In 2013, we lost the original Bauhaus—practically a historic landmark of Seattle cafes—because progress. (It's going to reopen, eventually, and meanwhile will temporarily occupy the Capitol Club space, and there's a new branch in Ballard, but still, booooo.) Same with the Viking—a tiny, classic tavern in Ballard that had sold beer, barbecue, and fresh eggs by the dozen since 1950. Other Seattle institutions that regrettably departed in 2013 include the Continental Greek Restaurant and Pastry Shop in the U-District and Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe—both so that their owners could finally get some rest, but still, sad. Vegetarians mourned the passing of Carmelita; rich people mourned the passing of Rover's. Everybody with a heart felt bad that Med Mix, on the apparently cursed northeast corner of 23rd and Union, got set on fire by an arsonist—it remains, regrettably, closed.
In regrettable openings, there's Storyville Coffee. (Google it and "Mars Hill.")
In other completely regrettable developments, we had McDonald's advising its employees on how to get on food stamps (AND how to chew their food more to feel fuller, AND how to sell their stuff for extra money), fast-food workers having to go on strike to try to get a living wage, the failure of Initiative 522, the success of the cronut, the antigayness of Barilla pasta, too many things served in mason jars, the fact that only 1 percent of $292.5 billion in federal agricultural subsidies have gone toward fruit and vegetable programs, the death of the spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill of a heart attack at age 52, the closure of Chu Minh Tofu for repeated health violations including pigeons roosting on open vats of tofu, the growing of hamburger in a lab, and Paula Deen. We also learned that the farthest one can get from a Subway in the United States of America is 99 miles, and Subway also started making its foot-long sandwiches actually a foot long instead of shorter (like anyone needed that extra inch).
We asked local restaurateurs/chefs/etc. to share their 2013 regrets. And here they are. BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT
I regret that I didn't put the spiced, roasted ground cricket paranta with turnip and tomato curry (relax, it's delicious!) or baby grasshoppers on my Shanik menu. But this regret won't last long in 2014. I'm pushing hard to save the bees, while pushing to eat the crickets.
—Meeru Dhalwala, chef/owner, Shanik
I regret that I may be the only chef in Seattle with just one restaurant. I regret that I'm still not working on a new cookbook. I regret that when I was younger, I wasn't more aware of my posture while standing over a stove or cutting board for 12 hours a day, and now my knees and shoulders are paying for it. When I was in China this year, I regret not paying more attention to how the persimmon cakes were made, and for not trying even more of the street food in between lunches and dinners of 30 different dishes, and for skipping the hairy crab dinner in Shanghai so we could check out the gay bars there. I regret that dogs get old and die. I regret I can't mention the most important thing to me about 2013, marrying Stevie after 33 years together, because I don't regret it.
—Jerry Traunfeld, chef/owner, Poppy
I regret discovering the Boulevardier. Even when I try to order something different, the word "Boulevardier" just comes out of my mouth. I need to expand my cocktail palate in 2014.
—Laurie Riedeman, chef, Canon
We regret failing to convince King County to let us serve raw oysters in our farmers market booth during the winter. Instead, people who want to eat oysters at the market have to sneak off to shuck in the alley. Or become car-shuckers. And since that's the only real regret we have for 2013, we must have had a great year!
—Lissa James, Hama Hama Oyster Company
I regret that I did not work harder on the Yes on 522 campaign. This SHOULD have passed, and I was sure it would. I regret that I was so stupid to believe that common sense would outweigh money. DUMBASS! I regret that I put poutine on my brunch menu because it seemed the thing to do AND I felt like I made it right. But it's still awful and makes people FAT. Bye-bye, poutine! I regret the Farm Bill or lack of one... what a disaster. I regret that I have not loved or laughed, traveled or discovered enough this year. Thank you, Stranger, for making me realize that!
—Tamara Murphy, chef/owner, Terra Plata
I regret that record low voter turnout and a downpour of out-of-state money doomed I-522 to failure last November. I regret that we will have to wait until 2016 to have another shot at passing an initiative to require labeling of GM food. And I regret the campaign decision to sidestep the argument over whether or not GM foods are dangerous in favor of a "we just want to know" strategy. Much evidence exists that GM foods are harmful, and saying so loud and clear is the first step to getting them labeled.
—Jim Drohman, chef/owner, Le Pichet and Cafe Presse
We're brewing beer as part of a burgeoning craft movement in a great neighborhood with awesome beer-loving customers—our only regret could be NOT doing this earlier! Digging deeper, we do sincerely regret buying a lemon of a vending machine from two adorable old codgers from Oregon, then spending more money to make it look really cool, only to have it frequently spit cash back at our patrons. We definitely regret that.
