May 5, 2015 – Local culinary legend Bill Lee is out as General Manager at the problem-plagued Rocky Point restaurant after just seven months on the job.
Lee said it was “creative differences” that led to his abrupt departure on May 1. “I had such a love for the restaurant and where it was going,” he said. “But I could see down the road, that we had these creative differences over the direction of the restaurant.”
He cited outdoor heaters as one thing he pushed for and got, allowing people to sit on the patio and enjoy the restaurant’s fabulous views on chilly days.
Lee says he proposed leaving in mid-July, but owners Peter and Grace Wang had him go immediately. “It wasn’t the greatest parting, but not the worst I’ve had either,” he said. Chef Herman Hernandez, who arrived with Lee last October, remains in the kitchen.
Peter Wang confirmed that Lee had resigned and said they were, “currently interviewing people to replace him.” His daughter Amy said only, “We are restructuring management right now.”
Surprise management shake-ups are a familiar story at Rocky Point. Carmel chef Soerke Peters and GM Amy Stouffer were there only five months last year before their own abrupt departure in September.
Lee is a veteran of ten Monterey Peninsula restaurants, including the Sardine Factory, Billy Quan’s and Bahama Billy’s. In February 2014 he opened Lucky’s Roadside in Seaside, but the restaurant struggled and closed nine months later.
He said things at Rocky Point had been going great. “We made a lot of progress in overcoming the deficiencies in food, service and ambience,” said Lee. “Locals had begun returning and we took the whole private party and wedding business from 0 to 60.”