Edible Monterey Bay

Steinbeck House Restaurant May Live Again!

April 6, 2021 – The historic Steinbeck House in Oldtown Salinas is not shutting down—at least not if ongoing support efforts continue to succeed. 

Yes, it was listed in a tribute by this publication to “All the Restaurants We’ve Lost” across the ever-extending COVID pandemic. (It’s a painful and powerful look back, and very much worth reading.) The good news is volunteers are working vigilantly to keep the landmark current on its costs while gathering funds to reopen when safe.

Two zesty events approach quickly. 

One happens 3-5pm Saturday, April 10, with a drive through Barbecue at Northminster Presbyterian Church (315 E. Alvin Drive, Salinas). A choice of gourmet cooked-to-pickup packages ($75-$200) pile in all sorts of tri-tip, chicken, produce, sides, wine and much more while feeding up to 10 people. Important note: The deadline for Edible readers has been extended to 6pm Wednesday, April 7, via call or text at (831) 595-0782.

The next fundraising event is a Mother’s Day To-Go Tea from noon to 1pm Saturday, May 8, at the Steinbeck House itself (132 Central Ave.). For $40 a person, passers-through collect an assortment of desserts, sandwiches, scones and quiche to combine with piping-hot tea. Deadline to RSVP for that is noon May 4. 

Loss and renewals are themes explored by many a writer. Steinbeck worked his way around and through them well, writing once that, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

Steinbeck House pointperson Dale Bartoletti drew upon some writerly instincts when I asked about the Steinbeck House survival-revival. “I don’t know what you’ve heard about the ‘rebirth,’ but we think that the pregnancy will continue for a few more months,” he messaged, noting “The House” has been empty for more than a year after staff emptied the kitchen to feed those in need amid early COVID. “In order to completely reopen,” he continues, “we would have to spend quite a bit to restock the larder, and we wouldn’t want to gamble on having to shut down again.” 

A benefit Mother’s Day Tea will raise funds to help reopen the restaurant

The morals of this Steinbeck story, then, can be: help where you can, have some barbecue and tea, and look forward to a sweetened summer. 

Donations are also being collected to “Save the Steinbeck House” through Go Fund Me: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/save-the-steinbeck-house-from-closing

About the author

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Mark C. Anderson is a writer, photographer, editor and explorer based in Seaside, California. Reach @MontereyMCA by way of Instagram and Twitter.