go. Phoning ahead will also speed up the process.

If you want a sit-down meal, recently the city installed a 100-foot-plus dock at the end of the Rhine Channel. The time limit is two hours there, and you have the Cannery and Bluewater Grill adjacent to the dock. Lido Village is within walking distance, for the savory menu at Camelot. A half-block west, on 32nd Street, is the new satellite location of Sabatino’s. Adjacent to Sabatino’s on Newport Boulevard are three or four cafes I haven’t eaten at.

Two more city docks are near eateries. Both of these docks have specific dingy areas and tie-ups are for longer periods of time.

The dock at 19th Street, beside one of the two “mother’s beach” sites in this area of the Balboa Peninsula, is close to the Newport Pier area. On the bay side is the Spaghetti Factory. This inexpensive restaurant has excellent Italian-style food and won’t break the bank. On the ocean side are six or seven eateries. The east end has Sharkey’s, where our daughter, a real aficionado, loves their fish tacos.

Moving west, there’s the most excellent 21 Oceanfront. Not only is the elegant décor and service first class, but steak and prime rib quality is excellent, the lobster is to die for, and it’s one of the very few local sites that still serve abalone. The prep for abalone is extensive and only a knowledgeable chef can succeed in delivering a quality dish.

West of 21 is Scotty’s Seafood, which has been at this site for around 60-plus years. Their fish and chips are reasonable priced.

Moving west there’s Blackies, and their hot dogs and pickled eggs are superior. In the late ’50s a friend of my Dad’s, Joe Walker, was the owner and I had my first Blackies hot dog. I’ve probably eaten dozens more after turning 21. They also have the coldest beer in town.

Summing up the area is Mutt Lynch’s. This, like Blackies, is an adult atmosphere. Mutt’s is known for its good food – pizza and large portions of American-style food at a reasonable price.

I will warp it up with the city docks with specific spaces for dingys at 15th Street. I am a third-generation member of the American Legion post next to the 15th Street dock. Five or six times a year, I use the boat pump-out dock to drain the holding tanks.

I make sure I haven’t eaten recently before I arrive and I call ahead for space at the guest dock so we have lunch or dinner, depending on what time of day it is. Their menu is fulfilling with good food at a fair price. If I want a good cheeseburger I walk across the street to the oceanfront, where a hamburger stand is and has been at this site for as long as I can remember.

I hope these bayside eateries will keep you satisfied for years to come.


One of my personal quirks is I prefer to boat with family and friends. This dates back to my younger years, before I met the love of my life, while attending Newport Harbor High School. Prior to meeting Judy, I was boating on dates. Since that time Judy has been my first mate (actually captain), and we’ve shared hundreds of boating excursions.

Our son is in the Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base and soon I will pay for his dues to be a fourth-generation member of the Newport American Legion.

Since our grandson was about 6 months old, he has been “helping” me drive the boats we are on. Our fifth-generation Newport Harbor family boater warms our hearts. I bought him his first fishing pole when he was 3 months old. I can’t think of a better way to grow up than boating in our world class area.


I received an email recently that needs the following explanation. When I sit down to write these articles, I write from memory. I have spent all of my life boating in and around Newport Harbor. I’m now in my 60s, and while I think I remember everything accurately, I may make an error or two. I’m not a computer person, and “fact check” is a bit alien. Please email if you think I need to make a correction. If you would like to comment with regards to my writing or share a similar memory you have, pass it along. If I think it’s noteworthy, I’ll include it in one of my articles.

I was corrected that the “Virgil Parks” I mentioned last week was really Virgil Partch. I hope there’s no offense taken due to my inaccurate memory. As soon as this was passed along, I did remember the correct name. Mr. Partch, when I met him, was a tall, soft-spoken gentleman with a fun memory for their past outings.

Finally, I wanted to take the time to give thanks to Judy for typing and emailing my chicken scratch to the paper for publication. She is the nicest person I ever met, and I am truly blessed for her to share her life with me. If there’s ever a better half, she excels at that position. She recently retired from Harbor High as the front desk person, and we are planning many boating adventures here and around the United States, whether it’s an ocean, bay, river or lake. Once being on the water is in your blood it’s forever a way of life.

Sea Ya,

Skipper Steve

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