Inside the Icon: The Marine Room
The La Jolla waterfront restaurant has a history that spans bulletproof windows, El Niño flooding, and one very bold sea lion
San Diego’s famed Kellogg family purchased the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in 1935, back when it was called the La Jolla Beach & Yacht Club. Frederick William Kellogg then expanded the property by opening The Marine Room in May 1941 and later, The La Jolla Shores Hotel and Shores Restaurant in 1970. The family still owns the property, and son William J. Kellogg, who serves as current LJBTC president, has been with the company since 1979. He visits The Marine Room almost every day.
During the restaurant’s first winter, strong waves smashed the windows. Brackets and boards were a temporary solution, but they hid the restaurant’s marquee attraction: its view. The windows were replaced with bulletproof glass in 1941.
In its early days, the restaurant didn’t have air-conditioning. Instead, the space had a retractable roof so patrons could dine under the stars—and cool off. In 1982, an El Niño storm flooded the restaurant, resulting in a nine-month fortification process so the building could hold up against seawater and wave damage.
Sea Lion's Den
The restaurant’s oceanfront location means a front-row seat to all sorts of wildlife, including dolphins, leopard sharks, and the occasional migrating whale. But last February, one sea lion pup got up close and personal when she made her way through a back door and into a window booth seat. SeaWorld rescue specialists nursed her back to health and released her into the ocean two months later, but not before naming her—what else—Marina.
The Marine Room is known for opulent dining events, including Easter and Mother’s Day brunches, but it’s the High Tide Breakfast Buffet (October through March) and High Tide Dinners (April through September), when guests can feel the ocean splash against the windows, that draw the most crowds.