After 32 years as one of downtown’s high-end dining destinations, the Dahlia Lounge is permanently done, owner Tom Douglas has announced. The space will be converted to house Douglas’ Serious Pie, now located around the corner, with the adjoining Dahlia Bakery expanding to fill part of it as well. “I think it’s fair to say the Dahlia [Lounge], among other restaurants downtown, helped solidify Seattle as a destination dining town …” Douglas said via email. But, he noted, “I believe Serious Pie, both our effort and our product, is just as good as the Dahlia and shouldn’t be considered a step back.”
Douglas initially closed all his restaurant group’s properties on a temporary basis just before the government-mandated COVID-19 dining-in shutdown last March. He then announced last July that the closures of Bravehorse Tavern and Trattoria Cuoco in South Lake Union would be permanent. During the pandemic, Douglas has been running Serious Takeout in Ballard, and he has reopened downtown’s Serious Pie and Seatown/Etta’s in Pike Place Market.
Douglas said he’s assessing the economic viability of the restaurants he’s not yet reopened — The Carlile Room, Lola and Palace Kitchen, all downtown. “Where the landlords are considerate of the times we are living through, then I think those places have a shot at reopening,” he related, noting, however, that some of the landlords are struggling as well. “Where the PPP investments can help, we have [a] 24 week on-ramp to figure that out. I am working seven days a week trying to do what’s best for everyone who has a steak (no pun intended) in this.
“There seems to be a perception that when the governor decides we can reopen that it’s akin to turning on a faucet and ‘boom,’ we are reopened,” Douglas said. “It doesn’t work that way, for us anyway.” He cited the need to re-inventory restaurants, figure out menus, and hire and train teams, along with recognizing that “in the downtown environment at least, where all of our businesses reside, business and pleasure travel is virtually nonexistent,” with many workers in the city’s core not returning anytime soon as well.
The existing Serious Pie location is set to become a private event space, according to Amy Richardson, director of business development for Douglas’ restaurant group. Richardson said that the fate of Douglas’ longtime downtown event space Palace Ballroom is yet to be determined, although its equipment was recently sold in an online auction along with some from the Dahlia Lounge.