BRAND-NEW: It's more than official: Pioneer Square isn't just for chronic public inebriates and chronically publically inebriated sports fans anymore (though both need more access to bathrooms). Joining the likes of Bar Sajor/The London Plane, Little Uncle, and Damn the Weather is Mike Easton's Pizzeria Gabbiano (240 Second Ave S, Suite 102, 209-2231). Local artist (and, full disclosure, my friend) Ben Beres reports that the pay-by-the-pound thick slices are cut to order with scissors and "GODDAMN DELICIOUS!!! Albeit a little bit pricey." Easton is also responsible for the great Il Corvo, open in Pioneer Square since way back in 2013.
Closer to the stadia, Quality Athletics (115 S King St, 420-3015) also just debuted. It looks slick; trophies, medicine balls, and a wall of lockers provide minimalist sporty credibility. What you won't find at QA: burgers and fries. Josh Henderson (of Westward, etc.) says, "When a burger is on the menu, that's all people order. We want to broaden the idea of what game-day food is." They do have wings (including duck ones). As for the bathrooms' cheerleader-porn posters—in honor of Title IX and gay sports fans everywhere, how about some male cheesecake, too?
New next door to Quality Athletics: a duplicate of Capitol Hill's Cone & Steiner market (135 S King St, 402-3682)—expensive, but sure to do well in this grocery desert. Just around the corner: another Taylor Shellfish oyster bar (410 Occidental Ave S, 501-4060)—high ceilings, brick walls, looking good.
CLOSING: Get your anatomically correct cake while you can—the Erotic Bakery (2323 N 45th St, 545-6969) closes at the end of the month. After almost three decades, owner Kimmie Barnett says she's just tired, sending fans "Breast wishes!" Stranger photographer Kelly O's leftover birthday cake (see a photo of it on page 43) made it to the office; per art critic Jen Graves, "What you should know is that the Erotic Bakery does not have to make cakes that are yummy (because gimmick), but THEY ARE SO YUMMY. This one formerly had a penis with a bow on it, but the penis is not here."
ALREADY CLOSED: After eons, Bruno's Mexican-Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria on Third Avenue is gone. While noting that no one will miss the food, Slog commenter Gurldoggie offers this obituary: "For sheer inscrutable downtown Seattle weirdness, that place was singular... drag-queen janitors drinking around the clock with merchant mariners from Argentina, while Filipinos straight from divorce court flirted with Mexican firefighters. It was also the ONLY place in downtown Seattle you could watch the World Cup eight years ago... No joke, I'm gonna miss it."
CHANGEOVER: Despite great reviews, Jason Stratton's Spanish-styled Aragona just became Vespolina (96 Union St, 682-3590), which is Italian—and presumably more marketable, like his very popular Spinasse. Offered condolences via Twitter, Stratton said, "I'm sad too. But stoked anyway. @AragonaSEA was a great project... Anyways, I love cooking Italian."
MORE NEW SEATTLE RESTAURANTS:
• SCHILLING CIDER HOUSE • Fremont: Ready to make your apple (or pear, etc.) a day more interesting, Schilling Cider House has 32 rotating taps (with at least one nitro cider always on), with 200-plus more craft ciders in the cooler. Food’s available for delivery to your table from local spots, tastings abound, and cider-making classes will be offered, too. All the furniture and the bar top are made of old growth Douglas fir they salvaged from tearing out walls during the demo of the space. Fun fact: Founder and cider-maker Colin Schilling is the great-great-grandson of Schilling Spice Company founder August Schilling.
• BIG SPOON • on the road: In the summertime, Charlie Durham’s food truck makes handmade ice cream with seasonal flavors like huckleberry crisp, plus ice cream sandwiches, floats, and cold-brew coffee, too. In fall, he transitions to soups and stews (but still some ice cream—no one wants to give up Skittles-flavored Beast Mode at that time of year).
• TORONADO SEATTLE • Roosevelt: An outpost of the revered San Francisco beer bar (which already has one outpost in San Diego), Toronado Seattle has 40 taps and is located in the former Mutiny Hall space on 65th near Roosevelt. The full menu includes charcuterie, $12 to $14 sandwiches, and $10 to $24 entrees.
• KAISHO • Capitol Hill: The Kaisho in Bellevue got converted to a private events space after less than six months; the new one here is where Boom Noodle used to be on 12th and Pike (and brought to you by the Boom Noodle/Blue C Sushi company). The sleek-looking spot makes “Asian street fare” including dim sum, noodles, Thai-style fried chicken, and more. Chef Kalen Schramke cooked at Rover's and Terra Plata, then traveled in Southeast Asia before starting at Kaisho. What you have to try here: the puffy-coated nori chips with wasabi creme fraiche dipping sauce. SO GOOD.
• OMA BAP • Capitol Hill/Central District/First Hill: Formerly in Bellevue, this “contemporary fast casual Korean” spot serves favorites like bibimbap, bulgogi, jap chae, and more at cheap-eats prices at 12th and Cherry.
• ROBERTO'S VENETIAN TRATTORIA & BAR • Pike Place Market: At Roberto’s in Pike Place Market, Roberto Trendel and Lee-Ann Frost Corry (he’s a lifelong restaurant guy from New York, she’s from Philadelphia) seek to bring Seattle “ the taste of Venice—fresh farm-to-table ingredients, classic turned modern ‘Northern Italian’ dishes that are like no other.” Further, they say, “Love is not only in the food at Roberto’s Trattoria & Bar, it is in the setting of your table, the greeting at the door, and, of course, the meal that is placed before you. The love from Roberto and LeeAnn is everywhere! (It is, literally, in the air.)”
