S.F. Cliff House building is on track to reopen as a restaurant in late 2022

The restaurant space that dramatically overlooks San Francisco’s Lands End, formerly known as the Cliff House, may finally serve some food again this year.

The National Park Service, which owns the property, began its formal leasing process Tuesday. Interested restaurateurs have 120 days to submit a proposal. The Park Service aims to choose an operator this summer.

After the Cliff House closed at the end of 2020, rumors swirled about the fate of the historic building, and fans lamented the end of its longtime operators’ 47 years in business. Since then, the Park Service has brought in two short-term pop-up museums, giving the public access to a building whose history dates to 1863. But many have missed dining there, slurping oysters while gazing out at staggering ocean views.

“Now is the time everyone has been looking forward to,” said Charles Strickfaden, director of communications for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a part of the Park Service that includes the Lands End properties.

The federal agency announced last year that it had canceled its 2019 contract process for the site and would start over with a more streamlined approach. The pandemic also made some of the contract language obsolete, Strickfaden said. The new lease includes pandemic-related provisions such as discounted base rent in the early years and the potential for rent modifications or waivers in the case of a development like the government shutting down restaurants because of a global pandemic.

The lease covers about 21,000 square feet at 1090 Point Lobos Ave., which was previously divided into the formal Cliff House restaurant and the more casual Sutro’s at the Cliff House restaurant, plus the cafe at the Lands End Lookout Visitor Center, a small takeout-oriented spot at 680 Point Lobos Ave.

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Parklet at Cotogna, 490 Pacific Avenue in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, July 30, 2020. in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Due to indoor dining being prohibited due to coronavirus pandemic, many San Francisco restaurants have put up "shared spaces platforms" where tables and chairs have been placed on sidewalks and parking spaces.

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If all goes according to plan, the next restaurant operator’s lease will start in late 2022.

Janelle Bitker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: janelle.bitker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @janellebitker