—Brad, Lara, and Robyn, Stoup Brewing
I think with the roller coaster of my life this past year, everyone knows my biggest regret is ordering a McRib... again.
—Jim Romdall, barkeep, Aragona (formerly Vessel)
I totally regret NOT opening a coffee shop in Hillman City earlier. If it's been one crazy, five-month-long, new-small-business a$$-kicking roller-coaster ride of hell, it's also been totally amazing. Who knew a Seattle neighborhood no one had ever heard of could be so awesome and would love a coffee shop as much as we're loved.
—Joya Iverson, owner, Tin Umbrella Coffee
I regret that it took me over a year to visit the Wurst Place for the first time, as if I do not harbor an insatiable, carnal lust for both beer and sausage. I also regret not stocking up on Damnation, Supplication, Temptation, and all the other 'ation beers before Russian River Brewing unceremoniously decided to stop shipping beer to Washington. Rat bastards.
—Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog
Every time I look out the windows of the restaurant, I regret the fact that we haven't gotten our act together to build a zip line from our roof to Gas Works Park. Seriously.
—Brian Canlis, Canlis
While at the Bang Bang Cafe, the writers from the Onion came in and were super cute, funny, and awesome. I really wanted to give them a hug, which is way weird, but I was just awkward. The other time I have regretted is when the handsome bass player from Pearl Jam came into Pettirosso, and I was like wow, and it was Valentine's Day and my husband came in to give me a Valentine's present, but I was so in awe, I was ignoring my husband—so he always says that Jeff Ament "rock-blocked" him for Valentine's!!!
—Yuki Sodos, co-owner, Pettirosso and Bang Bang Cafe
This year has been one of the most challenging, exhausting, yet rewarding years of my life. I feel like I've aged 20 years, my knees are toast, and I now know what it's like to work 24 hours straight, but I have only one regret. And that's not throwing my picks into the audience for the Absolute Monarchs' last show at Linda's Fest this last summer—missed my last shot to throw a rock-star move onstage. Not too bad of a year, everything considered.
—Miki Sodos, co-owner, Pettirosso and Bang Bang Cafe
Twice this year, wrapped up in the frenzy of seeing a newly flooded market of new booze, did I buy a bottle of liquor without asking the internet if it was good. Both bottles cost 30 percent more than I should have paid, and both were poured down the drain—not even sangria-worthy. I study booze professionally, and I can't imagine how hard it is for the average consumer to navigate the new tides of poisonous swill that wash up in Seattle stores every day.
—Andrew Bohrer, bartender, author, The Best Shots You've Never Tried
Regrets! I have regrets! I regret that I didn't make sure we signed up to grow a Liberty pot strain, now that we can legally grow pot. AND! I also regret that it's taken me an extra five months to open the new bar—that sucks.
—Andrew Friedman, owner, Liberty (and, "soon," Good Citizen)
Ahhhh, regrets... they're like children: It's easy to pick out the biggest fuckup of the bunch. I regret leaving Tommy D & E.T. as their pastry chef 'cause shit has been reeeeal cray-cray ever since. I need to sip on some of that Kool-Aid that makes you say shit like "I'd do it all the same" or "I regret nothing!" And as long as I have the mic, I regret letting Aana slip through my fingers. Does anyone know where I can find some plutonium or how to produce 1.21 gigawatts?
—Patric Gabre-Kidan, co-owner, Big Fun (upcoming)
My biggest regret this year is having to miss time with our amazing 5-year-old, Dashiell. Opening the restaurant took a lot of time and energy, albeit very well spent. Dashiell and I have been attached at the hip for years, so it is hard being away from him. But at least I have an awesome helper at Witness!
—Gregg Holcomb, owner/barkeep/minister, Witness
About six months ago, I was changing Adrian's diaper. After I was done, I decided it would be a really good idea to hold him above my head while he was naked and try to make him laugh and smile. It worked, I did get him to laugh and smile, but I also got him to pee on my face. I regret, slightly, putting my face in the line of fire.
I regret not making time to plant a garden during what had to be the best tomato season on record. I regret that on the eve of flying to the land of the highest order of bier, I took a positive pregnancy test and could not in good conscience imbibe as one should in Bavaria.
—Rachel Marshall, Rachel's Ginger Beer and RGB Market
My only regret is that I didn't go camping hardly at all this summer. I was a tad busy opening up a restaurant and putting together a badass menu that I am really stoked with. I wouldn't change a thing, though, because the response to my menu has been fantastic, so I guess it really wasn't a regret, huh.
—Dave Lamping, chef, Percy's and Co.