“We've had our (building) plans in for a month (to the city) and we'll start demolition in the next week or two,” said Mike Morton, president of family owned and operated Brigantine Inc., which purchased the bay front restaurant property at 2614 Shelter Island Drive about nine months ago from the Dargitz family that had operated it for 25 years.
“It's fairly ambitious, but we are hoping to open sometime in July. I think we can make that,” Morton said.
Morton said the menu of the new restaurant, to be named Ketch, a sailing craft with two masts in nautical terminology, will have “have more seafood and be casual” in its orientation. But, he added, the newly refashioned seaside eatery will have a completely different look and feel.
“It will have the same footprint, though we'll be raising the ceiling,” said Morton, noting “it won't be brown shingles anymore.”
Morton said Ketch will “have some reclaimed wood,” but added the new look incorporates “corrugated metal to fit in with the surrounding area, which is maritime industrial with shipping containers.” He added the restaurant site has taken a while to get through city planning because its “tidelands property owned by the Port of San Diego,” which the California Coastal Commission needs to sign off on as well because of its coastal location.
More than just the exterior surface of the building is being redone, said Morton.
“There will be an island bar closer to the patio that will be entirely open to the outside letting in lots more natural light and integrating the indoors more with the outdoors, adding a more lively feel to the entire place,” he said. “The kitchen will be in the same spot, but will be all brand new. The restrooms are being completely redone.”
The original Brigantine, in operation since 1969 across the street from the former Red Sails, has since expanded to about a dozen other locations throughout San Diego County. Brigantine presently has three distinct restaurant concepts. Morton noted that the new Shelter Island location is “a mix of all three of them.”
All three Brigantine restaurant concepts are being put in by the company at its new downtown San Diego waterfront location on the Embarcadero where Anthony's used to be.
Red Sails was a traditional restaurant with a laid-back, sailboat-themed dining room serving steaks and seafood. Bill Dargitz, whose father, Jack, first developed the bay front restaurant concept, said it was “a good time for us to sell.”
Dargitz noted Red Sail actually was started downtown in the '20s and '30s by Carlsbad's Palomar Airport creator Jack Allen Davis, before being moved to its current location. He pointed out he and his father “were proud to have maintained an eatery that appealed with the locals.”
Brigantine officially took over Red Sail on Aug. 31, 2016.
One final request by the Dargitz family was honored by the new owners: The World War II diving suit and helmet that greeted guests for years will remain part of the new décor, though it may be in a different location.