The roll call of restaurants and bars we’ve lost is getting longer due mostly to the pandemic. Many bistro and bar owners cited drops in neighborhood foot traffic, the continued office closures, the labor shortage and the high cost of food due to a breakdown in the supply chain as reasons they’ve closed shop.
But first some good news — or at least what qualifies as such in these trying times: After social media lost its mind over rumors of Beth’s Cafe’s demise, management from that brunch haunt posted on Facebook that the closure is only temporary and that the Green Lake cafe hopes to “be back in [three to six] months — or whenever COVID is more under control.” Management noted that it “couldn’t get enough business to make it financially viable. … We think a lot of this has to do with COVID and the fact that a lot of people didn’t know we’d reopened from our previous close due to COVID.”
Two other beloved drinking dens we thought already had their last calls, Good Bar in Pioneer Square and The College Inn Pub in the University District, have also found second lives. Seth Howard, Al Donohue and Jen Gonyer purchased the subterranean dive by the University of Washington and upgraded the drink list with hoppy ales from Cloudburst Brewing, which was just crowned “The Brewery and Brewer of the Year” by the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. But fear not, students, The College Inn Pub still carries Pabst Blue Ribbon on draft. “The only menu item that has not returned is the bagel dog — partly due to sourcing issues and partly due to our desire to take the microwave out of the kitchen and shove it in a closet,” said new owner Howard, who also runs Collins Pub downtown.
Good Bar, a popular after-work hangout, has also found a new owner in Erik Hunter, who runs the nearby bar Dead Line. Hunter is keeping the name “Good Bar” but will tweak the menu with small plates inspired by the flavors of North Africa, Southern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. Reopening is expected in October.
Now for the bad news. Here are 11 haunts and cafes we bid farewell.
Corner Spot: The Ballard bar, run by one of the former Zig Zag Café owners, Kacy Fitch, closed this month after its three-year lease was up. Fitch, who has a large following in the craft cocktail community, said he and the landlord couldn’t agree on the terms of a new lease, and Fitch didn’t want to relocate due to all the challenges with the pandemic. His bar was more for the Ballard apartment dwellers nearby than the hipsters and bar hoppers who party on Northwest Market Street. One patron who popped in on the last night was legendary barman Murray Stenson, who came to pay his respect to his old boss. Both worked together at Zig Zag. “I love that man to death,” said Stenson, who stuck around for hours after last call to catch up with Fitch over old times.
Luc and Loulay: The most talked about closures this summer. The beloved “Chef in the Hat,” Thierry Rautureau, an influential figure in the local French cuisine scene, said au revoir to both Loulay Kitchen & Bar downtown and his bistro Luc in Madison Valley. The James Beard Award-winning chef no longer runs any restaurant in Seattle, but fans can hit his new airport project, Lou Lou Market & Bar, set to debut in November at Concourse B of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. In a note to his fans, the chef said he and his wife Kathy will take time to reflect on the future: “In the meantime, Kathy will stay focused on her floral design at flowerworks-seattle.com, and I will finally take the time to work in our garden. We have done the restaurant life for the last 34 years in Seattle and are looking forward to watching the next generation take it over and run with it.”
Totem House: Red Mill Burgers announced that its 10-year lease was up at its Shilshole site, but fans can still get its Bacon Deluxe (and one of the city’s best onion rings) at Red Mill branches in Interbay and Phinney Ridge. Pagliacci Pizza takes over this prime real estate, across from the Ballard Locks. “Red Mill has enjoyed  years in Ballard and decided the time is right to pass the torch to Pagliacci,” said Matt Galvin, co-owner of Pagliacci. “We are thrilled to open a store there. It’s such a lively area, and there is great outdoor seating.”
Luisa’s Mexican Restaurant: Repeated efforts to reach the owner Scott Sellers were unsuccessful. But according to several social media posts and also confirmed by one patron who spoke to The Seattle Times, the owner told customers that the coronavirus pandemic hurt his bottom line, and he couldn’t find enough workers to staff his kitchen. Several customers noted that Sellers walked around the dining room on his final days to thank patrons for supporting his family business over the years.
Uptown Espresso: In a prepared statement, owner Paul Odom said all the homeless folks gathering near his business hurt sales, which led him to shut down a coffeehouse that’s been in the Uptown neighborhood for nearly 40 years. “The original Uptown Espresso was once a thriving gathering place for a lively clientele. Now the biggest issue is the influx of homeless that have congregated. This has made our customers feel uncomfortable crossing the threshold into the store. Not only that, but the living conditions of the homeless have become a health hazard. They frequently use our storefront to urinate and defecate. On top of the global pandemic, this health hazard just compounds the fear and has made it difficult to operate.”
Opus Co.: The closure of this much-loved grill restaurant broke the hearts of many Phinney Ridge dwellers who swear by this neighborhood spot. But one of the cooks at Opus, Paolo Campbell, is partnering with former Rione XIII chef Donnie Adams to hawk Filipino fried chicken out of this tiny space. The counter service spot will be called The Chicken Supply, set to debut in mid-October.
Tim’s Tavern: This North Seattle haunt has been a bar since the post-Prohibition years, though the space was rumored to be a speak-easy during Prohibition as well. It was Jack’s Tavern and later Mackey’s Tavern and unfortunately it might end as Tim’s Tavern. The landlord didn’t renew the lease for this dive bar, so co-owner Mason Reed hopes to find another place with a big outdoor space, likely in an industrial area where he can hold live music venues. “Not everybody gets to go directly to The Showbox or The Crocodile. Our place is where many bands get their first start. We want to continue to be that … we want to keep live music going, man.”
Family Meals: The Sodo-based food delivery service will file for bankruptcy, chef and owner Jesse Smith said in an email to The Seattle Times. Revenues were declining, and with the high cost of food and gas, the business model was not sustainable, he said. The delivery service tried to pivot to a sandwich shop but its industrial locale lacked foot traffic.
Old School Frozen Custard: The Capitol Hill shop announced on Facebook that “like many small businesses impacted by the complexities of COVID, Old School has hit the end of the road.” During its final weekend, the classy owners donated $5,000 in frozen custard sales to the nonprofit Food Lifeline.
clēēn:craft: The Belltown tasting room focusing on sparkling hemp extract beverages is closed, though the owner did not rule out that it may be resurrected in the future.