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Hi Friends!

We have a VERY big announcement to make!

After recently celebrating 35 successful years of business, Marty and I have decided it is time to pass the torch on to someone else! We are selling Princeton Seafood Company!

As much as we love our restaurant, we would really like to spend more time traveling together – Marty did just turn 62 after all, and we want our retirement years to be special! We will dearly miss all of our treasured customers, especially our many loyal locals who have supported and come back to us again and again over the years! Thank you so much for being a part of our story. We couldn’t have done it without you!

At the very end of the post I will share our broker’s information in case one of you would be interested in starting a new adventure of your own! But first, I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of our special history with Princeton Seafood Company….

Let’s go back to when it all started!


In October of 1979, Marty and I moved to California at the convincing of old friend and commercial fisherman Don Pemberton. With Don’s fishing know-how and our backgrounds in business, we were the perfect trio to launch a wholesale fish market! We started with leased space off of Romeo’s Pier where we sold Don’s catch to retail and wholesale markets in the Bay Area. Next we opened up a crab stand in front of Ida’s (now Sam’s Chowder House) and sold both live and cooked crab on the weekends. Marty was often referred to as “The Crab Man” in reference to the shellfish (or at least we hope)!

With Crystal in my belly, this photo truly symbolizes Marty and I balancing our devotion to family with our love for the seafood industry!


Since we dreamed of eventually opening up our own seafood restaurant, we were very excited when the opportunity came up for a spot on Johnson Pier (after the closing of the Sea Witch restaurant). Don’s friend Airline Captain Rick Grether was excited at the chance to invest and helped our team secure the 800 feet location. Little did we know that this would become the permanent home for Princeton Seafood! Through multiple expansions we were able to triple the size of the restaurant!

Marty and I with Don Pemberton wife Katie

Marty and I with Don Pemberton and wife Katie

We were lucky to have help from Marty’s parents in the earlier years. Shirley and Harry Botham joined us in 1981. Shirley had many helpful years of experience as a caterer – she even developed our famous clam chowder recipe that we still use today!

1983 - Local newspaper article

1983 – Local newspaper article


We also had an 18-ft fish counter known as the “ocean on display” where the front dining area currently sits. A few years later we added the ice cream/take-out window and the fish market was transitioned out of the dining area.

By the mid-eighties Marty’s parents were ready to retire for a slower-paced life in Ukiah, California. Soon after, we were ready to open up for dinner and we added our first char-broiler to meet the demand for more healthy seafood items. In addition, Manuel Silva was hired as our kitchen manager and chef and stayed with us more than 15 years.


In 1988 we entered the Knight’s of Columbus Clam Chowder Cook-Off. Thirty teams would compete in the local competition and during the 3 years in a row that we participated, Princeton Seafood took home the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards! As a bonus, one year we even took home the best-dressed award!


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More recently, in 2008, Marty and I spent months watching a beautiful wooden fisherman come to life as he being carved by Magnus Sandblom. We knew we just had to have him! It has been really fun seeing all of the photos that friends, family, and customers have shared of Magnus over the years!


In the fall of the same year we started up a car show here in the harbor called Cool Harbor Nights. An inspiration from our son’s interest in classic cars, and a unique way to bring the community together, we started hosting it every first Thursday of the month until sunset. There were many fun successful evenings as the show continued to grow with new participants each month! Proceeds from the raffle always went to a local non-profit.


Finally, in 2016, we will get ready to say Good Bye. While we will miss the restaurant, we are even more excited about this new chapter in our lives! We have a travel trailer that is just the right size for us and our two dogs – we can’t wait to begin our first trip! Yellowstone perhaps? The possibilities are endless!

On behalf of Marty and myself, THANK YOU for all of your many years of laughs, loyalty, and support! If you have a special memory of Princeton Seafood Co. that you’d like to share, please do!


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** Our Broker’s information: David R. Worden & Amy Worden, Windward Commercial Real Estate Services

650.726.1031 650.619.0553


Thirty-five years ago, Mary & Marty Botham landed their own space at 9 Johnson Pier with dreams of building up a terrific seafood restaurant and welcoming gathering spot for the locals. They started small with 800 square feet and a handful of employees and have since expanded to include 3 times the space and a staff comprising of more than 40 individuals.
In the picture above, the Bothams are standing in front of a crab tank (much smaller than the one we have on display in the fish market today) and to Marty’s left sits the 18-foot fish counter known as the “ocean on display.” This was a time when an order of fish ‘n’ chips cost less than $3 and a Bud or Coors was 75 cents. It was a time when chain stores on the Coastside were essentially unheard of, and a fish and game license only set you back $50 (today it’s nearly $2,000!).
While a lot has changed since the early 1980’s, we like to believe that the important stuff stays the same. For example, our commitment to preparing quality dishes and providing a place for our growing Coastside family to gather.
We look forward to seeing you around soon!


