The Reuben E. Lee was a 19th Century style paddle wheel boat docked in Newport Bay, right along Pacific Coast Highway, between Dover Dr and by Bayside Drive, as you cross over the bridge. The boat is still there, though it's no longer named "Reuben E. Lee". In 1995, it was renamed "Pride of Newport".
But the REL was a floating restaurant. It opened in 1964. It closed up for service probably 10 years ago. There is a similar "Reuben E. Lee" in San Diego, that shut down in 2003. Today, it is home to the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum. There is still a restaurant inside called, "Anthony's Riverboat Restaurant".
Below are memories of REL submitted to us back in the old days of OCThen.com:
By: Curtis Lofgren, 11 Aug 2002If you have any memories of the Reuben E. Lee, please click on "Post a Comment" below and share them with us here.
Worked at the REL from 82-83...worst possible place to work in the entire world, universe, galaxy and...you get the picture. 100 degrees in the summer, 40 below in the winter and the plumbing?....there was none....just flush and see it go overboard....the powers that were placed hidden tapes of frog noises outside the gangplank...overall, the most amatuerish and scummiest of jobs...oh yeah, and the fish?...FROZEN!!!
By: Terry, 2 Apr 2002
I remember driving by the REL and seeing it tilted to one side. My husband stopped the car and we watched while the fire department tried to figue out how to get a VW bug out from UNDER it. Well, they waited for the tide to change a pulled it out with one of those really big tow truck What I always wanted to know was ...How it get there in the first place
By: Andrew Musselman, 29 Nov 2001
My friend scott Hollender and I used to pull a small boat up to the Ruben E Lee and have a meal. Great times!
By: Jerry Parker, 12 July 2001
In 1967 I was a buss-boy at the Ruben E. Lee, for a short time. It was quite a boat. When the Newport Beach Fire Boat zoomed past, the whole restaurant would rock and sway. I never saw any plates slide off tables, but the patrons would stare intently at their coffee or water glasses.