Hog Island Oyster Company has continued its expansion on the eastern shore of Tomales Bay with its purchase of Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, announced on Tuesday.
According to John Finger, a co-owner of Hog Island, owners Anton and John Konatich approached him earlier this year with the idea of the purchase.
He said Hog Island has grown so much he has to turn customers away, and that he and his co-owner, Terry Sawyer, had been talking about opening a restaurant in West Marin.
“When I think back to the original idea about the kind of place we wanted to have, this is it,” he said. “An old, kind of funky seafood place right on the water. It’s an iconic place and I’m excited to pay homage to the Konatich family while keeping it Hog Island at the same time.”
The Marshall restaurant had been closed since January. A press release said the Konatich brothers retired that month, following 69 years in business.
The “Tony” in the restaurant’s title refers to its founder, Anton Konatich, who launched the eatery in 1948. He and his wife, Mary, emmigrated to the United States in 1926 from the Island of Iz in the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Croatia.
The family settled in Marshall to operate a commercial fishing business, and acquired a mission-style stucco church in 1937.
In 1948, they built a small addition on the property and opened a restaurant, which at first had only four tables. The business became famous for its Friday night specials of fisherman’s stew, prawn stirfry and cioppino.
Anton Konatich died in 1969 and the restaurant was passed on to his son Felix and his wife Anna, along with their two sons, John and Anton, who eventually inherited the restaurant in the early 1980s, around the same time Hog Island was founded.
Mr. Finger said they’ll keep the Tony’s name and try to retain as much as the original staff as possible. They could open as soon as mid-July, and hope to add Thursdays and Mondays to their regular hours. Friday locals nights could be moved to Thursdays sometime down the line, he said. The menu won’t see many changes, but there will be a new raw oyster bar, a staple for Hog Island.
Paul Reffell, a Marshall resident, said that with the new owners may come increased traffic, but that they’ll surely maintain a welcoming feeling for locals.
“But we can’t expect Tony’s to stay the same, considering the popularity of Hog Island Oyster Co.”
Hog Island leases 160 acres of Tomales Bay and sells over five million oysters, Manila clams and mussels annually. Earlier this year, the company purchased the 250-acre Leali Ranch to allow for the business’s expansion across Highway 1.