It’s a pandemic-times puzzle that the Seattle area continues to see far more new restaurant openings than closures. Even going into the second year of this thing (and, knock on wood, starting to come out of it!?), the number of permanent shutdowns has been lower than pre-COVID-19. Certainly, more closures have happened quietly; sharing the news, extremely understandably, might not be top priority. And surely, many places have been holding on only by the skin of their teeth, getting what aid they can and trying to make it through — and, hopefully, President Joe Biden’s new $28.6 billion restaurant relief program will help.
Here are the goodbyes at the moment — and from here, to quote Nicole Wilson below, the future is unknown.
Miller’s Guild downtown: The high-ceilinged, handsome steakhouse in the ground floor of Hotel Max since late 2013 is no more. Original co-owners Jason and Nicole Wilson both confirm the closure, stating that they went through a divorce this past year. “Miller’s Guild was a labor of love for me,” Jason reflects. “I still remember uncovering all of the treasures — from the original tile, to removing the dropdown ceiling and discovering beautiful crown ceiling molding work above.” Jason now will run The Lakehouse in Bellevue, which is currently on hiatus; he’s also executive chef of brand-new Cedar + Elm, located at The Lodge at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore. Meanwhile, he says, Nicole took ownership of Miller’s Guild and “made it her own during the challenging odds of the global pandemic.” She’d reopened in November, but with the hotel remaining closed at that point and downtown itself largely shut down, the odds proved too much. “The city is just not as vibrant as it used to be,” Nicole understates. However, she says that the door is open to Miller’s Guild possibly reopening in another location. “The future is unknown,” she observes, and isn’t that the truth.
Floating Bridge Brewing in the University District: May 15 was last call for this friendly place on Northeast 45th, with the owners saying on Instagram that although they “pursued every option, we were unable to reach terms with the landlord that were viable for the business.” They expressed love and gratitude “for five years of amazing memories!” The sentiment was returned by myriad fans, including one who summed it up thusly: “It sucks to see this. I have so many great memories getting beer at FBB in college. It was (and still has been) a go-to spot whenever I get together with my friends. Much love, thanks for all the fantastic beer, and best of luck, Dawn and Russ!”
Bite Box on Upper Queen Anne: A reader emailed to let us know how sad they were to see this neighborhood favorite for breakfast and brunch close up after five years. Owner Sharon Woo Fillingim says that while she was hanging in there financially staying open during the pandemic, “The challenges with COVID-19 and little support from our local government really put a bad taste in my mouth.” She wrote letters to city and state officials, “but to no avail,” she says. Fillingim was previously a partner in Le Reve, then ran the restaurant Grub before Bite Box, all atop Queen Anne Hill, in addition to several other restaurant endeavors around town before that.
Bauhaus in Ballard: This branch of the longtime Capitol Hill cafe closed April 15, thanking customers on Instagram and explaining that, “Our lease is up and after this rough year it is no longer sustainable.” The other location, now located off Broadway near East Mercer Street, remains open.