OWN VOICE by Stefanie Myhre, with approval from San Benito House and Cantina business owner, Chris Cheeseman.
As many of you already know, there was a devastating fire in the wee hours of April 10th, 2021 that essentially gutted the 2nd floor of the San Benito House, which is wildly popular with locals and tourists alike.
Recently, I was able to sit down with Chris Cheeseman who is majority owner and business manager of the San Benito House that has been at the corner of Main and Mill Streets, in Half Moon Bay, since 1905, to understand some of the challenges they are facing as they attempt to be cleared to rebuild and re-open.
With over 20 years’ experience, and 10 years as a restauranteur, Chris is no stranger to running a business, but San Benito House is different.
When he took over some 3 years back, he recalled walking through the building and getting a “feeling” from the timeless charm of it, instantly falling in love (as I believe many of us have who have ever strolled that hall).
He then spent the next 3 years putting every energy into fixing up the upstairs hotel as well as bringing his Cantina theme from a similar business in San Francisco. Even though he owns 2 additional restaurants in the city, San Benito is different.
“I would come down all the time, hang out with the patrons, bring my family, stay the night, dine up and down Main…, just enjoying the whole atmosphere. Managing San Benito has been a true labor of love.”
As one who has been a regular patron of SBH since before and after Chris took it over, I can vouch for his selfless dedication to keeping our beloved house as true to the original design as possible, while also working diligently to support his staff and ensure they were well taken care of. Chris has great heart and is humble over the entire venture, always keeping a low profile while quietly going about the daily management of the business, never wishing to be put in a spotlight. “It’s not about me. It’s about my staff. It’s about the hotel. We are going to recover but it won’t be easy.”
Though SBH is temporarily closed, the very popular Garden Deli Cafe Sandwich shop has relocated just around the corner at Shoreline Station on Highway 1 inside of the recently established “Pizza Pie” business, also managed by Chris, which serves an incredible Sicilian style pizza and offers plenty of outdoor seating and parking.
To show your support for the employees of the San Benito House while they wait to return and rebuild, please visit their GoFund me page to donate: https://gofund.me/38f00038
And don’t forget to visit Pizza Pie for a slice of delectable pizza, soups, salads, PIES! and coffee. (I’m rather fond of the Cuban myself.)
The San Benito House will be back.
10:00am to 5:00pm every day!
By phone @ 650-560-8467
In person @ 225 Cabrillo Hwy S Unit 106C, Half Moon Bay
Pizza Pie is proud to serve specialty pizza and homemade pies to the Coast. Brought to you by the owners of the historic San Benito House in downtown Half Moon Bay.
Each pizza is made using 00 flour and the finest ingredients available.
Made from scratch pies and desserts are also featured alongside Moschetti Roasters coffee.
Our mission is to provide the community with a fast and friendly location to grab a slice, whether its pizza or pie.
Conveniently located in Shoreline station on Highway One less than 1 mile from Half Moon Bay State Beach.
Great for the whole family with indoor and outdoor seating available. Serving coffee, beer & wine.
GO FUND ME.
The San Benito House has been a beloved institution in downtown Half Moon Bay for over 115 years. It is comprised of our famous Garden Deli, newly added Cantina, and Historic Inn which opened in 1905. Welcoming tourist and locals has always been our pleasure. To see the outdoor patio bustling in recent months has been a blessing after enduring multiple lock downs.
Unfortunately, all that changed In the early morning hours of April 10th. A fire erupted upstairs in the hotel.
Our in house employees and Inn keeper acted swiftly, and bravely, to evacuate the guests who were staying with us. The flames and smoke spread so rapidly they had to leave with the clothing they had on, scrambling to get down the stairs. Emergency rescue was required for one couple.
Those who were residing with us have been displaced, and lost most of their belongings. A few sustained minor injuries, and we are so grateful, they are all ok.
Unfortunately, we were unable to retrieve our beloved House cat, Hemingway, and lost him to the fire. He will be missed greatly. Hope you are chasing shadows buddy.
We want to thank Cal Fire, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s, and Coastside Fire for responding so quickly. Miraculously, they were able to swiftly extinguish the flames and contain it to the upper floor. The fire and smoke damage unfortunately has destroyed the entire hotel. However, the restaurant and deli remain mostly intact.
After seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, once more have been dealt a devastating hit. We will FIGHT HARD to rebuild the Historic Inn and reopen the Cantina, and Garden Deli, safely and as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we are planning to operate the Garden Deli to a temporary location at 225 Cabrillo Hwy South Unit 106C very soon. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
These funds will help the relocation of our live in staff members, support our employees during the closure, and help us restore the damage. Thank you in advance for all your kindness.
In Loving Memory