Founded by second generation Italian Americans whose grandparents brought Old World Sicilian fishing practices to Monterey, the Sardine Factory rose from the ashes of the condemned cafeteria of an abandoned fish processing plant in an area that was past its prime. When Bert Cutino and Ted Balestreri opened the restaurant on Cannery Row in 1968, the Monterey fishing business had essentially died out, but 45 years later it is one of Monterey’s “must try” dining establishments.
We were incredibly lucky to have Chef Cutino stop by our table at the end of an amazing meal to share his family’s history in Monterey, the history of Sardine Factory, and the revitalization of Cannery Row. He is a charming man and a delightful story teller whose heart wasn’t in fishing and who started his culinary career by washing dishes as a teenager. In his career, he has cooked for presidents and received many national awards for his culinary talent. If you have 20 minutes to spare, I encourage you to watch this interview with Chef Cutino as part of the Museum of Monterey’s 100 Story Project.
Meanwhile, here is a photo of the Captain’s Room at Sardine Factory…
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