The building that today houses the Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill is located on the shore of Lake Merritt, originally a tidal estuary formed by several creeks.

The Lake gets its name from former Oakland Mayor, Samuel Merritt, who oversaw the damming and clean-up of the estuary in 1868. Funding the project with his own money, Merritt laid the groundwork for the urban sanctuary know today as Lake Merritt.

The Lake was further transformed into a recreational park around the turn of the 20th century when roads and paths were built. In 1925, the Lake got its famed Necklace of Lights.

The core structure that has become the Lake Chalet was constructed in 1909 as a high-pressure salt water pumping station for the Oakland Fire Department. John Galen Howard designed the original concrete building.

In 1913, Walter D. Reed designed two additional wings which were built to serve as a municipal boathouse and the Lake Merritt Boathouse was born. The expanded structure included locker rooms, a tea room and several restaurants and became the spot from which boating excursions and regattas were launched.

The original pumping station remained in operation until 1955 when building was converted to offices by Oakland Superintendent of Parks William Penn Mott Jr. who moved his staff there from downtown.

The Lake Merritt Rowing Club has used the lower south wing of the building for their activities since 1961.

A public/private partnership between the City of Oakland and the Chalet Proprietors made the renovation and rejuvenation of this building possible. A process that took place over 5 years.

Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill, opened in August of 2009, was created by veteran restaurateurs Gar and Lara Truppelli (Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant and Park Chalet Garden Restaurant in San Francisco). The opening of Lake Chalet coincided with the 100th anniversary of the original structure and represents a significant milestone in the history of the building and the neighborhood, a fact warmly noted by Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums at the ribbon cutting for the restaurant. 

The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill is proud to be part of a rich Oakland history and will continue to be the city’s destination for good times and even better food.