The new year brings plenty of Seattle restaurant news, with more places closing down — but the majority of them are rejiggering or immediately being taken over. The boom goes on!?
Charlie’s on Broadway: One of the last original dives on Capitol Hill — complete with an admittedly mediocre restaurant beloved for its pepper pot soup and a mannequin riding a bike in the bar — Charlie’s first shut down in 2015. Public outcry ensued, and an unlikely rescuer arrived: the Lodge Sports Grille chain. Some noted the company’s approach — “It starts with a space, usually with a previous life and use. We gut it, leaving only the bones. From there it begins” — with skepticism. Charlie’s reopened with a slicked-up, sports-bar-like atmosphere in the front and much less of a party in the bar in the rear.
Maybe that layer of dust and oddity had magic in it — now Charlie’s is closed again. A sign in the window blamed “economic factors of the restaurant industry,” but the company behind the Lodge Sports Grilles is in bankruptcy, with owner Shawn Roten telling Capitol Hill Seattle Blog that he had to close underperforming locations, including Charlie’s. “I was a little overaggressive on expanding,” he told CHS. “In six months, we’ll be OK.” He further observed that Charlie’s is/was “a mom-and-pop organization kind of place,” opining that if ownership wanted to actually “be there every day, they could definitely make it work.” If you’re that mom and/or pop, Charlie’s is once again for sale.
Ed’s Kort Haus on Phinney Ridge: Another thing keeping Seattle weird bites the dust with the demise of Ed’s Kort Haus, a dive known for it exotic burger options — everything from alligator to wild boar, with camel, kangaroo and reindeer in between. In business since way before Anthony Bourdain made extreme eating a popular sport — 36 years — the Kort Haus makes way for … a new development.
Morton’s The Steakhouse downtown: The chain steakhouse — owned by Landry’s, Inc., which operates 500-plus restaurants worldwide, including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Rainforest Cafe, McCormick & Schmick’s and Claim Jumper — is no more. Landry’s, Inc., has not returned a call about the nature of the closure, but there’s a lot of steak in town that’s not owned by a mammoth corporation, from old-school El Gaucho to newcomers FlintCreek Cattle Co., Bateau and Seven Beef.
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Bourbon & Bones in Frelard: Those in the neighborhood report that the barbecue spot with the custom smokehouse is closed, its Facebook account appears moribund and its voicemail is full.
NOW CLOSED, BUT NOT FOR LONG
Liam’s in University Village to become Ba Bar III: Kurt Dammeier (of Beecher’s, Maximus Minimus, the Butcher’s Table, and more) gave no reason for this recent closure, only leaving a short-and-sweet note on the website. The (very!) good news: Restaurateur Eric Banh tells my colleague Tan Vinh that a third iteration of the super-delicious Ba Bar will be taking over the space. (A second Ba Bar just opened in South Lake Union; the original’s on 12th, near Seattle University.)
Fatburger on Alki to become B’s Po Boys:West Seattle Blog reports the new Cajun restaurant will be run by a couple from Indianapolis, while Fatburger presumably met its demise because people just didn’t like it very much.
Bar Noroeste in Denny Triangle to become Kiki Ramen: Josh Henderson says it’s a “pivot” for high-concept Noroeste, which made Mexican food with all local ingredients. Ramen should be an easier sell.
Sazerac downtown to become TBA: The Hotel Monaco restaurant is scheduled to reopen in mid-March with an as-yet-undetermined new name and some not-at-all-unfamiliar stuff: “A simple, seasonal fare perfect for sharing … flatbreads from the brick oven … shareable pastas … brown liquors, house infusions, tinctures and specialty cocktails with locally distilled spirits.”
Bell + Whete in Belltown to become TBA: Slated to rejoin the world of commerce this spring, the as-yet-unnamed new iteration of Bell + Whete will “refocus on its beer program,” with a brewing system in the main dining room, and “reconfigure its entire food menu to be daily use & neighborhood centric.”
The Pink Door in Pike Place Market to stay the Pink Door: The longtime favorite is closed for remodeling, set to reopen in March.
NOT CLOSING AFTER ALL
The Queen City Grill in Belltown: This wood-paneled classic bar and grill almost shut down at the new year, but the owners of Chavez and Cantinetta stepped in (and will likely step the place up!).
Clever Dunne’s and Good Citizen, both on Capitol Hill (timelines unclear, but don’t delay if you want to say goodbye); Kusina Filipina, a local Filipino lunch spot on Beacon Hill (last day Jan. 26); the Icon Grill in Belltown (last day Jan. 28); Ernest Loves Agnes on Capitol Hill (last day Jan. 31); Redwood on Capitol Hill (last day not ’til Nov. 16, 2017, but “it’s 10 months of knowing, so we hope to enjoy it to the max”).