Any list of restaurant and bar closures is incomplete, and this one is likely particularly, woefully so. Even in better times, such an accounting is lacking, reliant on announcements, tips and seeing places dark when they should be aglow. With recent day upon day of record-breaking new cases of COVID-19 locally and a new dining-in shutdown in effect until Dec. 14, many restaurants and bars have closed temporarily, while many others are still making food to go, trying to hang on. (Get takeout to help get them through this!) Meanwhile, there are tense negotiations with landlords and calls for more governmental aid for an industry on the brink.
We can sadly add award-winning, all-organic Tilth and beloved Boeing Field diner Randy’s to this tally, both commemorated in previous stories. And there are certainly more temporary closures that have already become permanent than those listed here. And, doubtless, many more to come.
Yet new restaurants keep cropping up — a lot of them. Some are the product of inexorable plans laid before the pandemic; others are proof of hope springing eternal, with brave souls undertaking new enterprises right now. Best to all struggling out there, condolences to all listed here, and let’s stay safe so that we may get to the other side of this thing with less loss of livelihoods — and lives.
Boat Street Kitchen in Lower Queen Anne: This charming spot hidden away at the foot of Denny started out as a partnership between Renee Erickson and Susan Kaplan, and after Erickson moved on to many more things, Kaplan carried on. Boat Street retained many loyal fans, but after 25 years, the last day of service took place just before the second COVID-19 dining-in shutdown. A note from the staff cited the “the general turmoil of 2020 events,” and said that with the small team there “working over capacity … it is simply no longer sustainable.” With “amour,” they said, “we are forever grateful for your support.”
Steelhead Diner, Blueacre Seafood, Zane + Wylie’s and Orfeo: Rumors had circulated that Kevin and Terresa Davis would not reopen their portfolio of Seattle restaurants — including long-standing, upscale Steelhead Diner in Pike Place Market and downtown’s new Zane + Wylie’s, named after their sons — and a plain-spoken announcement on Facebook finally, regrettably confirmed it. “We met pretty much everyone we know at our restaurants so this is a sad day for us,” it read. “Thank you all for fifteen incredible years. T&K.” The couple understandably didn’t immediately respond to add more.
Manu’s Bodega in Pioneer Square: Chef Manu Alfau says his little Pioneer Square spot got “shut down by the city engineering department on March 9 due to a ton of bricks falling off the top of the building and crashing down on our ceiling.” He hoped to reopen, but it was not to be. Meanwhile, he has temporarily suspended operations at Manu’s Tacos window, Oro Kitchen (at South Lake Union’s Gold Bar) and Manu’s Tacos Truck, saying, “This year should be written off completely and a fresh start should happen once the vaccine arrives.” But there’s a silver lining heads-up: Alfau is taking this time to ready a wood-fired pizza and gelato shop he’s opening in Bremerton in 2021.
Tarsan i Jane in Frelard: “Man needs to choose, not just accept, his destiny,” reads a quote from Paulo Coelho on Tarsan i Jane’s website, and the couple running the Frelard restaurant have chosen to close and return to Los Angeles, as they recently told Eater Seattle. Starting in 2016, chef Perfecte Rocher and partner/co-owner/manager/butcher Alia Zaine served a high-end, all-wood-fired tasting menu — along with excellent paella — to much acclaim, but continuing on a dozen-seat, chef’s-counter scale during COVID-19 was not viable. Now, after some pop-ups and to-go efforts, they’ve decided on a different destiny, and best to them.
Long Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant downtown: After a dozen years at the corner of Second and Stewart, Long Provincial said farewell on Halloween. While thanking loyal friends and customers, they said that with the pandemic’s dearth of office workers, tourists and showgoers, they could not hang on. The family’s original restaurant, longtime favorite Tamarind Tree in Little Saigon, remains open, and they say, “please keep each other safe and continue to love one another through foods and life celebrations.”
Barça on Capitol Hill: After two decades — which is 117 in Pike/Pine bar-years — the high-ceilinged lounge with the huge mirrors, sinuous bar and trio of big, curved-back booths is no more. Manager Dan Carlisle told Capitol Hill Seattle Blog that after considering “50 different ways” to reopen after the March shutdown, they concluded that nothing made sense, financially nor ethically. Barça had no kitchen, but the platter known as the Ham Grab was a happy hour hit, and the general dimness and a long-running jazz night represented a respite from the increasingly frantic neighborhood nightlife. RIP, Barça.
No Bones Beach Club in Ballard: The tropical-themed vegan spot started as a truck, expanded out of state and now has shuttered the original brick-and-mortar location. In an impassioned, hopeful essay on the No Bones website, founder MacKenzie DeVito wrote of waiting to evaluate how to continue operations safely during the pandemic, waiting to see if things got better rather than worse, waiting for the landlord to “listen to reason,” all to no avail. “It’s still up to all of us to use our voices and actions to create positive change for the voiceless: animals, underrepresented communities, and the planet,” DeVito said. “The No Bones team will never be done working for the world we want to see.”
Bar Sue on Capitol Hill: Open since 2013, this low-key spot off Madison is done, thanking “a fantastic staff (family), as well as the best regulars (also family) anyone could ever ask for!” As for the reason for the closure: “Let it be known, it was not COVID that took us, but a building owner unwilling to renew our lease.”
The Boar’s Nest in Ballard: After exactly nine years in the neighborhood, the two friends who started the place wrote a heartfelt post on Facebook, saying that “the hardest part for us is now saying goodbye to you. We will miss providing brides and grooms with their first meal as a married couple. We will miss dodging footballs and bean bags as we set up tailgating tables. We will miss sending graduates off in style with pulled pork and ribs. We will miss all of the crazy events at Safeco and breweries and wineries. And we will miss blaring country music and serving you in our little smoky home in Ballard …” They thanked fans for the memories, laughs and love, and said, “Be good to each other out there.”
Crown Hill Broiler in Crown Hill: “After months of struggling through COVID-19 and the regulations required to operate, we have closed our doors permanently,” owner Ken Naito wrote, expressing appreciation and love for his customers, and wishing “you all the best in health and safety.”
El Diablo Coffee Co. on Queen Anne: After a move to a new space, “It is with a heavy heart …” that they announce that “due to COVID-19, we are unable to provide a safe environment for our employees and guests, and afford to remain open.” El Diablo thanks their “genuinely phenomenal” customers and notes that sister spot Cloud City Coffee in Maple Leaf remains open and will honor all punch/gift cards.
ALSO: A&A Cafe Organic Tamaleria and Cider House on Capitol Hill • Bloom Bistro in White Center • Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in the Chinatown International District • Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Magnolia • Zoëyogurt in Green Lake