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By Breeana Greenberg

Turning back the clock to 1972, when a top sirloin steak cost $4.95, the Wind & Sea will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a week of special anniversary menu prices.

“We’re looking forward to a fun, celebratory time and a week of reduced prices and big volumes and, hopefully, a fun event for all the people that have supported us for 50 years,” restaurant owner Bob Mardian said.

The special anniversary prices, which will run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, are the Wind & Sea’s way of saying thanks to its loyal patrons who return year after year, Mardian said.

“Who knew that 50 years later, I’d still be at the helm of Wind & Sea?” said Mardian in a recent media release. “These 50 years have been incredible to watch the restaurant grow, build relationships in our community and serve people the best food, day in and day out.”

Surviving 50 years in the restaurant business—an exceptionally tough business, Mardian said—required exceptional vigilance, consistency, and loyal returning customers.

“You have to be ever-present and always mindful of what’s going on, what’s coming in the front door and what’s going out the back door,” Mardian told the Dana Point Times last week. “You have to keep up the same energy levels as I did in 1972.”

Multiple generations of employees have worked at the Wind & Sea, with dozens of employees working at the restaurant for three or more decades.

“That’s really been one of the big benefits that we never anticipated; we now have some of the grandchildren of some of the original employees that worked for me,” Mardian said.

“So, the families—it’s fair to say that the Wind & Sea is truly part of the fabric of the local community, Mardian continued, later adding, that “the people come from the same families and continue the tradition of working at the Wind & Sea, and that is reflective of the continuity that it takes to be successful for 50 years.” 

(From left) Wind & Sea General Manager Jay Styles and owner Bob Mardian will celebrate the restaurant’s 50th anniversary on Monday, Aug. 22, with a private event. The Wind & Sea will also offer a special anniversary menu from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3. Photo: Courtesy of the Wind & Sea

The legacy and longtime employees help keep the dining experience at Wind & Sea consistent across the decades, a secret to the restaurant’s longevity, Mardian said.

Mardian said restaurant owners have to consistently be “whatever you are, whatever you were and whatever you will be. If your customers believe in that consistency and that operation, they’ll come back.”

Looking toward the future, Mardian noted that he’s worried about how construction during the Harbor Revitalization will affect his customers.

“Wind & Sea has been perennially, by far, the busiest restaurant in the harbor and has remained so to this day,” Mardian said. “So, we’re looking forward to the new harbor. We’re weary and concerned about how we’ll survive during the construction period.”

Mardian opened Wind & Sea in the Dana Point Harbor on Aug. 22, 1972, and has run the restaurant to this day, opening several other restaurants in Dana Point and Hawaii.

To celebrate the date of the 50th anniversary, the Wind & Sea on Monday, Aug. 22, will host a private event; however, the restaurant will be open to the public after 5 p.m.

“Our guests make every day special, and our employees are the backbone of our operation,” Mardian said. “My mission has been to treat every one of our employees like a member of my family. This business has always been very personal to me, and I appreciate our employees and our guests more than I can say. Thank you for an amazing 50 years.”

Breeana Greenberg

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at bgreenberg@picketfencemedia.com

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