Not even a full day after the famous Cliff House signage went down, the historic property — which existed as a San Francisco landmark for over 47 years — was defaced with large black graffiti letters sometime Thursday night.
After being unable to secure a new long-term contract by the National Park Service (NPS) to operate the establishment, restaurateurs Dan and Mary Hountalas, both in their 80s, announced back in December they were closing the much-loved eatery after decades in the industry.
(The property, itself, is owned by the NPS and required the Hountalas to reapply every 10 years for the right to continue acting as operators of the restaurant; the NPS also noted in a release that because of the pandemic, it’s stopped all solicitation for a new operator of the space — leaving it unclear as to how long the building will sit unoccupied.)
On New Year's Eve, the Cliff House's iconic sign came down around noon as hundreds in the crowd watched the end of an era. The very next day, it was discovered that the now-closed Cliff House was tagged with sprawling black spray-painted letters; nearby Louis’ Diner, which closed earlier in the summer after 83 years in the business, was discovered to have also been tagged sometime in the night.
Though it's unclear as to when the property was exactly tarnished — or what individuals were responsible for the vandalization — District 8 Supervisor-Elect Connie Chan waxed she is "disheartened" and finds the entire situation “disappointing," according to the SF Examiner.
The NPS has also both acknowledged and condemned the defacement, adding in a statement it plans to take steps going forward to prevent such vandalism. Yesterday, NPS park rangers were seen (and filmed) cleaning up the graffiti and repainting some of the walls with off-white paint.
The recent tagging of the Cliff House property (and Louis' Dinner) follows a string of vandalizations across San Francisco — particularly regarding closed retail storefronts and restaurants that are continuing to sit in limbo amid the current ban on outdoor and indoor dining.
Image: Courtesy of Twitter via @rodierick