Dexter Filming Locations: Lumen's Seaside Cafe

DEXTER Filming Locations - hundreds of actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.

The location: Lumen's Seaside Cafe

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A café or diner.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. Somewhere down by the docks, in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. Twice in Episode 5, of Season 5, "First Blood".

    Dexter has rescued Lumen Pierce, a near victim of Boyd Fowler, who witnessed Dexter kill Boyd.

    After he's convinced that he can trust her, Dexter lets her go free (from the cabin where he had been holding her captive).

    Uneasy about her knowing his secret, he's eager to get her out of town and out of his life.

    Unfortunately, Lumen wants to stick around. She suffered greatly at the hands of Boyd and his fellow perverts, and she wants revenge.

    In the first scene, we see Lumen sitting alone at a table - in a diner down by the docks - nervously tearing up packets of sugar.

    Dexter enters, spots her, and joins her at the table. Out the windows, we see large ships moving down the channel behind them.

    She isn't happy to see him, and vice versa. She realizes he wants her gone.

    He tells her she should go home, and forget about what happened.  She says she can't, and asks him to help her find and kill the guys who abused her.

    She tells him, aloud, that she saw him kill Boyd and that he knew what he was doing. Dexter looks around nervously, afraid that someone might have overheard her.

    He tells her that killing them won't help her, that it would just make matters worse. But she isn't listening.

    He gives her a plane ticket so she can go home, but she doesn't appreciate the gesture, and only sees it as evidence that he wants to get rid of her.

    She takes the ticket and leaves.

    In the second scene, Lumen returns to the diner to find Dexter waiting for her. He tells

    He asks her if she plans to kill them, if she finds them, and it's obvious that she does.

    She resents his interference, and makes it clear that she isn't going to take his advice.

    When she gets up to leave in a huff, Dexter reaches out to stop her, but she suddenly yells "Don't touch me!", causing everyone in the diner to turn and stare.

    Dexter warns her that these are dangerous men - but she gets up and leaves.

    He realizes that she's not going to stop until she finds her attackers.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A café down by the docks.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot at a seaside tourist center called Ports O'Call Village, located off Sampson Way Nagoya Way, on Berth 77 in San Pedro, CA.

    It sits right on the edge of the docks, overlooking the main harbor of the Port of Los Angeles - the busiest port in the United States. As such, ship-watching is one of the location's natural attractions. Stick around for a while, and you're sure to see some impressive ship pass by - whether it's one of the giant cargo container ships or a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Not to mention the giant freight elevators that line the channel, endlessly lifting cargo containers on and off docked ships.

    Not long ago, Ports O'Call was a thriving tourist attraction, featuring quaint New England and Mediterranean architecture, and a host of unique shops and restaurants.  Today, it's a faded shell of its former self. The city plans to tear the Village down eventually, and build a new project on the same property. But for now, it still stands, and a few of the businesses have managed to survive - this casual diner is one of them.

    The restaurant where they filmed the scene is known as the Boardwalk Cafe (or perhaps the Boardwalk Grill - both names appear on the outside of the small building).

    As its name suggests, it's right on the boardwalk at Ports O'Call, on the edge of the waterfront. They serve baby back ribs, hamburgers, fish & chips, etc. There's also a patio area outside, for an even closer view of the port's main channel and the passing watercraft. The large clipper ship you see docked just outside the windows, in the scene, is one of the Spirit cruise ships (Spirit Cruises and the Boardwalk Grill have the same owner).

    I shot these photos of the Boardwalk Grill when they were filming at Port O'Call, in 2010.

    And this is the rear of the cafe, showing the four windows seen behind Dexter & Lumen - from the outside.

    Here is an aerial photo of the café. And here is a map link.

    ( They returned to Ports O'Call later in this season to film at another restaurant, for the scene of Lumen buying a knife.

    In previous seasons, they have filmed often in the San Pedro area around Ports O'Call, including the cargo containers (where Dexter searched for a kidnapped Debra in Season 1), the train car (where a copycat killer left a victim's remains, in Season 2), the dock where divers recovered the remains of Dexter's victims, the gang murder scene, and the related scenes of Little Chino's party house, the tagger chase, and Paul's funeral church.
    Plus, nearby you'll also find Freebo's house, Billy Fleeter's house, Zack's house, Debra's Blue Room bar, the pier where Dexter met with Prado, the young pimp's motel, the apartment house where Angel & LaGuerta got shot at, and the warehouse where Trinity forced the woman to jump..

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A.  I've been going to Ports O'Call for decades, so I'm sure I would have recognized the channel. However, pinpointing the exact restaurant they used might have been tricky, since there are several nearby.

    Fortunately, I got a tip from Rick that they were filming at the Village, so I went down there to check it out. I spotted their familiar white trucks in the parking lot near the middle of the center, and when I strolled through the Village, I saw that they were filming at the Boardwalk café. So I shot a few photos.

    (And later, once the episode aired, the sight of the Spirit ship outside the window was added confirmation.)

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