Programmatic boat in Claremont

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nichols
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Programmatic boat in Claremont

Postby nichols » Wed Apr 16, 2003 11:07 am

Does anybody know what became of this?

http://u.sgvtribune.com/Stories/0,1413, ... 97,00.html



Avast! Boat-shaped eatery could undergo a sea change
By David Allen
Locals know the Shrimp House well, having passed by the boat-shaped restaurant on Foothill Boulevard in Claremont for years.

In fact, apparently too many of us passed by, because a few weeks ago, the Shrimp House went belly up.

Now it's for lease, and leasing agent Carlos Rodriguez admits that not just any old eatery will work in a building with its own smokestack, anchors and pilings, with patio seating in the bow.

"With a shape and style like that," observed Rodriguez, "it kind of makes it hard to do a Chinese buffet."

Opened in 1969 as Tugboat Annie's, the restaurant is a real fish out of water in staid Claremont. Disconcertingly, the Shrimp House docked in a sea of asphalt between a KFC and the Mongolian BBQ, although it's comfortingly close to another nautical-themed joint, Pizza Pirates.

You can almost smell the sea breeze in the air.

There's a good, if off-kilter, reason to build a boat-shaped fish house: free advertising.

"If it's a seafood place, and you want to get people's attention and let them know what you're selling, you make it in the shape of a boat," said Jim Heimann, author of "California Crazy," a book about roadside architecture.

Once upon a time, L.A. had a gas station in a replica airplane, a nightclub in a giant hat and a chili stand in an enormous chili bowl. The most famous remaining example is Tail o' the Pup, the hot dog stand that looks like a hot dog.

"L.A. and Southern California as a whole had this reputation for weird and stupid and crazy," Heimann told me, "and these buildings were reflective of that. Now they're almost all wiped out."

OK, let's brush away that tear and ask the hard question: Who in 2002 wants a boat-shaped fish joint?

While the options appear limited, leasing agent Rodriguez ticked off the pluses.

A good location, an eye-catching (to say the least) building and a lot of community affection.

And while the boat needs some work to become shipshape, the interior is equipped with everything but food. The last operator, who must have moved out by moonlight, cleaned out the larder but left pots, pans and everything else.

The tables even have place settings.

"I hit the Coke dispenser," said Mike Rademaker, the other leasing agent, "and a Coke came out."

So a restaurant in the boat is ready to, um, launch.

Rodriguez and Rademaker are both fans of the building and personally would like to keep it as a boat. However, they're not the owner.

If no seafood emporium -- or for that matter a bait and tackle shop -- shows interest soon, the Shrimp House could easily lose the boat facade and become anything a paying tenant desires.

Said Rodriguez: "I don't know how much allegiance anybody really has to the look."

Well, there's Charles Phoenix, whose "Cruising the Pomona Valley" book calls the Shrimp House "one of Southern California's most unusual and playful architectural treasures."

Compliments don't pay the bills, though.

"Maybe people will see your article," Rodriguez told me hopefully, "and say, `We would like to save the little building' and come up with something."

The tugboat was Claremont's most unique eatery, agreed Scott Miller, the city's economic development manager. He promised to cast the nets for an appropriate tenant.

I suggested a sushi bar, as Claremont has two competing sushi proposals for the depot downtown, but Miller wasn't sure how a sushi chef would feel about the boat theme.

He had another idea for the boat:

"It'd be a great headquarters for the company where you die and they set your ashes out to sea -- the Neptune Society."

Another possibility suggests itself to me.

Maybe the Pizza Pirates will want to board the Shrimp House.

JAB
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Postby JAB » Wed Apr 16, 2003 1:21 pm

I just drove by there last Saturday (see More Msc. 4 Sale in the residential section) and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

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nichols
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Postby nichols » Wed Apr 16, 2003 3:15 pm

is it still for rent?

JAB
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Postby JAB » Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:35 pm

I'm sorry, I didn't notice any for rent or real estate signs. I did for sure look directly at it while driving by and again, didn't notice any out of the ordinary. I remember seeing the Shrimp house signage and the entire place looking intact. I assumed that it was still open.

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Postby modfan » Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:58 am

I grew up in Claremont and I remember it well. But thru all it's different versions I never ate there. Here's a far out idea-make it a SpongeBob Squarepants/Crusty Crab diner serving crabby patties and pretty patties.

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Postby JAB » Thu Apr 17, 2003 9:55 am

modfan, are you familiar with the mid century modern "scene" in Claremont? The name of Architect Fred McDowell has popped up a few times in relation to mid century modern and modern ranch homes in the Pomona / Claremont area. Are you familiar with his work?

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Postby modfan » Fri Apr 18, 2003 10:18 am

Yes somewhat familiar. McDowell passed away recently.
I wonder if he designed the home on one house so. of the se corner of Lafayette Rd. and Scripps Dr(?) and the same house design at the sw corner of Rhodelia and Catania(?). I knew the people who lived on Lafayette
the house is typical midmod for the time (60s) they've moved away long ago so I don't know what the house it like on the inside. I hope they retained most of the design elements. The one on Catania has got well overgrown landscaping so you almost can't see the house. Another one was a neighbor who moved to the Claremont Heights area-E. of Garey
and S. of Baseline. Don't remember the street but it was on the west side.
It had an atrium and lotsa glass and cath.. ceilings. They only rented and the moved away a few years later.

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Postby nichols » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:11 pm

The Shrimp boat building is still there. Now it's SUSHI CRUISE! An All-you-can-eat shrimp place.
Image
(lifted from flickr)

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Postby nichols » Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:05 pm

Image


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