Locals were shocked and distraught to read and hear on Saturday afternoon that Walt’s Wharf was closing its doors. A notice posted on their door and on their Facebook site seemed to indicate it was for good. But other conversations from people who know people who know members of the Babcock family say the closing is only for the duration of the emergency. The OC Register/LB Press-Telegram (they’re basically one paper now) has the story.
An I love Walt’s Wharf facebook page was quickly started up with many local sharing Walt’s memories. The restaurant also provided some of the first jobs for many Los Al Griffin students and alums.
Walt’s was started in 1970 by local dentist and avid fisherman, Walt Babcock, and his wife, Mona, and except for a brief interlude in the 1980s when it was a night club whose loud music ran afoul of its neighbors, it has been a Seal Beach institution. The building has a significant history of its own — it had previously been the home to a market serving “foods of the world,” and back in the 1920s and 1930s, a gambling joint with a not too secret house of ill repute operating upstairs, operated by Mildred Blankenship. That business must have been quite successful because Blankenship also owned the corner lots where the Bank of America and Hennessey’s are located, as well as the lots where the church and city hall are now.