Owners Brian McCracken and Dana Tough say their other enterprises, Tavern Law and The Old Sage, will remain open.
Spur Gastropub, the groundbreaking Belltown restaurant that debuted eight years ago and propelled its chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough into major players in the Seattle food scene, abruptly closed last Thursday.
Saying that their critically acclaimed bar restaurant hasn’t done as well in the last year, and that their failed fine-dining restaurant The Coterie Room next door added more financial burden on their enterprise, both owners said Monday they had no choice but to cut their losses and move on.
“Spur had a good run,” McCracken said. “But it ran its course, had slowed a bit. We were having a tough time.”
At its peak, Spur was among the first wave of establishments that embraced the craft-cocktail renaissance while doing ambitious gastropub/new American fare.
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By giving equal weight to the dinner and the drinks, and excelling at both, McCracken and Tough became among the most talked about chefs in Seattle, earning national accolades from Food & Wine magazine, among other national publications.
Their encore, the speak-easy bar Tavern Law, which seemed to be modeled after the famed PDT bar in the East Village, was also a hit when it opened in 2009.
The duo had a large following and seemed destined to extend their brand, much like Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell.
But their next two ambitious projects haven’t gone as well: The Coterie Room in Belltown opened five years ago and transitioned from fine dining to an event space after two years; The Old Sage, a smoked-meat-and-whiskey joint that opened more than two years ago on Capitol Hill, is often empty on weeknights.
Both chefs were adamant on Monday that The Old Sage and Tavern Law would remain open, despite several Tavern Law employees saying some of their checks have bounced.
Tough said, “The Coterie Room and Spur have been bringing the financial health of the company down a bit” but neither The Old Sage nor Tavern Law is going out of business. The Coterie Room will remain an event space, they said.
On Spur, both owners said they had tried to keep their Belltown venture afloat, but the restaurant had to close for three days earlier this month until they could replace the $5,000 water heater that blew on April 7. The lost income even in that short time frame was “the nail in the coffin,” Tough said.
“Ultimately, we would have loved to do it right, finish with two weeks out and have a party for everyone who has made it a huge success,” Tough said. “But we just couldn’t support it financially.”