Dick Shaw loves Gig Harbor and Washington wine.
His family has lived on the peninsula for more than 50 years and he started farming wine in Eastern Washington decades ago. Now he hopes to marry his two loves by bringing Washington wine to Gig Harbor by building a restaurant on Harborview Drive.
“We want to add to the waterfront,” said Shaw, 79. “We grow for about 80 or 90 wines and we want to demonstrate both Washington wines and all the great things about Gig Harbor.”
Shaw works on more than 3,100 acres of vineyards, 90 percent of which are red grapes, on the Henry Earl Estates. Many familiar brands use his grapes.
The restaurant project, which has another year or two before it is completed, recently was brought to the Gig Harbor hearing examiner for review. Shaw said he has not received a response and has more permits to obtain. He also will need shoreline permits and to have ecological impact studies done before he can break ground.
Shaw is the owner of Pleasure Craft Marina in Gig Harbor, which has a sister marina on the Foss Waterway in Tacoma. His new restaurant would be built in the current location of the marina. which would mean removing docks and rebuilding the bulkheads on the lot.
He is working with Gig Harbor architect Jeanne Ratcliffe-Gagliano to bring a modern restaurant with public viewing spots to the waterfront.
“Our proposal is to build a 2,495-square-foot restaurant that would be adjacent to the lift station and welcome plaza,” Ratcliffe-Gagliano said. “We have been working for two years with city staff on this.”
Shaw said the two-story restaurant will offer roof seating and roof access for the public to view the harbor. Its menu and style has not been selected yet, since Shaw is not sure whether he’d rather own and run the restaurant or lease it.
Shaw and Ratcliffe-Gagliano proposed building a staircase between Jerisich Dock and the restaurant to create easy access for the public.
Restaurant ban in Millville?
Shaw’s restaurant would be in the Waterfront Millville Zoning District, which begins at Rosedale Street and Harborview Drive and heads west past Defiance Lane and ends just before Stinson Avenue.
The district has been a topic of discussion among City Council members the past few months.
During the May 14 meeting, City Councilwoman Jeni Woock presented a proposal to ban restaurants from being built in the zone, as a way to appease residents who believe the district faces parking and noise issues. The measure passed unanimously and will be brought to the planning and building committee in August.
Woock said her proposal would not affect current restaurants in Millville, such as Brix 25 or Millville Pizza, as their closing times are grandfathered in from previous ordinances. It likely would not affect restaurants such as Shaw’s, which already have begun the permit process with the city.
“I would actually like to see the area this restaurant is in to be rezoned as commercial, since there are no residential homes across the street,” Woock said. “But I will also say Waterfront Millville has very little parking. That is the concern.”
Woock said that because proposed restaurants in Millville are approved with conditional use permits, the cumulative effect of the businesses is not examined. She fears shoppers and restaurant customers will park on residential streets, and many don’t have sidewalks.
“That’s just not safe,” she said.
Along with street parking, Shaw’s restaurant will have spaces in Pleasure Craft Marina’s small parking lot adjacent to Skansie Park. The city also is requiring Shaw to provide public access on the restaurant’s boardwalk and roof because its location is a prime-viewing spot for the harbor.
“It’s taking away the street view of the harbor,” Woock said. “I would have never voted for this; 68 residents petitioned against these types of restaurants before Millville was rezoned.”
If Woock’s ban becomes law soon, Shaw’s restaurant might be the last one built in the area for awhile.
Shaw says he isn’t trying to take away anyone’s harbor view, but hopes to offer something new for Gig Harbor residents and visitors.
“We are not trying to break any rules or fight up the stream,” he said. “I just think it’ll be a wonderful place in Gig Harbor and I want people to enjoy it.”
Shaw said no one spoke against his restaurant at the hearing examiner meeting June 21.
“I understand there are things happening in Gig Harbor that I’m not privy to,” he said. “Gig Harbor is a special place and people like to come here and enjoy the parks. We want to be here the rest of our lives.”