As you walk the wide wooden planks toward the end of the San Clemente Pier, Scott Shipley hopes you’ll stop by his Pier Grill & Tackle for a chat and maybe for a burger, a cup of coffee or a chocolate-dipped banana.
Shipley, a San Clemente resident and licensed real estate broker, is an avid fisherman and a former restaurant owner. When the city concession near the end of the pier became available, he decided it was time for a change of pace. He applied for and won the concession to operate a business that rents fishing gear while offering food and locally made souvenirs near the end of the 1,300-foot pier.
In an interview, Shipley talked about how things are faring for his new business during its first summer season.
Orange County Register: What is it like to have a business at the end of the pier?
Scott Shipley: It’s definitely a new experience, like no other food establishment. The best part is having the time to chat with people.
OCR: What are the most popular items on your menu? Any surprises?
SS: It’s no surprise my classic burger with a half pound fresh ground seasoned Angus chuck on brioche bun loaded with veggies is definitely the most popular item. One surprise on the menu is my fresh-made gluten-free fried pickles. I hand-cut the pickles and toss them in rice flour for each and every order.
OCR: How many people order the one-pound burger?
SS: I sell probably two of those a week. It’s usually a teenager with a big appetite.
OCR: You also sell souvenirs. What are the most popular items?
SS: The Larry Beard phone cases are definitely a big hit; his pictures infused onto phone cases. But I always love selling all the local-made things, like jewelry and signs. I have San Clemente Pier t-shirts.
OCR: What kind of fish are people catching? Anything unusual lately?
SS: For people renting fishing poles, I mostly just tell them to try and catch mackerel because it’s so abundant. But we often see calico bass, croaker and an occasional halibut. What…