There’s always an influx of diners at Woodhouse Fish Co. once Dungeness season rolls around — January 18 this year, after much delay. But the 2073 Market Street outpost and the original location of the longtime San Francisco restaurant will close on January 23 after 18 years. The staff will be offered hours at the restaurant’s Lower Pac Heights outpost on Fillmore Street, and regular hours will be in operation until next Tuesday. “We get one last weekend of great local crab,” owner Dylan MacNiven says. “We’re excited to provide that for people. But the important thing is we’ve got another location with the same great menu just a 10-minute drive away.”
Not only will Woodhouse Fish Co. live on, but the oysters will even remain $1.25 despite the turbulent economy. MacNiven says he feels there’s a lack of diners spending money in the city, but that wasn’t what prompted the restaurant’s closure. The building’s ownership has changed hands, and a lease renewal didn’t look good at the moment, he says. “But the real answer is it felt like the right time after nearly 20 years on Market Street,” MacNiven says of the thought behind the decision.
There’s no shortage of Takes regarding the health of San Francisco business health as the new year begins. But banner openings in the greater Downtown area, including Saint Frank Coffee’s second location in SoMa and the upcoming return of the iconic Starlite bar inside the Beacon Grand Hotel, give loyalists a bit of hope. MacNiven, who’s on the board of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, expressed concern for San Francisco restaurants when news of the service fee laws became clearer — then more confusing as the Department of Justice is set to “discuss implementation of the law.”
When Woodfish House Co. opened in 2006, MacNiven points out Dungeness crab were just $13. Those were the days when champs would walk into the restaurant and knock back a cool 105 oysters in one sitting. Following the closure of his and his brother’s West of Pecos on Valencia Street in October 2023, MacNiven still feels optimistic about his future in the city. “Things being the way we are,” he says, “if we focus on one location, we can do that much better.”