On Monday, Sept. 29., Princeton Seafood Company will be taken over by the 19 girls that make up Half Moon Bay High School’s varsity and junior varsity cheer teams. They will be demonstrating some cheers, assisting the wait staff with orders and collecting tips to support their teams. Being a cheerleader is a lot of work! I caught up with varsity cheer captain, Darragh White during a free period last week and she filled me in on a bit of what life as a cheerleader is like. Come by Princeton Seafood Company on Monday, Sept. 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. to cheer on the cheerleaders and help fund their activities.


HMB High School Junior Varsity Team


Magnus: How did you get involved with cheerleading? 

Darragh: I came from a private school to public school and I’ve been dancing my whole life so I thought I’d try out for cheer.


Magnus:What kind of dance?

Darragh: I’ve danced competitively since I was 3 years old. I’m classically trained in ballet, contemporary, jazz and acrobatics.


Magnus: Wow, you’re probably very flexible!

 Darragh: Yeah.


Magnus: What do you like about being a cheerleader? 

 Darragh: It’s just a way for me to be involved. I’ve made kind of a family with the other cheerleaders.  


Magnus: How much work do you have to put in?

Darragh: We practice 4 days a week after school from 3:15 to 5:30 — or 6 on some days — so we put in a lot of of effort. We choreograph dances and stunts.


Magnus: How much money are you hoping to raise at the Tip-a -Cheerleader event?

Darragh: As much as we can…we do make a lot of money doing Tip-a-Cheerleader.


Magnus: What do you plan do with the funds you collect at the event? 

Darragh: Probably use it for spirit funds…helping out cheer camp and uniforms for next year


Magnus: Where do you go to camp? 

Darragh: We either go to Santa Cruz or sometimes we go to Lake Tahoe. 


Magnus: Any stereotypes or myths about cheerleaders you wish to dispel?  

Darragh: People think we’re kind of dumb. We’re really not… it’s just as hard as any sport (and) we have one of the highest GPAs at the school in regard to sports.  


HMB Varisty Team 


Come see the Gray Whales out in Half Moon Bay

Whale watching opportunities abound as the migrating gray whales journey south from Alaska to the warmer waters of Baja California and, during a time when the cetaceans are being spotted at such record levels, now might be just the time to hop onboard and book a whale watching trip at Pillar Point Harbor.

“Normally this time of year it’s awesome!” Enthused Zach Burham who currently works at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing & Tackle. Burham used to be a deckhand for the Queen of Hearts and says he has fantastic memories from his many boat trips. “Literally we have whales breaching 10 feet from the boat,” he said.

The Queen of Hearts is just one of several vessels taking groups on whale watching tours right now.

Captain William Smith (known by many as “Capt. Smitty”) is the owner/operator of Riptide Sportfishing and has lead numerous whale watching trips.

Echoing other whale watchers and boaters, Smith said you never know what you’ll see out on the waters day to day. From sea birds, to porpoises to sea lions and jellyfish … “you need to go with an open mind,” Smith emphasized. “Everyday on the ocean is different.”

Tom Mattusch, owner and captain of the Huli Cat, said he’s spotted the gray whales early this winter while on fishing and crabbing trips but managed to miss them the last couple times he’s been out. Mattusch attributes the increase in gray whales this year to the tremendous amount of available feed—including sardines, anchovies and California market squid—which may be drawing the whales in.

However, Susan Sherman a naturalist with the Oceanic Society says it’s too early to explain the increase just yet and adds that it’s unusual for whales to be feeding during migration.

Still, even if we can’t quite explain why there seems to be more whales out there. No one seems to be complaining.

“It’s great to see one well or a couple really well,” Sherman said of the cetaceans spotted on the trips. “It gives you the sense of size.”

Something Mattusch says can really strike awe in humans.

“It’s difficult to explain,” Mattusch said. “You’ve got an animal so big its heart valves are the size of manhole covers…. it’s all really amazing.”


Whale watching trips can be booked through any of the businesses and organizations listed. Most run for 3 hours and cost around $40-$45 per person.

 *Photo by Thomas Johnson/Courtesy of the Oceanic Society

“It’s awesome, but gross!”

Tegan Mansell, 9, summed up the general consensus in the Sea Crest science room with this statement during a special clam dissection last Wednesday morning. “Sadie, feel the stomach with your bare hands!” she enthused, directing her classmate to run a finger over the slippery football-shaped organ.

At the conclusion of a study on clams, the third graders counted the ridges on the shells to find out how old their subjects were (often up to 5 times older than the students themselves!) and navigated their way through the bivalve’s innards “It’s harder to see the inside parts than it is on paper,” explained Oscar Hernandez, 10.

Princeton Seafood Company thanks Phil Bruno at Exclusive Fresh for donating the clams and allowing us to provide them for the students!

Then later in the week, the Sea Crest students got a special tour of our restaurant. We put them to work too! Here our some of our drink servers posing with Mary & Marty.
For more photos check out Facebook page.
As always, we hope to see you in our dining room soon. (We promise not to make you bus your own dishes!)

