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Jun 15, 2005 04:10 AM

Pt. Molate - Galley Café, East Brother B&B and Richmond's Best Blackberry Cobbler

  • r

Galley Café serves ”fresh blackberry cobbler with ice cream. The blackberries were picked on the hillside behind the restaurant, and there is also fresh peach cobbler made from peaches just in from Yacht Harbor owner Eric Johnson’s Valley ranch. … In addition to the delicious cobbler, Howard serves a real fisherman’s breakfast and hearty lunches”

That is according to the web forum of Richmond Councilman Tom Butt in the following link:

I did not know that when I drove to the Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor over one of the most terrifying roads in California. Good stretches of the road had barbed wire fences with menacing signs warning about trespassing.

Perhaps it was the plastic skeleton dressed only in rubber fisherman’s boots sitting at an outdoor table that impaired my chow judgment,

Or it could have been the bleached white bone cow’s head on top of the outdoor phone booth. They were probably using the cow for lunch. I looked around, decided just to have coffee on the dock and left. Point Richmond makes Port Costa look like Sausalito. To say it is hard to get to and more than unusual is an understatement,

Has anyone eaten at Galley Cafe or at San Pablo Bay Sportsman’s club located on the Yacht Harbor?

From the Yacht Harbor you can take a boat to the East Brother’s Light House Bed and Breakfast. It is a $400 a night B & B that is supposed to serve some wonderful food. The Island is only open to the public on Saturday’s for hiking and picnics.

As far as the Café, it just looked like a coffee shop that time passed by. It seems that in 1952 the movie “Blood Alley” with John Wayne and Lauren Bacall was filmed at the café. There was only a menu board with hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches on the wall. Who would have guessed that cobbler with berries plucked from the hills could be hiding in the kitchen.

It was a pleasant café and everybody was very friendly. One table had a huge jigsaw puzzle that someone had left as a work in progress.

At the foot of the Richmond Bridge is the very last exit which goes to Pt. Molate.

The area is a combination Devils Slide, Pescadero, and shabby Presidio. There is an abandoned army base. One huge red brick building looks like a huge castle with turrets on top where you can imagine the military guarding the bay with guns.

It is both a frightening and breathtaking drive over a horribly paved one lane road that drops off into the Bay on one side with deep ditches on the other side. It is an area of untamed beauty where the last wild native California grasses grow. On the hot day the air was fragrant with eucalyptus, sage and fennel. The views of San Francisco are stunning. There is a small community of house boats in the harbor.

Given the fear factor of getting to the harbor, I need a confirmed report of worthwhile food. It could be very pleasant sitting on the dock and enjoying a pleasant Sunday breakfast. Any first hand experience?

The café is open 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM Wednesday through Sunday.

Info on ‘wild grass’



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  1. We are truly enamored of Pt. San Pablo, the yacht harbor, the Galley Cafe, and the art gallery that adorns the western breakwater. The breakwater, with its unique view of the Bay, evokes memories of the Emeryville Mud Flat sculpture garden of the 1960s. It's a good thing the place, and the road to it, are a little scary - you'd hate to see this place develop. We have been grateful Pt. San Pablo has remained one of the unusual pockets of Bay Area culture, along the lines of Alviso, Brisbane, Crockett or even Bolinas - but with its own attitude and flavor. That said, the Galley is just as you describe - not a great chow find, but one of the best places around to sit, talk and feel far away from right now.

    1. The Galley's previous incarnation was said to be famous for its fried clams. I made several trips, always finding them closed for one reason or another. Finally got in the door, "Sorry, no clams today". Had a hamburger, and it was good, but well, you know.

      1. I don't know about if Richmond's microclimate makes a difference, but FYI the blackberries in my back yard are *nowhere* near ready to eat (mostly just flowers actually), and the blackberries at my father's in Glen Ellen (which obviously *is* a different microclimate) have at least a few more weeks to if blackberry pie with fresh picked blackberries is a goal, I'd wait at least a few weeks to try it!

        5 Replies
        1. re: susancinsf

          Cobbler, I mean, not pie....but you know what I mean....(coffee hasn't kicked in yet).

          btw, folks looking for this place should not confuse the location at the Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor with the private Point San Pablo Yacht Club on W. Cutting, which can be reached without any scary roads, but which doesn't have a cafe....I had to google to figure out the difference,(I go to the private Yacht Club on occaison for parties since a friend is a member) and found this website for the Harbor and Galley Cafe in the process....(See link below)


          1. re: susancinsf

            Blackberries may not be quite there yet, but olallieberries are at their least that's what Coastways/Swanton said per Nancy Berry's report on the other board. Hmmm...sounds like a good time to stop by Duarte's in HMB for their pie. BTW, I didn't particularly care for Swanton's blackberry cobbler at their farm stand. Wouldn't make a trip there just for that.

            1. re: Carb Lover

              Duarte's in Pescadero you probably meant.

            2. re: susancinsf

              Thanks so much for the link. It has a lot on the history of the area. So that big turreted brick building was the winery, Winehaven. The site has a great picture of it today and, I guess an old one when it was filled with wine barrels.

              Great pictures of the area and Galley Cafe too.

              The blackberries are not in season in that area yet. The article was from last year and was so out of sync with what I saw. From the link below, you can see the simple menu.

              But it seem like Howard will cook things up as they happen to be available. There is a mention on the main Galley Cafe link that he serves the catch of the day.

              So I'm thiking that if some fishermen come in with a catch, that goes on the menu. If there are blackberries on the hill or someone brings in peaches - cobbler.

              I'm starting to be more and more charmed by the place. It is just amazing how pretty that area at the foot of the bridge can be and how it makes you feel like you are no where near the city.

              The pictures on the site capture the beauty but gloss over the funky charm. How many places in the Bay Area can you sit right on the water and have a bacon, egg and hasbrown breakfast for five bucks. Even if it may or may not exceed the quality of Denny's.

              And Howard really is a very nice guy. Too bad the fried clams are gone though.

              It's a chow lesson. No matter how plain the place looks ask questions and see if they serve anything not on the menu.




            3. re: susancinsf

              We had blackberries and boysenberries in our Pavlova last Saturday night at Chez Pan. They were perfect. I figure they were local, but who knows what local means, since we also had Maryland soft-shell crabs.

            4. Hmm, I don't recall the road being that scary. Try the 6 or 7 mile one lane sand road to the Lost Coast beach. And when you make it, it is as packed as Ocean Beach.

              Denied permission to park our car at the Harbor Club, we backtracked to just by the sugar mill tower. We kayaked to Red Rock Island, west of the Richmond Bridge and lunched on organic bagels, cheese, turkey, tomato and fruit from Trader Joe's and Monterey Mart. Then kayaked around East Brother Island and east to the Chevron tanks, then back through the houseboats. A lot of the property there is owned by Chevron; they also have a rifle club out there. That is probably the source of most of the barbwire.

              Came back to some fishermen at their secret fishing place. Oh, you can fish without a license off the Aquatic Park and Pier 7 piers, but, as for anywhere in the Bay area, you should limit eating local fish to once a week.

              Nice mention of the native grasses. The grass that turns brown in the summer was a stowaway on Spanish galleons that almost wiped the native grasses out.