The outdoor dining patio of El Paseo. Courtesy image.

PictureEl Paseo owner Sammy Hagar and his wife Kari enjoy brunch at the restaurant in spring 2018. Courtesy image.

With an array of business interests, a popular Rock and Roll Road Trip TV show, a new album on the way and a concert schedule that runs through his annual, multi-day “Birthday Bash” shows at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in October, legendary Mill Valley musician Sammy “the Red Rocker” Hagar is an extremely busy guy.

The need to tend to those ventures – and “to be able to spend more quality time with my family” – has precipitated Hagar to close his El Paseo restaurant at 17 Throckmorton Avenue, effective immediately. The move ends a run that began in 2009 when Hagar and celebrity chef Tyler Florence took over El Paseo, parting ways a few years later and eventually Hagar bringing in acclaimed chef Todd Shoberg.

In a note to customers this week, Hagar wrote: “After 7 years, this wonderful, beautiful, passionate labor of love has become far too time consuming for me. I’m in the process of finishing a new album with “The Circle” (Hagar’s band with Michael AnthonyJason Bonham and Vic Johnson) and need to concentrate on my music, my performances and my TV series.”

“The day to day problems of operating a restaurant have prevented me from doing a lot of the things that I need to be doing,” Hagar continued. “You might say that I have been dealing with a lot of headaches and have simply run out of aspirin.”

Hagar did leave open the possibility that he would revive El Paseo later in the future, writing. “Once I get to the Birthday Bash in October, I will revisit El Paseo, build a team and start over from scratch. Thanks to everyone for all of your support, and in the meantime, please visit some of the other great restaurants in downtown Mill Valley.”

The shutdown ends, at least for now, a run for El Paseo in the landmark, exposed brick-laden space that stretches between Throckmorton and Sunnyside avenues and dates back to the original El Paseo opening in 1947. It also brings to a close the latest exciting chapter for El Paseo that Hagar began when he brought in Molina creator Shoberg and widely known Bay Area restaurant manager Cassie Corless in 2017.

During that time, El Paseo hosted a series of Dine for a Cause events benefitting local nonprofit organizations for Ritter CenterAmbassadors of Hope and Opportunity and SF-Marin Food Bank, while Hagar and friends regularly performed a benefit concert for Kiddo!, the private foundation that supports arts education and other programs within the Mill Valley School District.  

Stay tuned…

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