Last night at 2am, the entire kitchen- and wait- staff of Bait Shop, the bar/restaurant at the north end of Broadway, was laid off. The good news is: They’ll be rehired today at 4pm when Mike Leifur and Jonah Bergman officially take the reins as the new owners, and their employment will continue as before.
“The biggest immediate change you’re going to see,” Bergman told me by phone, “is the addition of cheddar cheese to the menu as an option to apply to the fried chicken sandwich.” He did not specify which brand of cheese, but indicated that he still had a little time before his opening shift, so he could probably go pick some up. Given that the neighborhood has gotten a lot fancier in the four years since Bait Shop opened, he reckoned he’d probably want to get “a cave-aged English cheddar if I want to stay ‘on-trend.’”
The sale has been in the works for several months, but the paperwork was only completed today. Leifur and Bergman have been manager and bartender, respectively, since Bait Shop opened its doors in December, 2012, as part of the group of food and drink establishments owned by Linda Derschang. (That group now consists of Linda’s Tavern, Tallulah’s, Oddfellows, Little Oddfellows—the café inside Elliott Bay Book Co.— and King’s Hardware in Ballard.) Leifur worked for the Derschang Group for 14 years, Bergman for six.
“We are all really excited about,” the change in ownership, Derschang wrote via email. “It’s a win/win situation for all of us.”
Bergman is excited, too, emphasizing that for Bait Shop regulars, very little will be changing. "You're not going to be seeing any big Seattle Sounders banner or Sauza Tequila-branded glasses. We just both always wanted to open a bar, and we both helped open this one, so it seems really right. The vibe is there. We just want to maintain the cool neighborhood vibe."