Monica’s at Riverview to open in May, helps establish Waterfront Dining District in downtown Antioch

Old sign and new entrance to Monica’s Riverview restaurant on Antioch’s waterfront.

Improvements include new entrance, two outdoor patios, bakery and sandwich shop; will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner

By Allen Payton

The much-anticipated re-opening of the former Riverview Lodge is still in process, with the reconstruction by building owners Sean McCauley and Ron Harrison, and their crew. Renamed Monica’s at Riverview, the restaurant sits on the dock over the water at the foot of I Street in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown. It has been getting both a serious facelift and major upgrades inside.

It’s named for Monica Barajas, the former partner of MJ’s Café & Bakery in downtown Brentwood and owner of Monica’s Livermore, who, with partner Robert Bonner, will be the new operators.

Construction Foreman Tim Finklea shows the river side patio, bar windows and entrance.

“Robert and I met through my ex-business partner. He was an integral part of that venture starting, having us cater his daughter’s wedding,” Barajas shared. “Then following that, conversations started about opening a restaurant, after I’d had a business plan in my mind to open an all-day breakfast place.”

Bar area with roll up windows on the river side, room from a band and roll-up door to the front patio.

“We opened MJ’s in 2010 at the end of the horrible economic crash,” she said. “I worked there for seven years and Robert was a customer who came in literally, every day. He suggested we open a place in Livermore, and I thought it was a great idea. So, we did.”

Second Location in Antioch

Front patio.

“We wanted to open this business model, elsewhere. So, we were excited when Sean and Ron talked to us about opening a location in Antioch,” she continued. “What we can bring to Antioch is not just good food, but a place to get away from home and have a good experience. We will have live music and are planning on bringing events to the pier, as well.”

But not everything is changing as the “Old Riverview” style and some menu items will remain.

“There will be some nods to the old recipes in our dinner menu, including three items that are Riverview Lodge classics,” Barajas shared. “But we’ll be bringing much of the same menu from our current location.”

Check out Monica’s Livermore website to see their menu of breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert items of made-from-scratch recipes, as well as their variety of beverages, including local wines. See more on their Facebook page.

Just like before, the new Riverview will include a dining room, bar and banquet room, and is retaining some of the original wood paneling to keep the “lodge” look.

Construction crew member Justin Pereira works on the subfloor.

Working since late last summer, the crew has “put in 19 piers for the foundation of the deck,” according to construction foreman Tim Finklea. “Also new joists, subfloor, new girders, new beams and four new ADA restrooms, as well.”

There was an 11-inch sag in the ceiling which they raised up with the beams and the floor was caving in, too, Finklea explained. One of the crew, Justin Pereira was down in a hole in the floor (through which the river could be seen below) working on the subfloor, Tuesday afternoon.

“There will be $40,000 in new windows,” Finklea added.

New and Improved!

The improvements to the iconic restaurant include front and back patios for outdoor dining, room in the bar area for a band to perform, a roll-up door to the back patio and roll-up windows to the front patio for service to the outdoor granite bar that will be installed. It will also include a bakery and sandwich shop with a separate entrance.

Entrance to new bakery and sandwich shop.

“Ron and I are excited to procure such a good operator for the iconic Riverview Lodge. Monica will bring to the new waterfront dining district a fresh and much needed experience,” McCauley said. “We now have two of the largest and most sought-after restaurants on the Delta, coming to the Antioch Waterfront Dining District. They will not only attract Far East County patrons, but we will be a more regional draw for great food and atmosphere.

This is the food establishment that McCauley and Harrison’s have brought to Antioch’s downtown, having purchased the former Humphrey’s on the Delta location, and under the leadership of Randy and Lynn Tei, turned it into Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill, as well as Guadalajara Taqueria, and Chill Tea & Coffee.

The pair expects to also open Chelsea’s, a sushi and Ramen house, with a current location in Brentwood, in the former coin shop on W. 2nd Street in April. Then the pair currently have three more restaurants planned to open in the Waterfront Dining District in the summer or fall of 2021.

Dining room and new main entrance inside.

Grand Opening Planned for May

Hopefully by May the COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted for at least, outdoor dining, if not indoor dining, as well and a grand opening celebration for Monica’s Riverview can be held.

“Robert and I want to be part of giving Antioch what they deserve, which is a vital downtown district,” Barajas added.

Look for more information about Monica’s at Riverview, soon on social media.

the attachments to this post:

Monica’s at Riverview Logo

Front patio

Dining room & new main entrance

River side patio, bar windows and entrance.

Bar area

New main entrance

Entrance to new bakery and sandwich shop

Area for band inside bar

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