Seattle's only remaining McCormick's, several favorite bars, one of the (too?) many Capitol Hill pizzerias, and more local spots bite the dust.
Yes, more than a dozen here, but it’s been a couple months since we last looked at shutdowns of Seattle-area restaurants and bars — and many, many new places have opened since then (50-plus!?). Without further ado, the most recent closures:
McCormick’s Harborside: Diners who showed up for reservations at the McCormick’s on South Lake Union earlier this month found it completely shuttered— not a high-water mark of hospitality. McCormick’s is owned by mammoth Houston-based Landry’s, Inc., which is also responsible for Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Rainforest Cafe, Claim Jumper, Morton’s The Steakhouse, and dozens of other brands. Landry’s, Inc. also recently shut down Morton’s downtown, and prior to that, closed McCormick’s Fish House & Bar on Fourth — all with no explanation. The McCormick’s on First closed in 2014. What gives? Yelp reviews indicate that all three outlets seemed to take turns for the worse, but Landry’s, Inc. has not returned messages left in its labyrinthine corporate phone tree, nor emails, nor a recent tweet seeking information. The Bellevue McCormick & Schmick’s is now the only one left in the state; a manager there, while very nice, was unable to speak to the closures.
The Knarr in the U District: At the other end of the spectrum, another Seattle classic bites the dust with the closure of the delightfully divey Knarr on the Ave after 81 years (!). The second-generation owners want to retire, according to Crosscut.com, so they’re selling to a developer who will build apodments. The Facebook photos from the Knarr’s last ride look celebratory, but still: sigh.
Clever Dunne’s on Capitol Hill: The well-worn, well-loved Olive Way Irish bar has closed, and…
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Tini Bigs and Hula Hula in Lower Queen Anne: Owner Keith Robbins has closed his adjacent bars, at his landlord’s behest, to make way for, of course, development. Tini Bigs had been open every day since December 2, 1996. (The marvelous neighboring wine shop Champion Cellars, founded in 1969, plans to relocate at the end of April.) But there’s good news for fans of Hula Hula’s tiki drinks and karaoke — and for Capitol Hill bro-fests and bachelorette parties: That bar is scheduled to reopen in the Clever Dunne’s space in mid-April. Robbins tells my colleague/bar expert Tan Vinh that Clever Dunne’s was not pressured to vacate: “I did not kick them out. Two months ago, they came to us and asked if we would buy their bar. They wanted out.” The owner of Clever Dunne’s did not return calls for comment.
Meltdown Pizza on Capitol Hill: One of the many (and many new) pizzerias on Party Mountain finally, unsurprisingly melted down after less than a year. Owner Josh Carrigan quietly pulled the plug back at the end of November; he recently told Capitol Hill Seattle Blog that he realized “the pizza market was saturated,” thought “Ah, [expletive] it,” closed up and went snowboarding.
Ernest Loves Agnes on Capitol Hill: Owners Jason Lajeunesse and Joey Burgess closed their restaurant named after Ernest Hemingway and his lady love at the end of January, after less than a year and a half. An email requesting details went unreturned. Meanwhile, Brian Clevenger’s Contadino and Pizzeria Contadino has already opened in the space. Clevenger’s on an opening spree: Vendemmia in Madrona in May 2015, East Anchor Seafood next door in March 2016, Raccolto in West Seattle this past November, and now this. The space was formerly home to the storied Kingfish Cafe for almost two decades.
Tigerly Ox in Wallingford: This branch of the Vietnamese spot has closed “due to complicated issues with re-negotiating our lease,” according to their Facebook, but they’ll stay open in Madison Valley and are looking to expand.
Dilettante Mocha Cafe on Capitol Hill: No more chocolate martinis — after 41 years in the neighborhood (some down the street), the Dilettante said goodbye at the end of January. Seven other Dilettante locations remain open.
ALSO: The Icon Grill in Belltown, due to an expiring lease and soon-to-be-demolished building; Coa Mexican Eatery & Tequileria in Maple Leaf, with no explanation, according to Maple Leaf Life; Kusina Filipina on Beacon Hill, with the owners moving to Tacoma; Good Citizen on Capitol Hill, because “Our landlord put us out in the cold”; Banh Mi Unwrapped in the U-District, with heartfelt Facebook goodbyes back in December.