The Admiral Risty Restaurant, 1966 to 2016
From Our Humble Beginnings
Memories and Milestones, 1966-2016Built in 1966, the Admiral Risty Restaurant is a landmark that is treasured by generations of Peninsula and South Bay families. For fifty years, loyal patrons have chosen The Admiral Risty as their favorite place to celebrate the special occasions in their lives from birthdays to anniversaries, wedding receptions, retirement fetes, graduations, even memorials.
Founder, the late Ralph M. Wood Jr., was a visionary who opened more than 25-plus restaurant operations including juice bars, fast-food, and dinner houses during his storied 60-year career in the hospitality industry. For Wood, a passionate sailor and fisherman, the scenic, bluff side setting overlooking the blue Pacific was the perfect location for The Admiral Risty.
Groundbreaking took place in Golden Cove Center in December 1965. Jerry Moss was the property owner and Matt Brunning was the contractor. A Safeway market and a Bank of America branch office were the only businesses in the Center at the time.
Wood named the restaurant for his beloved wife, Barbara Ristrom Wood, whose
college roommates affectionately called her “Risty.” Risty Wood was the real Admiral Risty.
The restaurant’s interior design showcases a seafaring ambience with nautical themed stained glass, ceramic and glass tile murals, three-dimensional carved wood whale accents, whale-shaped corbels on the tables and seashell lighting- all of which are a testament to Ralph and Risty’s love of the sea.
A Stroll Down Memory Lane
1966: The Admiral Risty opened for dinner on Monday, October 10. Original menu featured just six entrees for adults, two for children. Steak & Lobster
Combination cost $4.25. Longtime patrons fondly recall the large bowl of chilled green salad served family-style with Ralph’s Bleu Cheese dressing or old-fashioned French dressing with capers. 1969-1974 Wayne Judah is hired and serves as Manager. 1973: Restaurant undergoes first remodel.
Edward Carson Beall is the Interior Designer. Outdoor deck is enclosed, railing added. 1979: Wayne returns as Manager. 1980: Admiral Risty wins First Place Blue Ribbon in commercial division of San Pedro Fisherman’s Fiesta Annual Cioppino Contest. 1982: Restaurant undergoes second remodel. Celebrates with Expansion Celebration!
1986: Hosts 20th Anniversary Alumni Celebration. 1987: Restaurant undergoes third remodel. South end of the dining room expanded, bar and lounge enlarged.
1991: Co-Owners, Ralph, Risty and Wayne host three-month long 25th Anniversary Celebration featuring contests, prizes, trips. Receive many prestigious awards from state and local officials. Awards displayed on Walls of Honor throughout restaurant. 1999: Captain’s Quarters tented banquet facility erected. 2000: Admiral Risty receives first Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. 2002: Admiral Risty voted BEST in record-setting four categories: BEST ROMANTIC DATE, BEST VIEW, BEST SEAFOOD, BEST MENU in Daily Breeze annual Readers’ Poll. Restaurant launches first “Winning Fare” Community Donation Program, which it hosts for nine subsequent years. Admiral Risty donates 2,464 $25 restaurant Gift Certificates totaling $61,500 to more than 65 Peninsula and South Bay nonprofit organizations. 2004: Jimmy Faustino voted “Waiter of the Year” by SCRW. 2006: 40th Anniversary Celebration! Unique “Founder’s Challenge Contest” to guess number of dinners served in 40 years. Answer: 1,706,943! 2008: Ralph and Risty receive Matt Brunning Business Excellence Award from Palos Verdes Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. 2008-09: Admiral Risty receives two FOUR STAR awards, one each for Seafood and Sunday Brunch, as well as Wine List of Distinction award from SCRW. 2010: Restaurant undergoes major exterior remodel; interior is refreshed, updated. 2011: Ralph receives Certificate of Appreciation from SCRW for having met their highest standards during 60 year career. Restaurant also receives FOUR STAR awards for Seafood and Sunday Brunch plus Wine List of Distinction Award from SCRW. 2011: 45th Anniversary Celebration of consistently excellent food and service. Hosts Favorite Memory Contest. Receives BEST Ocean View Dining in Daily Breeze annual Readers Poll. 2012: Barbara “Risty” Wood passes away at age 87. 2012-2013: Admiral Risty receives two FOUR STAR awards, one each for Seafood and Sunday Brunch, as well as Wine List of Distinction Award from SCRW. 2013, 2014, 2015: Thanks patrons for their loyalty and marks 47th, 48th and 49th Anniversaries with $10 OFF purchase of two dinners or two Sunday Brunches. 2015: Founder, Ralph M. Wood Jr. passes away at age 90. Wayne and Jan Judah acquire full ownership of The Admiral Risty. 2016: The Admiral Risty marks historic 50th Anniversary! Hosts 50 week celebration with weekly drawing for $50 Gift Certificate; free specialty desserts for couples celebrating 50th anniversary or anyone celebrating 50th birthday. Photos of winners posted in entry for all guests to enjoy. Complimentary recipe cards for Signature items; entertainment six nights a week in Seaside Lounge.
“I credit The Risty’s longevity to 50 years of community support, consistently good food and service and never resting on our laurels, “said Judah. Further, he shared that getting to know as many as five generations of family members has been one of the best personal rewards of the business.