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Portside Pier

Portside Pier Welcomes Public at the Embarcadero

The dining destination's new patio can seat about 500 guests while maintaining social distancing

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Four new waterfront dining spots officially opened to the public on Tuesday at the highly polished Portside Pier project in San Diego.

The new dining destination -- built on the former site of Anthony's Fish Grotto -- cost a hefty $25 million, according to some estimates, and is anchored by the latest spinoff of from Brigantine, whose seafood empire also includes locations in Del Mar, Shelter Island, Poway and Escondido. Joining the newest iteration on the Embarcadero are Miguel’s Cocina, the Ketch Grill & Taps pub and Portside Coffee & Gelato, a range of choices with multiple price points.

Photos: Portside Pier Makes a Splash at the Embarcadero

One eager foodie who recently moved to a nearby high-rise told NBC 7 he made reservations at the Brigantine for Wednesday.

“I think maybe that was kind of missing, something like this," said John Shipman. "If you walk up and down here, you really don’t see something like this, so I think it’s unique in that aspect."

San Diegans should take note -- you don't have to buy anything to take advantage of the Portside Pier -- the "public has free access to the waterfront from a second-level viewing deck, a second-level perimeter walkway along the water’s edge and an expanded dock," a news release stated.

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer was among the local notables on hand for the ribbon-cutting on last week, as were San Diego Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos and Port CEO Randa Coniglio, and Mike Morton Jr., who is the CEO of Brigantine Inc.

The project, of course, faces a challenge right from the day it opens, specifically, on opening in the middle of a pandemic. Indoor dining is currently prohibited in San Diego County, but the new dining destination can seat 500 customers outside on its patio while still enforcing social distancing.

Sanitation stations are offered throughout the area, and restaurants separated the tables for safety. Masks will also be available to customers who may have forgotten to take one.

Mike Morton, President and CEO of the Brigantine Restaurants, said measures are being taken to ensure the wellness of the public.

“Whether it’s sanitation stations around the restaurant, separating the tables, masks available for guests that maybe forgot them when they came in," Morton said. "And so those are differences. Other than that, we’ve always been a safe industry and focused on our guest safety.”

The Brigantine Inc. competed with Sunroad Enterprises and Fish Market Restaurants, the latter in partnership with Anthony’s -- which had occupied the space for 52 years -- to secure a 40-year lease for the prime waterfront real estate in October 2017. Construction on the Portside Pier began in April 2018.

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