The Beach House Restaurant, formerly called McMorran’s, is closed for good.
The oceanfront restaurant at 5109 Cordova Bay Rd. in Cordova Bay, north of Victoria, closed effective Sunday, Aug. 27, after more than a decade of operating under that name.
“It’s a tough one,” said Barb Lucas, president of the Cordova Bay Community Association. “We’re very disappointed, I know for the residents, because that was a very popular local spot to go.”
The restaurant serves up history, according to Lucas, who notes it’s “been around Cordova Bay for decades.”
In the early 1920s, it began as an ice cream stand and general store. By the 1940s, the McMorran family opened McMorran’s Pavillion with a focus on dinner and dancing.
“Over the decades until 2008, McMorran’s Beach House hosted hundreds of celebrations, weddings and gatherings including legendary New Year’s Eve Galas and spectacular buffets,” reads a post on the restaurant’s website.
Then in 2012, Kate Phoenix purchased the restaurant and changed its name to The Beach House while continuing “the legacy of McMorran’s by embracing its history.” She also renovated the building, refinishing the maple wood floors and installing a new iron fish sculpture above the bar.
“She did put a lot of blood, sweat and tears and money into refurbishing the place. It’s a fabulous building, it’s basically quite new although redone,” said Lucas.
“It’s a pretty special spot”
One patron took to Facebook to express their disappointment about the closure.
“I have many fond memories of family brunch at McMorran’s and after the family sold the restaurant and it was renamed, I have had some great dinners and untold number of lattes and almond croissants followed by walks on the beach,” Barbara Todd Hager wrote to Facebook.
Now Lucas is hoping someone buys it.
Two side-by-side properties, one commercial and one residential, at 5105 and 5109 Cordova Bay Rd. are listed for sale for a combined $5.5 million. The Sotheby’s listing says the restaurant, with 10 parking spaces, was built in 1922.
“You can’t get that kind of property anymore and have a restaurant right on the beach like that. Oak Bay Marina has closed down. This is a pretty special spot,” said Lucas.
“We really are hoping that someone comes in soon and continues to operate it as a restaurant … comes through, picks it up and carries on.”
As of Monday, the listing has been on Realtor.ca for 252 days, or about eight months.
Staff “will post an update for contacts to new operators when information becomes available,” reads an online post. People with an unused balance on gift cards can also reach out via email for a refund.
In a voicemail greeting, staff say, “We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the community for your support,” adding, “Thanks for everything, and wishing you the best.”
The closure follows several other restaurant closures in the Greater Victoria area this year, including Old Vic Fish & Chips, Agrius Restaurant and Fol Epi’s Yates Street location.
“When a popular restaurant closes, it is part of the community culture gone,” added Ian Tostenson, president of the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association.
“You then have people out of work etc.,” he told CHEK News.
Tostenson says some new restaurants are opening, but more are closing due to “severe labour shortages and high operating costs,” including labour, rent and food inflation.
CHEK News reached out to Beach House management for comment, including the reason for closure, and will update this story.