The Sidewalk Cafe celebrates 44 years on the Venice Boardwalk

The Sidewalk Cafe on the Venice Boardwalk rules!

This iconic Venice Boardwalk restaurant turns 44 this year on Sept. 23rd.  A huge congratulations to all the folks who are, or have been, part of the crew over the years.

In an ever changing Venice landscape, the Sidewalk is our rock.  You don’t stay in business on boardwalk for 44 years unless you are doing it right!  A big fist bump to the team over there!

When the Sidewalk turned 40, Venice Paparazzi was on the scene to document the epic party that ensued! Check out the photo gallery below!

Look for the red and white awnings on the Venice Boardwalk.  Photo taken Pre-Covid19

If you don’t know, the Sidewalk Cafe boasts what is probably the deepest menu in town.  They have just about everything, and it is all fantastic!  Ice cold beer, stacked burgers and sandwiches,  margaritas, seafood, pizza,  salads, breakfast and more! The list just goes on.

This family friendly legend  has a full bar, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is home to the best people watching in town, as well as epic sunsets!

  • Their outdoor patio is open daily from 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.
  • A  full bar with 18 taps
  • See their menu or call 310.299.5547 for to-go orders.

Go to the The Sidewalk Cafe! 

  • 1401 Ocean Front Walk.  Venice, CA. 90291
  • Validated weekday parking is available one block south at Market Street
  • thesidewalkcafe.com

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Want to see the Venice Boardwalk now?  Check out the Sidewalk Cafe’s webcam? 

View Venice now and the surf report.

Here is a Venice/Sidewalk Cafe History lesson! 

In 1905, after winning the Venice land on a coin flip with his partners, Abbot Kinney built Venice-of-America to be a personal monument to Venice, Italy. He built a fantasy city with real canals, a wood boardwalk and piers with rides and water slides. It was a huge hit! Celebrities like William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies strolled the Venice Boardwalk. Sarah Bernhardt performed in the Venice Auditorium; Charlie Chaplin clowned in Abbot Kinney’s auto races, and Mary Pickford was rowed in her own gondola. Venice was the place to be!The building that now houses the Sidewalk Café was one of the last of Abbot Kinney’s Venice buildings and was originally designed to be four stories tall, but only the first floor was constructed was built.

The building sold to the Harrah family (of gambling fame) and was turned into a bingo parlor (later called bridgo because bingo was illegal). During prohibition, Abbot Kinney’s underground utility tunnels were modified to accommodate bootleggers who delivered liquor at night under the pier. In the 1950s and early ‘60s the building housed artists’ studios and served as the crash pad for beatnik writers and poets such as Jack Kerouac. The building stood vacant for many years until 1976 when Mary Goodfader’s bookstore, Small World Books, lost its lease in Marina Del Rey. Bob Goodfader, while bicycling on the bike path, saw the building and called the phone number graffitied on its front. The Goodfaders and their friends, Walter (Skip) and Penny Dixon bought the building as a new location for the bookstore.

Bob and Skip decided to open a small takeout place on the side, not in use by the bookstore. The eatery was such a hit that they expanded it into a patio restaurant. Venice experienced a rebirth with roller skating and skateboarding in the 70s.

The Boardwalk’s unique entertainers, skateboarding’s Z-boys, Muscle Beach’s bodybuilders and Venice’s basketball players attracted worldwide attention. The Sidewalk Café offered great food and a front row seat to the circus. Small World Books is one of the last surviving independent bookstores in Los Angeles and is still run by Mary. See what treasures that their staff can help you discover.

Bob passed away in 2002, but the Sidewalk Café is still being run by the people he trained including his son Jay, his protégé Steve, his general manager Kristen and his head cook Luciano.

Re-live the Sidewalk Cafe’s 40th Anniversary party!

2016 photos and photo booth by Venice Paparazzi.

The Sidewalk Cafe’s Jay Goodfader and family

SWC’s General Manager Kristen Archival and daughter Alex

View all SWC’s 40th Anniversary!

All photos by Venice Paparazzi.  Need photographers or a photo booth?  Hire Venice Paparazzi!

See you at the The Sidewalk Cafe!

1401 Ocean Front Walk.  Venice, California. 90291. thesidewalkcafe.com.

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