A sad farewell to a beloved Capitol Hill restaurant and 13 other bar and restaurant closures
We said goodbye to 14 other bars and restaurants in Seattle and the Eastside. So much Heartbroken customers noted on social media that these haunts weren’t just a place to have a pint or eat spaghetti. They were community hubs for connecting neighbors and friends or for toasting a new job or celebrating a family reunion. Their departures may come as a surprise, but the reasons cited for many will sound all too familiar to you: the fallout from COVID-19 and rising rents.
Dacha Dinerthe stellar Eastern European and Jewish restaurant on Capitol Hill closed March 27 because co-owner Joe Heffernan is leaving for a tech job while other owner and chef Tom Siegel, a two-time survivor of the Hodgkin lymphoma, has health problems, according to the restaurant’s Instagram account. Siegel’s wife, Tora Hennessey, said doctors “spotted an unrelated lesion on the temporal lobe of his brain. Given his high radiation exposure as a teenager during his treatments, the likelihood of it being brain cancer looms large over our future. … In the event of a health problem, I would become my husband’s caregiver in addition to managing the two restaurants, which is not viable. As a result, Tom and I decided to close Dacha. the the rest of the staff will work at their other restaurant, the critically acclaimed The Independent Pizzeria, in Madison Park. She asked customers to “respect my husband’s privacy and not ask any additional questions regarding his health. He is very private but felt that some transparency was needed during this transition.
CJ’s Eaterya 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 customers who dropped by for its Swedish pancake and its chicken sauce 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 never would have come this far without all of you.
Seven Star Pepper Restaurant Szechuan in the International District of 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 on crime in the region and the black market which occupied the parking lot of the Ding How Center, where they had their restaurant. After public pressure, the city eliminated the illegal vendors, but this sweep came after the owners of Seven Stars Pepper had previously called it, saying they felt unsafe after several break-ins. The mall “is really nice now. If they had done it a year ago, I would still be in business,” co-owner Creel said.
West 5: The closure of the West Seattle Bridge plus the fallout from the pandemic were too many hurdles to overcome, so West 5 owner Dave Montoure says he made the ‘heartbreaking’ decision to close his restaurant and bar after 19 years at the junction. Montoure tried to renew his lease to sell his restaurant but could not come to an agreement with the owner. Customers 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 Unnamed Diner Alki closed but will reopen with another restaurant concept under new management, according to the restaurant’s Instagram post.
Salam Falafel closed its cafe in Georgetown but will keep its West Seattle branch and food truck. Like many restaurants, owner and chef Shimi Kahn struggled to find cooks during the labor shortage. “We were too busy and too understaffed at the same time. Kind of ironic really,” the owner said in an email. “I really loved the place, and the neighborhood is super cool. We had big plans to expand and expand it, including adding a stage and holding concerts, outdoor games and a nice seating area. First week of March 2020 I even bought some landscaping plants then COVID hit.
Hawker Brewing closed on its ninth anniversary, as owners and couple Haley and Dave Keller relocate to Tucson, Arizona. The Ballard Brewery District bar was a meeting place for families and a pit stop for the cycling community. The couple posted on their website that “between living through this pandemic and having children, our perspectives and priorities have changed and we are ready for a little less stress in our lives and to focus our energy in a different direction. Peddler has been so much a part of our lives and part of our family for the past 9 years. … We hosted baby showers, proposals and celebrations for many of our friends, and hosted our preschool socials. Our boys grew up napping and playing in parks at the brewery during meetings, and now they love riding the forklift, stroking Simcoe and riding the Strider bike through space. Bickersons Brewhouse in Renton has purchased this dining facility and plans to start brewing by the end of April.
Mark the date: April 9 will be the last call for Hale’s Ales Brewery after 39 years. The news comes as no surprise as owner and brewer Mike Hale announced his retirement last year with a big farewell party in December.
Paragon, after 28 years, will close on April 30 because the restaurant’s owner was unable to reach a rental agreement with the landlord as well as other maintenance issues, Paragon management said in an email. Midway between a neighborhood night out and a nightclub vibe, Paragon has also upped its restaurant game in recent years. Before the lights go out, the kitchen brings back fan favorites including the shrimp kataifi and braised lamb shank from the 1994 menu.
San Fernando Roasted Peruvian Chicken in Rainier Valley is doomed, although its location in Lynnwood remains open. The owner could not be reached for comment, although the restaurant teased on its webpage that a new Peruvian spot is coming to Seattle soon.
The hole in the wall China first is also lined with posters teasing that Call a Chicken will take over this space in the University District.
After nine years in the Hollywood neighborhood of Woodinville, The cities closed and renamed Pablo y Pablo Mexican restaurant, which already has a good track record since the first Pablo Mexican restaurant in Wallingford was packed, especially for brunch. The Heavy Restaurant Group, which owns Barrio and the Purple Café and Wine Bar chain, is behind the two Pablo projects.
After 14 years in Redmond, The stone house could not reach a lease with the building owner and posted his goodbyes on Instagramwriting, “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 have chosen to join us for your celebrations and joyful memories.
And Pub Juanitathe Kirkland dive near gourmet restaurant Cafe Juanita, closed after the property was sold to the founder of Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, as the first reported by the Daily Journal of Commerce.