We bid farewell to 14 more bars and restaurants in Seattle and on the Eastside. As many heartbroken patrons noted on social media, these haunts were not just a room to down a pint or chow on spaghetti. They were community hubs to connect neighbors and friends or to toast to a new job or to celebrate a family reunion. Their departures may come as a surprise, but the reasons given for many will sound all too familiar: the fallout over COVID-19 and rent hikes.

Dacha Diner, the stellar Eastern European and Jewish restaurant on Capitol Hill closed March 27 because co-owner Joe Heffernan is leaving for a tech job while the other owner and chef Tom Siegel, a two-time Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, has some health concerns, according to the restaurant’s Instagram account. Siegel’s wife Tora Hennessey posted that doctors “spotted an unrelated lesion on the temporal lobe of his brain. Given his heavy exposure to radiation as a teen during his treatments, the likelihood of this being brain cancer hangs in our future. … Should any health issues arise I would become my husband’s caregiver in addition to running both restaurants, which is unsustainable. As a result, Tom and I have decided to close Dacha.” The remaining staff will work at their other restaurant, the critically acclaimed The Independent Pizzeria in Madison Park. She asked patrons to “please respect my husband’s privacy and do not ask additional questions regarding his health. He is very private but felt some transparency was needed during this transition.”  

CJ’s Eatery, a Belltown haunt couldn’t recover from the challenges of the pandemic, so after 27 years, management posted a goodbye on its front door, breaking the hearts of many patrons who swung by for its Swedish pancake and chicken gravy only to read this announcement: “We want you to know how incredibly lucky we feel to have had so many amazing guests and staff walk through our door. We would have never had made it this far without you all.”

Seven Stars Pepper Szechwan Restaurant in the Little Saigon closed after nearly 20 years, a bittersweet end for owners Michael Creel and his wife Yong Hong Wang who have been most vocal during the pandemic about crime in the area and the black market that occupied the parking lot of the Ding How Center, where they ran their restaurant. After public pressure, the city cleared out the illegal vendors but that sweep occurred after the Seven Stars Pepper owners had already called it quits, saying they felt unsafe after several break-ins. The mall “is really nice now. If they would have done that a year ago, I would still be in business,” said co-owner Creel.

West 5: The West Seattle Bridge closure along with the fallout from the pandemic were too many obstacles to overcome, so West 5 owner Dave Montoure said he made the “heartbreaking” decision to close his bar restaurant after 19 years in the Junction. Montoure tried to get his lease renewed to sell his restaurant but couldn’t reach an agreement with the landlord. Patrons can still get West 5’s signature mai tai at the upstairs bar inside Easy Street Records & Café, and its signature mac and cheese at the nearby Peel & Press restaurant. Montoure, meanwhile, still runs the seafood restaurant Kettlefish in Silverdale and is opening a second branch in Gig Harbor. Also in West Seattle, the No Name Diner Alki closed but will reopen with another restaurant concept under new management, according to the restaurant’s Instagram post.

Falafel Salam closed its cafe in Georgetown but will keep its West Seattle branch and food truck running. Like many restaurants, owner and chef Shimi Kahn had trouble finding cooks during the labor shortage. “We got too busy and too understaffed at the same time. Kind of ironic really,” the owner said in an email. “I really loved the spot, and the neighborhood is super cool. We had big plans to grow and develop it, including adding a stage and holding concerts, outdoor games and a nice seating area. First week of March 2020, I even purchased plants for landscaping and then COVID hit.”

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Peddler Brewing closed on its ninth anniversary, as owners and couple Haley and Dave Keller are moving to Tucson, Arizona. The taproom in the Ballard Brewery District was a hangout for families and pit stop for the biking community. The couple posted on its website that “between living through this pandemic and having kids, our perspectives and priorities have changed and we’re ready for a little less stress in our lives and to focus our energy in a different direction. Peddler has been so much of our lives and part of our family over the past 9 years. … We have hosted baby showers, proposals, and celebrations for many of our friends, and hosted our preschool socials. Our boys grew up napping and playing in playpens at the brewery during meetings, and they now love riding the forklift, petting Simcoe, and riding their Strider bikes around the space.” Bickersons Brewhouse in Renton bought this taproom and plans to start brewing by the end of April.

Mark the date: April 9 will be last call at Hale’s Ales Brewery after 39 years. The news isn’t a surprise since owner and brewer Mike Hale announced his retirement last year with a big farewell bash in December.

Paragon, after 28 years, will close on April 30 because the restaurant owner couldn’t reach a lease agreement with the landlord along with other maintenance issues, Paragon management said in an email. Paragon, which straddles between a neighborhood hang out and a nightclub-esque vibe, also upped its dining game in recent years. Before it turns out the lights, this Upper Queen Anne haunt is bringing back fan favorites including the shrimp kataifi and braised lamb shank from the 1994 menu.

San Fernando Roasted Peruvian Chicken in Rainier Valley is boarded up, though its Lynnwood location remains open. The owner could not be reached for comment, though the restaurant teased on its webpage that a new Peruvian spot is coming soon to Seattle.

The hole-in-the-wall China First is boarded up as well with posters teasing that Call a Chicken will take over in this University District space.

After nine years in Woodinville’s Hollywood District, The Commons closed and rebranded into the Mexican restaurant Pablo y Pablo, which already has a good track record since the first Pablo Mexican restaurant in Wallingford has been crowded, especially for brunch. The Heavy Restaurant Group, which owns Barrio and the chain of Purple Café and Wine Bar, is behind both Pablo projects.

After 14 years in Redmond, The Stone House couldn’t reach a lease agreement with the building owner and posted its goodbye on Instagram, writing, “our dining room has celebrated countless moments and created lasting memories from birthdays and first dates to anniversaries and celebrations and most often a simple dinner to connect with family and friends. … I am honored that you chose to join us for your celebrations and joyous memories.”

And Juanita Pub, the Kirkland dive near the fine dining restaurant Cafe Juanita, closed after the property was sold to the founder of Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, as first reported by the Daily Journal of Commerce.