Save Walker's Cafe
Save Walker's Cafe
Several weeks ago, Walker’s Café in San Pedro suddenly closed its doors. Concerned about the future of this longtime San Pedro stronghold, I began investigating its history and whether there was any way to ensure its survival. While there is a way for the City Council to save it, without the support of the community and those who have enjoyed the café over the years, I suspect that Walker’s as we know it could be lost.
It didn’t take me long after first moving to San Pedro to recognize how special Walker’s is. It is a genuine, unpretentious, homey space where people from all walks of life—longshoremen and fishermen, hikers, bikers, e-cyclists, firefighters, even soldiers stationed at Fort MacArthur—can come together. Walker’s is truly a place where strangers can talk as friends and neighbors—a rare thing these days.
Walker’s has been playing this role in the community for generations, with origins going back to the 1930s, making Walker’s Café one of the oldest restaurants in San Pedro. As I’ve come to learn, people of all ages remember going there as children and its founder, Bessie Mae Petersen, is a beloved figure. People have told me how she never let anyone go hungry and how that loving spirit lives on in the café, in the warmth that has been kept alive by those who have served beers and ‘Bessie Burgers’ to customers throughout the many decades since it opened. Losing Walker’s now seems unimaginable to me.
The best way to protect the history, culture and spirit of Walker’s is for it to receive landmark status. This would pave the way for the business to continue to operate as it has been, serving the community and visitors for generations to come. For this to happen, Walker’s will need the support of the community and City Council. Councilman Buscaino has supported landmark status for other locations in the area, and I’ve reached out to his office to see if he can do so again.
For those in the community who want to help save Walker’s, please sign the petition or contact Joe Buscaino at email@example.com. Finally, for anyone willing to share their precious memories or photos of Walker’s, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org