Morro Bay inn owners ran one of town's first sit-down restaurants

Special to The TribuneJuly 13, 2014 

In January, Morro Bay 50th recognized Bud and Rita Anderson.

During Morro Bay’s incorporation, they owned and operated The Galley Restaurant and Bayshore Fish Market. In 2005 they re-invented their waterfront site to become the Anderson Inn, owned and operated by their children, Rodger, Mollie and Jeff.

The modernized Galley Seafood Grill & Bar is leased to partners David Peter, Henry Galvez and John Anderson.

Bud Anderson was born in San Luis Obispo in 1925, and his family owned the historic Anderson Hotel. He and his wife Rita moved to Morro Bay in 1958.

Bud was hired to host at Dorn’s Original Breakers Café. After working there about six years, he ran into Florence Wilson at Bank of America, the only bank in town.

Florence’s husband, Bill Wilson, was a fisherman.

“They owned the fish market and had opened a restaurant. I asked how it was going and Florence answered, ‘Why don’t you buy it?’” Bud recalled. I never thought we could afford it, but Rita thought we should.”

“We tried a lease/buy deal for six months and took title in 1964,” he said. “The first City Council had businessmen serving — all knew what it took to make a payroll, but it was still difficult to get all the permits and remodel done. I don’t think I would do it today.

“We finally opened March 24, 1966. We were the fifth sit-down restaurant on the Embarcadero.”

Bud said that Bill Wilson fished mostly for cod by dropping hand lines down 400 feet outside the bay. When he returned, he’d dock at the restaurant and amaze customers by pulling up the fresh-hooked cod right in front of their window.

“(Dallas) Lindsey brought us the best salmon,” Bud said. “David (Peter) tried to work for us before he was 14. We knew it was his dream to own the Galley. When our kids preferred to run the Inn, we called David.”

At age 9, Jeff was filleting fish in the market for 10 cents a pound. Mollie was 13 and Rodger was 15 when they started working in the restaurant.

Mollie grew up to play professional golf, while Rodger ultimately served as mayor.

“Over the years, we trained hundreds of Morro Bay High School students,” Bud said. “We wanted good students who were good citizens. Customers asked where we found such great employees.”

“My favorite part when Morro Bay incorporated was our own police department,” Rita Anderson said. “It used to take an hour to get a deputy here.”

“We were a funky restaurant but understood customer relations and good food would keep us competitive,” her husband said. “Whether we’ve lived here 54 years or 54 weeks, we all have the same rights and responsibilities — to be kind to each other and make decisions based on what is best for Morro Bay.”

Judy Salamacha's column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.

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