Recent Restaurant RIPs
Has a tipping point finally been reached on Capitol Hill? A whole mess of restaurants and bars have closed here recently, along with a handful across the city.
• MEZA on Capitol Hill: Perhaps you remember last summer's SPD investigation Operation Super Boosters, involving merchandise stolen from Seattle grocery stores and allegedly involving Meza—ultimately, however, those allegations came to naught. Now Meza is closed, with a sign on the door saying thank you and "Maybe again someday..."
• 22 on Capitol Hill: The restaurant formerly known as 22 Doors is also closed and says the closure is temporary. Owner Josephine Wong scolded Capitol Hill Seattle blog for speculating about a possible change in ownership/name/etc.: "Don't write about rumors." However, 22 has been rumored to be for sale for a looooong time. Wong could not be reached for comment.
• THE ELITE on Capitol Hill: Olive Way's wholesomely windowed gay bar also says it'll reopen soon, according to one sign, but owes $56,930 in back taxes according to another.
• THE LOCAL VINE on Capitol Hill: Started by two Harvard MBAs with big-time corporate résumés, this upscale place sought to demystify wine with more than 80 by-the-glass pours, "approachable, communal, and wine-focused" small plates, tastings, and classes ("Call us crazy, but we think it's doable," they said). The original LV in Belltown closed down because of shoddy building construction; the phone at the University Village branch is disconnected, and the website is for sale.
• TRAVELERS TEA COMPANY on Capitol Hill: The beloved Indian thali/knickknack shop on Pine closed after the landlord chose not to honor the lease extension and wanted to double the rent, according to owner Allen Kornmesser's partner Leon Reed ("This landlord is one I'll be glad to be rid of," he says). Kornmesser also underwent surgery recently; there's a ChipIn online if you'd like to help, and/or you can spend money and eat happily at the newer Travelers, which remains open in a cute house on Beacon Hill.
• Also now closed on Capitol Hill: FAIRE GALLERY CAFE, with the message from the owner, "Don't be sad that it is over—be glad we did something amazing for six years" (but still: sad!) • CHAO BISTRO, which Chow Foods (the 5 Spot, Endolyne Joe's, the Hi-Life) got mad at for its name in 2009, more recently home to gamers • TEAPOT VEGETARIAN HOUSE, which will be replaced by Bamboo from the owner of the late Pho 900 on Broadway, per CHS—the Teapot in Redmond remains open • SAMUI THAI, already replaced by the Patio, which is also Thai • and (the third place on 15th) KARAM'S, the Lebanese restaurant that's been next to the Bagel Deli for 25 years—they sweetly say, "You have given us so many beautiful memories... You will forever be in our hearts. Here's to you and to new beginnings. Thank you!"
• ELEMENTAL and ELEMENTAL NEXT DOOR near Gasworks Park: The food at Elemental was very good, but they wouldn't take reservations and had a peculiar waiting-list policy, and dealing with Elemental owner/waitperson/sommelier/bossypants Phred Westfall could be quite taxing. Some people could hack it; some never went back. Elemental Next Door, which opened later, also had lovely food and tons of wine and no Phred: "SAME FOOD, LESS ATTITUDE," they themselves acknowledged. (They also gave you a free glass of bubbles when you walked in, which may be the smartest thing any restaurant can do—a miniscule expenditure that launches the diner on a nearly inescapable trajectory of happiness.)
• ROLLIN Q mobile: On the road for just a couple months, Rollin Q's truck had a custom-built smoker operated by a retired firefighter/professional chef from Texas. It sounded promising, but then its website recently said: "Thank You to all our Seattle Fans! Rollin Q Mobile Food Truck is no longer in the Food Truck Business, due to the Recent sale of the company to an Alaska base company an opportunity came our way we could not pass up. Again Thank You."
• BALLARD AVE PUB in Ballard: This sparsely decorated pub, which was actually on Market Street, closed without explanation. Commenters on My Ballard said, "Shocking" and "Won't miss it at all. Crappy sports bar atmosphere without the cheap drinks."
• SNOOSE JUNCTION PIZZERIA in Ballard: This Market Street pizza place closed down a few months ago, and now Pestle Rock Isan Thai Cuisine has applied for a liquor license for the space. The Snoose Junction in Greenwood remains open.
UPDATE! How could we forget:
• LE GOURMAND in Ballard: After more than a quarter-century of making beautiful food in a lovely setting, owners/chefs Bruce and Sara Naftaly closed up shop at the end of June. They’re teaching cooking classes, doing private dinners, and being less tired.