• LOCAL BURGER • Bellevue: This sibling of Belltown’s Local 360 is on Old Bellevue’s Main Street, using local ingredients to make burgers “so juicy your hands will be a hot mess, but who the heck cares ’cause it’s a burger and that’s how it should be.”
NEW LOCATIONS OF EXISTING PLACES: INÈS PATISSERIE • Capitol Hill: Moved from Madison Valley to Union near Madison • 8OZ BURGER AND CO. • Ballard: Joins the Broadway outlet (though both are separate from the national chain) • PRIME 809 SPIRITS LOUNGE • Lake Union: At Daniel’s Broiler on Lake Union, like its sister lounge Prime 21 at Daniel’s Broiler in Bellevue, with more than 50 bourbons and 40 scotches • PAGLIACCI in Magnolia: Open again with a revamped space
• CANTERBURY ALE HOUSE on Capitol Hill: After just a month or so, 2012 Food & Wine Best New Chef Cormac Mahoney is no longer the chef at the unrecognizably revamped former dive-bar favorite on 15th. No word yet from new co-owners Mike Meckling (Neumos) and James Snyder (Sam's Tavern) on who’s cooking now.
• VON TRAPP’S on Capitol Hill is now RHEIN HAUS: How do you solve a problem like Maria von Trapp’s family being mad that you’re using their name because they run a resort in Vermont called the Trapp Family Lodge even though you got the federal trademark before you opened your gigantic upscale faux-Bavarian Capitol Hill beer hall? Apparently, you just change it.
• FISH CAKE FACTORY in Belltown is now TI 22: That is not a typo. Chef Vimonsri Wongjaraen, of Bai Tong fame, has departed, and her coworker Billy Sumual is now doing the cooking.
• CATFISH CORNER in the Central District: Open since 1985, the beloved CD spot closed with the owners more than $18,000 in debt to the building owners, according to Capitol Hill Blog. The owners did not return a call for comment.
• KATSU BURGER in Georgetown: Owner Hajime Sato—also of West Seattle’s Mashiko—said on Facebook, “We have been fortunate to employ some fantastic people, but not as many as needed to maintain a consistent quality of food and service. If we cannot guarantee you a great experience, the honorable thing to do is to step down. Rather than lowering our standards, we have decided to close our doors.”
• STOPSKY’S DELICATESSEN on Mercer Island: The owners posted on Facebook, “Stopsky’s was a project of the heart whose mission was to reconnect people to Jewish heritage, connect the community, and create homemade Jewish comfort cuisine from scratch. We achieved a lot of this, but in the end could not discover the magic formula to break even.”
• LAIKA LOUNGE in Pioneer Square: Owner Tatiana Becker found that running the Russian restaurant out of Trabant Coffee that she started in March was a lot more work than anticipated, and felt that returning to just the cafe was “better for everyone’s sanity.” Too bad—it sounded neat.
• DULCES on Capitol Hill: After two decades in Madrona, then a short spell downtown, Dulces lasted only nine months at 19th and Madison. There’s been no word on why it shut down.
• LA BETE on Capitol Hill: Owner Aleks Dimitrijevic says that after four years and a 33 percent rent hike, it’s time to shut down, reformat, and rename the place. On Facebook, he said, “I am really excited about doing something new, turning over a new leaf, and starting the first chapter in a totally new book, with new characters and a fresh-ass script.”
• THE BOOK BINDERY near Fremont: Chef Shaun McCrain is reportedly working on a new, separate project, while the Book Bindery is set to reopen with a new chef—Nico Borzee, of Artusi, Coi in San Francisco, and a number of other impressive places, last anyone heard—any minute now.
• WAID’S in the Central District: After trouble from the city over the years but no complaints that really stuck, Waid’s finally lost its liquor license and shut down. It was the last black-owned nightspot in the CD.
• FLOYD’S PLACE on Lower Queen Anne: The barbecue spot with the sign with the pig and cow dancing in celebration of their own demise is gone, with no word on why. The sign on the door, as photographed by Queen Anne View, read: “Thank You to the GOOD People Of Queen Anne… We Will Miss You.”
• SHOOFLY PIE COMPANY in West Seattle: A forerunner of the pie trend and, more importantly, a really good maker of pie, Shoofly opened in its tiny West Seattle spot in 2007. Owner Kimmy Hsieh Tomlinson posted to Facebook: “Friends of Shoofly – After 7 wonderful years bringing pie to wonderful West Seattle, Zak and I have decided to pursue other life interests (I dunno, maybe write a cookbook?! ;))… It is bittersweet, but we are also looking forward to the next chapter of our lives.”
• FUMACA in Lower Queen Anne/Belltown: The Brazilian steakhouse in the former Minnie’s location on Denny is gone; the building is slated for demolition, then the inevitable apartments or condos.
• LOUIE’S CUISINE OF CHINA in Ballard: The Chinese-American standby closed after 37 years, after the building was sold. “Nothing lasts forever, and, as I like to say, even the finest dinner has to end sometime,” said owner Raymond Ip on the Louie’s website; he hopes to reopen elsewhere.
• AFRIKANDO BANADIR on Rainier: Chef Jacques Saar first ran Afrikando Afrikando, then this place, making well-liked west and east African food. Sad.
• DOT’S CHARCUTERIE AND BISTROT in Fremont: Owner Miles James posted to Facebook: “It is with deep sadness that today we had to make the very difficult decision to close our doors.” Then later: “Good God if I knew all I had to do was close to get pummeled like this I would have closed everyday! Thanks for everyone who came out for one last lunch, it was great!”
AND: A TERRIBLE BEAUTY in West Seattle • MAPLE LEAF GRILL in Maple Leaf • MUTINY HALL in Roosevelt • 611 SUPREME on Capitol Hill • CALAMITY JANE’S in Georgetown