Notable Seattle-area restaurant closures that we’ve covered recently in these (electronic) pages include James Beard–nominated Sawyer in Ballard (the chef grows weary of 15-hour days), longtime Burien favorite King Wha (the owners are retiring), Ballard’s promising new Bunsoy (with the chef moving on in an unspecified direction and the owners reconfiguring as seafood-oriented Sailfish), and beloved First Hill classic Vito’s (after fire-related damage, with fingers crossed for reopening).
While a half-dozen more permanent shutdowns are listed below, note that despite recent tribulations, the local restaurant and bar scene remains robust — with fewer closures than in pre-pandemic times plus many openings, as well as promising change-ups such as the two here. Onward and, it is hoped, upward!
Wayward Vegan Cafe in Roosevelt: Open since 2004 with a couple of moves to more capacious spaces along the way, family-and-friends-run Wayward proudly served “veganized American diner-style food,” as their website put it. Now the time has come, the owners said via Facebook, “to see what else is out there,” continuing, “There’s no real way to express what our community and staff has meant to us over the last nearly decade and a half, but suffice it to say it’s the world.” Wayward meant the world to its staff and patrons over the years, too, with hundreds of them expressing both heartbreak and best wishes. As one devotee wrote, “Thank you for all you have done for the vegan community. You will be deeply, deeply missed.”
Golden City in Ballard: After 34 years, this neighborhood standby is no more, with bartender and night manager Kiris Koontz telling My Ballard that while the owners wanted to sign a five-year lease, the landlord was only willing to extend a yearlong one. “The majority of our clientele are regulars, and we’re basically one big dysfunctional family …” Koontz said. “I’ll miss it a lot.” One regular returned the sentiment, noting on Yelp, “Last night at Golden City! End of an era. I will cherish the memories and friends I’ve made here forever!”
Kidd Valley in the University District: The local burger chain closed down its original location — open since 1976 — with the company saying on Facebook, “Unfortunately, the store needs to be remodeled to bring it up to energy, safety, and standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in this inflationary environment, it is too expensive.”
Ballard Station and Ballard Hockey Bar in (yes) Ballard: Construction of a new 238-unit apartment building means the demise of these sibling bars, with co-owner of both Jesse Young telling My Ballard that they wouldn’t close if they weren’t being forced to, but that they cannot stop the project. “We are so thankful for the Ballard community’s support, especially as we navigated the challenges of the pandemic …” he wrote in an email. “We sincerely hope to raise a glass with the folks of Ballard again soon.” To that end, he said, “We would love to relocate either and/or both locations … but have not been able to find a spot yet.”
Eastlake Bar & Grill on Eastlake: After 18 years, this neighborhood spot will become an event space through the end of 2022, with the landlord subsequently intending to redevelop the property into apartments.
AND TWO CHANGE-UPS:
tsukushinbo in Japantown: Fans of this tiny sushi spot — open since 1994, family owned, and so known and beloved it doesn’t even have a sign — have probably until the end of the year to enjoy it in its original incarnation, according to co -Owner Marin Caccam. After that, she and her brother Sho Caccam will not only reopen Tsukushinbo as Onibaba, an onigiri-focused spot, they’ll also debut a bigger two-story place next door for sushi, izakaya and cocktails called Kakurenbo. Change can be good, and this second-generation team will seek to make it so in the new year.
Super Six in Columbia City: While Super Six is no more, neighborhood adherents should have no fear — it’ll be returning this fall as a branch of the same owners’ longtime favorite Marination, with some Super Six hits staying on the menu. “Think Marination ma kai with a 98118 twist …” they say on Facebook. “Mahalo for your continued support, it means the world to us and our teams!”