Pioneer Square's seeing a couple shutdowns, including the branch of Rain Shadow Meats there (last day: May 18). But — food news alert! — vaunted Seattle chef Scott Carsberg will make his long-awaited comeback in the neighborhood later this year.
It’s been about a month since we last chronicled Seattle’s crazy restaurant churn — and for those keeping score, that tally was 15 closures versus 52 openings (!), not to mention 9 new bars (cheers!).
And while the news out of Pioneer Square here doesn’t look good, when two restaurant doors close in Seattle, two more — at least — open. A new branch of chef Renee Erickson‘s much-lauded General Porpoise Doughnuts is already open in the neighborhood (with yet another newly ensconced in the Amazon Spheres). And — food-news alert! — chef Scott Carsberg has chosen Pioneer Square for his long-awaited return, reprising his restaurant Bisato there later this year, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce. Carsberg (like Erickson) is a James Beard award-winner, and he’s often been hailed as a food genius. He ran his high-end, critically acclaimed Lampreia, followed by ahead-of-its-time small-plates Bisato, for 20 years in Belltown, closing it in 2012. Now Bisato will be reborn in the classic Trattoria Mitchelli space at the foot of Yesler, which has been vacant for almost a decade. Carsberg hopes to get Bisato up and running there this fall — or at least by the holidays.
Meanwhile, the new numbers on the last month of Seattle restaurant action: 27 openings versus the following 9 closures (with new restaurant occupants already refilling several of those!).
Pittsburgh Lunch & Superette in Pioneer Square: After listening to her customers, chef Una Kim changed her charming little spot on Yesler from The Faerie Queene to Pittsburgh Lunch about a year ago, adding the sundries-shop Superette in the front. But at the end of 2017, despite the pivot, she says she was still struggling with finding staff (during a shortage of restaurant workers in Seattle and beyond), balancing the price point against expenses (in an increasingly expensive city), and making time for family (she lost her father last June). She also notes that “you can’t blame everything on construction” — rampant in Pioneer Square — but “it sure doesn’t help the situation.” She’s decided to focus solely on the profitable catering arm of her business, saying, “After almost 20 years of putting my career ahead of living a balanced life… it just isn’t for me anymore.”
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Rain Shadow Meats in Pioneer Square: The Capitol Hill location of the locally sourced butcher shop remains at your meat service, but butcher/owner Russell Flint is calling it quits after five years at the branch also serving sandwiches in Pioneer Square — last day: May 18. Flint, too, notes the neighborhood’s torn-up streets as a contributing factor, saying in a press release that “The closure is due in part to a significant rent increase, coupled with a recent drop in sales as a result of debilitating construction surrounding the immediate area.”
Los Pollos Hermanos in Shoreline: The popular Peruvian chicken place with the “Breaking Bad” name shut down a couple months ago, saying via Facebook, “Thank you to everyone who joined us at Pollos Hermanos. We are closing our store so we can enjoy our time with family and friends.”
Zippy’s Giant Burgers in Georgetown: The White Center location of the burger favorite remains up and running, but the second outlet shut down at the end of March. According to West Seattle Blog, owner Blaine Cook said via social media that “it’s become quite apparent that I don’t have the personality or the temperament to oversee the operations of two restaurants.”
Ramen Bushi-Do in Issaquah: The ramen restaurant from the owners of Dough Zone apparently couldn’t achieve the popularity of their dumpling places — it closed at the end of 2017, with family-owned Orenji Sushi & Noodles already installed in the space by the new year.
The Butcher and the Baker in Green Lake: The well-liked Latona sandwich spot is no more. But something very promising is already on its way: Frelard Tamales co-owner Osbaldo Hernandez confirms they’ve taken over the space and hope to have online ordering/pickup ready by next week. Their reportedly excellent work, so far only available at farmers markets, comes from Hernandez’s family recipe.
The Original Pancake House in Ballard: My Ballard reports that fans of the pancake franchise now must journey to Redmond or Bothell, and that the space will be reborn as Crown Hill Broiler.
Bai Pai in Ravenna: The longtime neighborhood Thai restaurant is gone, but a new neighborhood Thai restaurant is already in its place: Hua Sai Thai Fusion & Lounge, from the same owners as Ban Hua Sai on Roosevelt.
Lotus Asian Kitchen & Lounge on First Hill: The restaurant across from Vito’s appears to be permanently closed, with a handwritten sign on the door offering no clue as to the reason.
RELATED STORY: 27 more restaurant openings in Seattle and on the Eastside