After more than 75 years of withstanding crashing waves against its walls, the Marine Room almost met its match Wednesday night.
A man crashed his Cadillac into the wall of the adjoining La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club while he was trying to park in a handicap spot.
The ocean waves don't come crashing as high up, and it’s probably a good thing because the Cadillac sedan that jumped this curb buckled one of its walls.
It was enough to ruin an appetite, but Ethelen Coleman is no worse for wear.
“I feel OK. Yea, I feel ok,“ Coleman said.
Ethelen was a passenger in the front seat of this silver Cadillac when the driver, her husband Don, jumped the curb and crashed into the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club hotel.
The Irvine couple was meeting friends at the Marine Room for dinner. The hotel and restaurant share a wall.
"The car is good shape, it's minor. The wall, they are concerned about it. As you can see, it pushed it in here,” Coleman’s friend Jim Hall said.
Responding firefighters chopped into the wall from inside a first-floor hotel room and determined a structural engineer was needed. Guests on the first and second floors had to be evacuated.
Among them were Brian Flinn and his daughter, who are vesting from Kansas City.
"We're just glad the gentleman is OK. It’s the only thing that really matters," Flinn said.
The 75-year-old iconic restaurant is best known for the high tides that crash into its west-facing windows. For some, it is an unforgettable dining experience.
The car crashing into this wall comes with its own lasting memory, but for different reasons.
"I can understand how it happened. Your foot slips off and your sandal hangs up in the gas pedal and bang,“ Hall said.
There were no injuries as a result of the crash and the guests in the two rooms affected were relocated for the night.
While Coleman wasn’t cited, police would discourage driving in flip flops, and the dress code prohibits them while dining in the Marine Room.
The couple did stay for dinner. Marine Room Management says the restaurant will continue its regular hours of service.