Magnus Johnson
Restaurant Watchman, Storyteller & Wooden Fisherman statue
Before March can end I wanted to throw in one last hurrah for Women’s History Month and introduce you all to a female fishermen here at the Pillar Pt. Harbor. Meet Heather Shirley or simply “H”. Heather says she doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t fish.
When she was a girl she used to catch trout in the Walla Walla River near her home in Oregon. Today, she’s a deckhand for hire, ready to assist on sport fishing trips as she’s done for Huli Cat and Queen of Hearts (to name a couple). It’s a demanding job, Heather admitted, with days when she’s up at 4:30 a.m. ready to embark on a fishing trip and then back scrubbing the deck late at night. You might see her driving the forklift on the pier or stacking the crab pots.


“Every day is different,” Heather said. “It’s a really unique job and a lot of it depends on Mother Nature.”
Heather’s also known to make a mean crab chowder.


And speaking of chowder… Princeton Seafood makes a pretty fantastic version with clams. In fact, it’s award-winning.
Hope to see you around soon!


Magnus Johnson
Restaurant Watchman & Storyteller

P.S. Ever stop to admire these friendly, female figureheads?


Trust me, I do! Did you know that figureheads were first were placed on ship sterns in the sixteenth century? More than just an ornament, these wood-carved beauties often helped seamen identify themselves in illiterate societies. Mary and Marty inherited these gals when they took over the space more than 30 years ago. We believe they really add a level of elegance here at Princeton Seafood Company. Sometimes they can even be seen modeling our T-shirts!

Marty’s Garlic Crab



This is not the kind of crab dish you’d eat in your

Sunday’s finest says its creator, Princeton Seafood Co-Owner Marty Botham. It can be quite messy and takes some time but Marty assures us that it is well worth the effort and is perfect for low-key, backyard dining.

Serves 4

1. Take 4 freshly cooked, cracked crab. Then cut the body section of each crab into four pieces.

2. In a saucepan, melt a pound of butter with a quarter cup of Italian salad dressing and 4 tablespoons minced garlic. Once the garlic is cooked (careful not to burn it!) add a pinch of lemon pepper seasoning.

3. Layer your crab pieces on a cookie sheet and generously paste the garlic marinade on the pieces with a pastry brush. “You’re trying to get the garlic on each part of the crab,” Marty says. Let this marinate for 20 minutes.

4. Heat the crab in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Pull it out midway through to paste with your garlic sauce again.

Grab yourself a cold beer, head to the backyard and you’re all set!


The famous Lady Washington is heading to our fine harbor and is set to dock at Pillar Point tomorrow, Nov. 9. Movie buffs will recognize her from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and perhaps even Star Trek Generations.
Although she won’t be passing out autographs, she will be offering tours and giving rides. Check out this website for her schedule and to purchase tickets for the rides. Feeling hungry later? Come grab a delicious seafood dinner at  Princeton Seafood Company!

Magnus Johnson
Restaurant Watchman & Storyteller

Princeton Seafood Company is offering up a little something new we’re calling Seaside Bites. Think appetizers, think tapas, think delicious… Our Executive Chef, Dan Vickers, has a passion for food and it really shows in his creations. You can enjoy these menu items at $2 off with half off all beers and wines when you order Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Scroll below for pictures and descriptions and let your mouth water!

Seared sea scallop sliders seared with garlic-infused Asian glaze share a bun with spicy mayo and  slaw.      

Reve le Mer dip (or Dream of the Sea!) features a robust, creamy dip of crab, artichokes, red snapper, fresh dill, and mild jalapeno. Served with our housemade tortilla chips.

Italian stuffed mushrooms are filled with our own blend of spinach, shredded Parmesan, garlic, white wine and sourdough crumbs.  

Fritto Misto, a traditional Italian mix fry with  calamari, artichokes, zucchini. All served with a lemon-garlic aioli.
And for a sweeter seaside bite, we’re also offering deep-fried lemon with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream a drizzle of mango sauce.


On Monday, September 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. the restaurant will be graced with the presence of 22 lively cheerleaders! For this Tip A Cheerleader event, the Half Moon Bay High School Junior Varsity and Varsity squads will trade their pom poms for notepads and pens. Working for the night as servers the teams will save their tips for cheerleading scholarships. Assistant Coach Susan Royce says cheering costs can add up and the team is hoping to take home between $1,000 to $1,200 for these scholarships. Royce says the school is also hoping to add extra tumbling classes and your generous tips could go toward funding that as well.
Magnus Johnson
Restaurant watchman, storyteller & friendly wooden statue
Princeton Seafood Company

Look What's Happening



    Hi Friends! We have a VERY big announcement to make! After recently celebrating 35 successful years of business, Marty and I have decided it is time to pass the torch on to someone else! We are selling Princeton Seafood Company! As much as we love our restaurant, we would really like to spend more time traveling together – […]

Throwback Thursday: This was us 35 years ago!

Throwback Thursday: This was us 35 years ago!

Thirty-five years ago, Mary & Marty Botham landed their own space at 9 Johnson Pier with dreams of building up a terrific seafood restaurant and welcoming gathering spot for the locals. They started small with 800 square feet and a handful of employees and have since expanded to include 3 times the space and a staff comprising of more than […]