Breaking news from Catalina Island

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RESTAURANTS AND SHOPS TO TRY

The iconic El Galleon Restaurant has been acquired by the owners of Bluewater Avalon, Jimmy Ulcickas and Richard Staunto, along with local entrepreneur, Caleb Lins, and other local investors, to update the historic destination for the next generation of Catalina Island visitors and locals.

Opened in 1967 by Jack and Nora Tucey on Crescent at Front Street, El Galleon is an Island institution known for its eclectic atmosphere, extensive menu and karaoke bar.

The new owners have maintained the legendary El Galleon name and concept, updated the interior and simplified the menu to combine the most popular items – ribs, steaks, prime rib and chicken, classic sandwiches and burgers, and fresh, locally sourced fish in season – with a series of rotating specials. El Galleon’s lively karaoke bar, neighborhood happy hours and year-round holiday parties will remain.

Toyon Grill by Bluewater is now open and is a result of a partnership between Bluewater’s owners and the Catalina Island Conservancy. Located at the new Trailhead Visitor Center, which also has a retail store, tour operation, gallery and roof deck that doubles as an educational, event and wedding venue, Toyon Grill is named after the Toyon bush, or California Holly, native to Catalina Island and Southern California. According to legend, the Toyon is so plentiful in Southern California that developers of Hollywood mistook it for “holly” and named the burgeoning community “Hollywood” by mistake.

Consistent with the Conservancy’s commitment to sustainability, Toyon offers fresh, hyper-local ingredients. Along with breakfast, lunch and dinner, Toyon will feature specialty coffees, small-batch craft beers, cocktails and California wines. Grab-and-go picnic boxes will be available for adventurers exploring the island. Much of the Pacific swordfish, white seabass and other fish served at Toyon Grill will be caught in waters off the Island by Bluewater’s own boat, Pilikia, or by local fisherman.Info: 310 510 8599

HISTORIC HOTELS REOPEN

The famous  Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel, originally built by the prolific writer Zane Grey in 1927, will reopen summer 2019. Perched cliffside overlooking Avalon Bay, the newly- renovated hotel will offer expansive views from its 17 rooms. The Zane Grey Society provided consultation on the design and all care has been given to maintain the historic Hopi Pueblo style and décor of the original hotel. With sensitivity to the history of the property the hotel is being upgraded to 21st century standards. Guest rooms have been expanded and windows added to offer scenic valley and ocean views. The hotel will also offer a restaurant, swimming pool and roof deck. Info: 310-510-1520

After a complete renovation, Hotel Atwater will accept guests beginning August 11, 2019. Named in honor of Helen Atwater Wrigley, wife Philip Knight Wrigley, Hotel Atwater originally opened in 1920, ushers in a new era for Catalina Island as a popular getaway for everyone from Hollywood’s elite to hardworking mainlanders looking to escape their hectic lives.

Just a block from the beach in the heart of Avalon, one bedroom suites feature king beds, one and a half baths, and a separate living space with seating, bar and desk areas. Some suites offer views of the harbor; others offer mountain views. Standard rooms offer king or queen beds, and separate seating and desk areas.  All rooms are equipped with refrigerators, smart TVs, luxurious linens, high end fixtures and quality finishes throughout. Info: 877.778.8322

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