About

Hidden Harbor Yacht Club has a rich history within the Pacific Northwest. Our Founder John Franco help shape many of the boating activities we still enjoy today.

HHYC Beginnings

Franco's original Restaurant Menu Cover
Curtesy Seattle Public Library

In 1946 Marco and John Franco opened Hidden Harbor Restaurant (previously called the Marina Grill) and it was Seattle's first legal bar. It was located at the Marina Mart on Westlake Avenue.

In the years after World War II, Mr. Franco was a leading restaurant operator in Seattle and played a key role in the drive to legalize the sale of liquor by the drink. In 1949 legalized sale by the drink was approved statewide. This legalization created the financial framework for the growth of fine dining in Washington.

Mr. Franco is also credited with initiating the custom of "SailGating." In the 1950s, he began taking customers by boat from his restaurant's dock to a landing by Husky Stadium for football games, cruising back after the games and serving liquid refreshments while underway.

During the early 70's, a group of boaters met regularly at Franco's, John Franco, Rod Proctor, Bill Doucher, and Jack Hyde were a few of the original founders of the HHYC Club.

Story has it that during the beginnings of creating a Boating club, monies were collected for the club. The group was unsure of how to spend the funds and what should be done with them, so primarily the funds went towards supporting Cocktail Hour.


Thus, HHYC was known as "The Drinking Club with a Boating Problem."

In 1976, the group officially organized and HHYC was born. Franco’s Restaurant became the official clubhouse for monthly meetings. In the early 1980 Franco's experienced a "kitchen fire" that they never fully recovered from.


John Franco was unable to get traction in repairing Franco’s after the fire so the restaurant was sold in 1985.
 
Needing space, HHYC moved to Rock Salt where for years the Nautical Meeting Room and Restaurant Front Moorage was enjoyed by its members. HHYC occupied Rock Salt until the early 2000’s until (to this day unknown reasons) Rock Salt closed their Doors.
 
As we look for a permanent dwelling, we currently use Eastlake Bar & Grill as our Meeting location and Reciprocal  at Harbour Village Marina in Kenmore.
 
Because of our love of boating and the desire to use our boats, we have collected an eclectic group of boating enthusiasts. To this day, many members of HHYC are also members of many other Yacht Clubs throughout the Pacific Northwest.
 
In 2002 Mr. Franco passed away at the age of 93. However, for the past 40 years we have kept HHYC’s founder John Franco’s love of boating alive in the Pacific Northwest.

courtesy of University Of Washington Libaries
Special Collection Division

John's Father, Marco Franco surrounded
by Franco's waitresses 1956