After publishing an item Thursday night about the death of former Beach Drive restaurateur Neal Saffer, we heard from his daughter Diane, who shared the photo you see at right, along with a little more history about the restaurant her father ran for a quarter-century (the second paragraph was her response to a followup question):
My parents first moved to West Seattle in 1950. My grandparents, Waite and Crystal Quesnell, originally owned and operated the restaurant, and my parents Neal and Marge Saffer took it over the year of the Seattle World’s Fair.- Century 21. Over the years, many teenage boys had their first job at Quesnel’s and many of those young men continued to be lifelong friends of my parents. All the many waitresses have also become lifelong friends of my parents. My parents closed in February 1986 and was converted to living quarters, where my parents resided until 2004 when they moved to Port Orchard. …
Quesnel’s restaurant was at 4703 Beach Dr SW – the tall tan building on the water side of Beach Drive, at the foot of Jacobsen road. The restaurant was on the main floor, with bathrooms and storage & prep room in the basement, and we lived upstairs from the time I was 12 yrs old. In her later years, my grandma Crystal lived in the little house next door at 4701 Beach Dr until she passed away. The restaurant had a great view of the water, and the islands. It was a small, family dining room with 12 tables, and my dad cooked steaks on a charcoal broiler. There was a window at the charcoal broiler and people would look in and my dad would say hi to them when they first walked in the door. My mom was the hostess, and I began working there at 12 as a bus person, and later a waitress. They also owned The Shack Drive-In on Harbor Avenue and the grocery store next to it. Some West Seattle residents will remember those as well.
(That’s the same Shack from which Java Bean Coffee‘s sign came.) Mr. Saffer died last week of heart failure at age 86 and was buried Friday at Dignity/Forest Lawn east of High Point.