Hunter Steakhouse in Oceanside, CA

Hunter Steakhouse in Oceanside, CA
While visiting my son on the west coast a few weeks after his return from Iraq, I had the opportunity to enjoy a superb Lemon Drop at a lounge located in the basement of the Hunter Steakhouse.

Built on the site of an old cemetery, there are many reported sightings of paranormal activity.

The Buena Vista Cemetery was the resting place for many early settlers in the area from the 1880’s to about 1900. In 1952, a fire destroyed most of the wooden markers indicating the exact location of the bodies.

In 1970, when Interstate 5 was being built through the area, the property that included the cemetery was sold to be used for commercial purposes.

A company was hired to move the bodies to another nearby cemetery, but most residents believe many of the corpses were not found and moved.

Construction crews were said to find bodies on the site when they began their work. When government employees were called to come to the site, and remove the remains, the construction workers were appalled at the treatment of the dead. The bones were tossed into a burlap sack, and thrown into the trunk of a car.

When more bodies were discovered, the workers themselves reburied the bodies down the hill from their original resting places.

In 1971, the Hungry Hunter Steakhouse opened on the site of the old cemetery. Many employees over the years have reported seeing apparitions, including a woman dressed in old-fashioned clothing, an older man, and vague misty shapes.

Often workers will hear their names being called, although they are alone in the building. The alarm system goes off for no reason, lights flicker, and chandeliers shake. Incredibly loud banging noises are heard from the attic, but nothing is ever found.

Female workers sometimes feel their skin or hair being stroked. One waitress, alone in the building late one evening, heard a “wolf whistle.”

Wine bottles rearrange themselves, doors open and close by themselves, and beer bottles fall off their shelves.

The credit card machine has been observed to work on its own, and the refrigerator door will sometimes lock itself. There are even a few icy cold spots in the restaurant.

I visited with the bartender, Kyle Gaines, while I was enjoying the delicious Lemon Drop he had made for me. Kyle has been working at the Hunter Steakhouse (changed from the Hungry Hunter in 1996) for three years. Late at night, when he is alone in the restaurant, cleaning up and getting ready to close, he sometimes hears his name being called.

Kyle says he doesn’t feel any fear about the incidents. He has been aware of paranormal activity since he was a kid. He used to hunt for arrow heads with a friend who lived near some old Indian burial grounds, and he “used to feel things out there”.

Kyle added an interesting bit of information to the story. There are some people around the area who believe the site of the Hunter Restaurant was actually a Native American burial ground before the settlers were interred there! Is it any wonder the Steakhouse has some unsettled entities residing within its walls?


Lamb, John J. San Diego Specters. San Diego: Sunbelt Publications, 1999.

Wilkens, John. San Diego Union-Tribune. April 24, 2005.

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