Even when a restaurant is crummy, it's regrettable when it closes—misguided people have poured their hearts and souls (and life savings) into regrettable concepts, chefs have cooked regrettable food that people ate regretfully, or just a regrettable location (or, ahem, regrettable economy) can be to blame. Here are some of the more memorable restaurant departures of 2011—some speedy, some sad, some sadly unsurprising.
• VARRO on Capitol Hill: It seems safe to say that the regrettable decor—a crazy mural, a column painted with large red roses, beaded curtains, more—was a factor in the short life of this Italian lounge. But good news: The excellent D'Ambrosio Gelateria Artigianale is opening a second location here soon. • FIVE CORNER MARKET in Ballard: Closed after only four months, in the former Lombardi's space, due to slow business—they said, "We gave it our all." • WANNA NOODLE in Lower Queen Anne: Lasted about five minutes in a former Taco Del Mar. • HARLOW'S SALOON in Ballard: Just wasn't making enough money; the owner still runs nearby Moshi Moshi Sushi, which still has a big LED-illuminated cherry tree and a good happy hour. • ARTID SIAM THAI on Capitol Hill: Closed after only four months, in the same space as Thai places Chili Basil and Jup Jup Jup before it. The owner told Capitol Hill Seattle Blog that he didn't know what was coming next, but: "I don't think it can be a restaurant." • THE FINE DINER in Northgate: Did not last long, neither did La Bera before it; now is the reportedly fine diner Patty's Eggnest. • JUNE in Madrona: Lasted from May 2010 through December 2011—pretty long, for this list.
• VINCE'S in Rainier Beach: Sad! But three other Vince's (Vince'ses?)—in Burien, Federal Way, and Renton—as well as Pizzeria Pulcinella in Rainier Beach, run by the Neapolitan family of Vince, remain open for your consolation. • ITALIAN SPAGHETTI HOUSE in North Seattle: Family operated since 1957; heartbreakingly, they told the Seattle Times, "Tell our customers thank you for all the great, great years." Slog commenter pg13 said, "I join in the tears being shed for Lake City Way's Italian Spaghetti House. Best place for American Italian ever (I've never found better chicken parm ANYWHERE). It was a sad day, recently, when the family pulled up for dinner, hoping that they weren't too busy for us to get seated, only to find the parking lot empty and the doors locked." • CUCINA DE SANTIS in Sodo: Good-bye to the big, messy Italian-American sandwiches and chef/owner Michael de Santis, who'd tell you about his family south of Naples and admire any babies who happened to be around.
• HUARACHITOS TACQUERIA in Columbia City: A homemade pink sign on site in June said, heartbreakingly, "Sorry there was a fire. We love you. We hope you understand. —Jose and Ana." They are reportedly determined to come back. • GALERIAS on Capitol Hill: After an extensive fire that started in the kitchen in November, an investigation is under way—now THAT is regrettable. [Gainsbourg in Greenwood also had a fire just a couple weeks ago, but in an admirable glass-half-full approach, they say they'd been planning to do some remodeling anyway, and they'll be back in early 2012 with a big reopening party.]
• THAIKU and FU KUN WU in Ballard: After a decade, the Thai favorite closed in December for nebulous "property dispute" reasons, though they promise to "once again reincarnate." Slog commenter Leek says, "Noooooo! I was just at Thaiku last night. Pad see IWW! Oolongtinis! No!" • THE ROSEBUD on Capitol Hill: After almost two decades, the Rosebud closed after a dispute over unpaid rent (though fans were already regretting a change of ownership and the departure of everybody's favorite bartender, Robert). But! On an up note: The owners of Solo in Lower Queen Anne are opening a new bar here called St. John's. • CHAPEL on Capitol Hill: The bar-in-the-morgue died of tenant/landlord issues (though service that often took an eternity may also have been a factor). But! Ian Roberts (a founder of Seattle Beer Week and former Brouwer's bar manager, according to Eater Seattle) is opening a beer spot in the marvelous space; it'll be called the Pine Box. • THOMPSON'S POINT OF VIEW in the Central District: The Seattle classic owed approximately $14,000 in back taxes. But! The Twilight Exit people are opening an "urban bordello themed" bar called the Neighbor Lady here. • PETTIROSSO on Capitol Hill: The tiny, beloved cafe closed December 30. But! Yuki Sodos (who used to work at Pettirosso and is reportedly "absolutely wonderful") and her sister Miki, who run the also-beloved Bang Bang Cafe in Belltown, are hoping to take over the space, keep the name and the feeling, and add a bakery and a bar—"like Pettirosso, but with more stuff in there!" • HOOTERS in South Lake Union: Maybe this was a longtime favorite of yours—now you have to go to Tacoma (or Spokane) to get Hooters.
• BAGUETTE on Capitol Hill: Is now the excellent walk-up Thai lunch counter Little Uncle. • MARCO'S SUPPERCLUB in Belltown: Is now the Innkeeper, from the same people as the great Black Bottle. • THE BUCK on Capitol Hill: Is now Montana, a bar featuring Rachel's Ginger Beer and other equally good-sounding stuff. • A CAPRICE KITCHEN in Ballard: Is now the cutely named Fat Hen. • OASIS CAFE on Capitol Hill: Is now the Taiwanese/Mexican street-style spot (plus drinks with umbrellas) Chino's. • 94 STEWART in Pike Place Market: Is now Kastoori Grill, serving Nepalese, Indian, and Tibetan food. • KRISTOS on Eastlake: Is now the Ship Canal Grill, a nautical-themed sports bar. • LICOROUS on Capitol Hill: Is now Jamie Boudreau's awesome Canon.