Hotel History - A peek behind the brick walls of Hotel Mac in Point Richmond

by Matt Larson

They say that a restaurant has to stay in business for about 2 years or so until one can really judge if it’s a successful establishment or not. Hotel Mac in Point Richmond has been in business since 1911, and it’s still a West County staple more than 100 years later.

Many of Pixar’s earliest business meetings were conducted here at Hotel Mac, as Richmond is the birthplace of that revolutionary company. Over the years guests like Hunter S. Thompson and the Hell’s Angels have frequented the establishment, and they were even acclaimed by restaurant critic Duncan Hines as being: One of the exceptional dining establishments in the country.

“Back in the ‘80s we were one of the top 10 restaurants in the Bay Area,” said Chef and General Manager Jaime Molina. “This little town used to be like a pit stop on the way to Oakland—now there’s a freeway where there used to be a boulevard—but the only restaurant in this town was us, back in the early years.”

Hotel Mac was first known as the Colonial Hotel when it was initially constructed, at the cost of only $25,000, by a young Irish immigrant named Kate Riordan; and in the early 1900s most of its clientele was comprised of Standard Oil employees. It was renamed to Hotel Mac in the 1930s after it was purchased by M.V. McAfee, a former manager of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, and who was at the time managing the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley.

As its name suggests, Hotel Mac does also serve as a hotel, in addition to a restaurant, and banquet hall. “We’re known for great prime rib, our service, and a well-stocked bar,” Jaime said. “We have a very continental menu—from rack of lamb to fish tacos; pastas; my version of Hotel Mac paella which has appeared in local newspapers; and again, we