COVID-19 continues to claim restaurants everywhere, with prospects for the future still looking grim heading into fall. Some of these Seattle-area closures are just sad — community favorites lost forever, places for cocktail fun gone dark — but bright spots are to be found, with owners converting to food trucks or deciding to provide us all with more wine. Support the places you love by getting takeout (and tipping big!), if you have the means — they need us now.
Hana Sushi on Capitol Hill: The low-key, low-cost, longtime Broadway standby is gone, leaving fans mournfully recounting three-plus decades of memories of friends, family and fun times inside the spot that functioned as the neighborhood’s Japanese cafeteria. Local high-end sushi hero Shiro Kashiba helped open the restaurant in 1986; it offered Seattle’s first conveyor-belt service, which failed to catch on way back then. They then took out the belt, and Shiro moved on, and the place went strong … until COVID-19.
Silence-Heart-Nest in Fremont: Also open since 1986, this vegetarian standby almost closed last year — the owner’s son decided to continue on after much sorrowful vegetarian outcry, but has now shuttered it permanently.
Cafe Racer in the University District: The beloved, oddball neighborhood hangout was the site of a tragic 2012 shooting, claiming four who will always remain in the hearts of those who knew them. After a near shutdown and new ownership, the place has closed permanently, but lives on in a fittingly sideways, musical and noncorporeal manner — it’s become an online radio station called Cafe Racer Radio. Moreover, it and its Official Bad Art Museum of Art (aka the OBAMA Room) may yet return in a different location, eventually … stay tuned.
Bamboo Garden in Lower Queen Anne: Another veritable institution, Seattle’s only free-standing, certified kosher restaurant closed forever at the end of July, with the owners deciding to retire amid pandemic problems. My colleague Joy Resmovits paid tribute to the cross-cultural joy found along with the vegetarian Chinese cuisine, writing that Bamboo Garden “bred diversity, feeding Buddhist monks, vegetarians and observant Jews, but also familiarity — a place where they could count on running into each other; servers who greeted diners with Hebrew phrases, anticipated your order and remembered your daughter’s age even when you hadn’t been there for a year or two.”
Copal in Pioneer Square: Despite providing picturesque outdoor seating on the cobblestones over the summer, this sunny spot for Latin American-inspired snacks and cocktails where Bar Sajor used to be could not weather the COVID-19 storm.
Amandine Bakeshop on Capitol Hill: “With bittersweet emotion,” Sara Naftaly has closed her Chophouse Row home for some of the best macarons the city’s ever seen, but her sweets may still be found on the dessert menu of neighboring Marmite, which she runs with her husband Bruce.
Suika on Capitol Hill: All the tastes and textures of the izakaya and accompanying drinks here spelled fun — uni shooter with a cocktail served in a personal-sized watermelon, anyone? With the end of the lease comes the closure, but happily, nearby siblings Rondo and Tamari Bar carry on with the same spirit and some of the same menu items.
Marination Station on Capitol Hill: “Thank you for 9 years of aloha on the Hill!” the owners say — this marks the closure of the tiny brick-and-mortar that first evolved from the original truck, but on the bright side, the West Seattle and Denny Triangle locations remain up and running, as well as sister Super Six in Columbia City.
Juicebox Café on Capitol Hill: Fans of this plant-filled little cafe with the plant-forward menu, around since 2013, can console themselves with the juice of the vine — founder Kari Brunson is opening a natural wine shop called Glinda there any day now. “It was time to let it go, given all that is going on in the world,” Brunson says. “Onward and upward!”
Five Hooks Fish Grill on Queen Anne: After serving sustainable seafood since 2012, “the unforeseen pandemic circumstances” forced Five Hooks to close, with the owners thanking fans for their support and friendship. But, they say, “It is not all gloom and doom” — they’ve now got a food truck, with locations on their Facebook.
Lot No. 3 and Purple Bellevue: After 11 years, the Heavy Restaurant Group reports they made “the difficult decision” to permanently close these two places that relied on the kind of corporate events and group dining that COVID-19 decimated. They express extreme gratitude to their staff, guests and the community, noting that seven other locations are up and running, including newly reopened Purple Seattle downtown.
Pagliacci on Lower Queen Anne: The locally owned pizza chain says business fell off dramatically after the sale of the Sonics, with COVID-19 solidifying the decision to close. All employees were transferred to other locations.
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