Scoma's: Redwood Alumni make their mark on the Sausalito shoreline By Jocelyn Overmyer

Sitting on the water of Sausalito’s picturesque bayfront, 588 Bridgeway has morphed from a U.S. Navy recruitment center to Smith’s Stable to the current Scoma’s Restaurant. Scoma’s, an upscale seafood restaurant, is managed by Redwood alumni Roland Gotti and Bobby Weckel who hope to leave their mark on the historic location.

To serve the highest quality of fish while protecting the environment, Scoma’s has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.

Bobby Weckel, the floor manager.

“We feel like we are stewards of the environment. So, not only do we present a fresh variety of different dishes, we are also sustainable,” Gotti said.

Scoma’s emphasizes the ability to provide their freshest fish onto customer’s plates. To achieve this, Scoma’s has their own fishing boat that comes back every morning with a daily catch. The fish receiving station is located in San Francisco and goes straight to the kitchens of the two Scoma’s locations.

588 Bridgeway extended the dock of the location after emergency vehicles weren't able to navigate through the cramped streets.

“The goal is to make the best food for our clients, and give them the best possible service we can. We try to use sustainable fish products and we use the freshest ingredients we can,” Weckel said.

In 1969, The Gotti and Scoma families decided to take over the old Victorian building on Sausalito’s waterfront and transform it into their own restaurant. To this day, the almost 50 year old partnership between the two families remains strong. After the expansion of the dock due to emergency vehicles unable to navigate on the crowded weekends, Scoma’s renovated the building and is now almost triple the size of its first model.

Scoma’s holds its roots in Italian Cuisine, but the menu has an international style to include the best recipes from different port countries of the world. Tourists from around the globe visit Scoma’s to get a taste of their high quality seafood, international menu and a glimpse into San Francisco’s history through the preservation of the Victorian style architecture, according to Gotti.

“The best part of this business is meeting people from all over the world and entertain them while they are here and showing them the best San Francisco and Bay Area has to offer,” Gotti said.

Al Scoma opened the original location of Scoma's in Pier 39 in 1964. Tom Creedon, married to one of Al Scoma’s daughter, is the current president of Scoma’s in San Francisco. According to Credon, Scoma’s emphasis on premium customer service is a based on the ideals of Al Scoma.

“[Scoma] didn’t know the restaurant business but his focus was on customer service. He knew every busboy, every dishwasher, every waiter, and he kept the time card in his pocket. He was extremely dedicated,” Credon said.

The partnered families have been in the restaurant business together since the opening of the second location of Scoma’s in 1969. The Gotti’s immersion in the restaurant business is just as lucrative, previously owning the highly credited Ernie’s restaurant and the Lark Creek Inn.

Front-desk managers Weckel and Gotti both grew up in the Bay Area. Weckel, from the Redwood class of 1968, has been working for Scoma’s for 14 years. Originally, Weckel worked next door at The Trident, a seafood and steak restaurant, as the manager for 22 years. After admiring Scoma’s for some time, Weckel decided to retire from managing the larger neighboring restaurant in 2004 and transition to Scoma’s.

“It was better for me to move to a smaller place because it’s more intimate, you get to know the people better that are coming in, it’s a smaller clientele. And it’s just a very charming building,” Weckel said.

Gotti’s career was steered in the direction of the restaurant business through family ties. Since he was 14 years old and throughout his time at Redwood, Gotti worked for his family’s restaurant, Ernie’s. According to Gotti, Ernie’s was a world renowned restaurant.

“I worked in the kitchen with french and italian chefs from all over the world. I started cooking, learning about wines, and learning about each division of the restaurant,” Gotti said.

After working at Scoma’s in San Francisco as a bartender, Al Scoma asked Gotti to open a few restaurants. His third restaurant that he opened for Al Scoma was Scoma’s in Sausalito.

According to Weckel, he admires the restaurant business for its continuing evolvence.

“The restaurant business is changing all the time and you really just have to watch what’s going on in the industry and keep changing as things change. The drinks change, the food changes, people’s taste change. So you have to be able to adapt to everything that’s happening with the current items,” Weckel said.

Gotti believes that growing up in the Bay Area has broadened his knowledge about the seafood industry because of the emphasis on high quality seafood living near the San Francisco Bay.

The original door of Scoma's greets customers at the front of the restaurant.

“San Francisco Bay has a rich maritime of fishing heritage. By growing up here and being involved with that you absorb it. If I grew up in Kansas i don’t think it would be the same,” Gotti said.

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