Txori, the Belltown little sister of Harvest Vine, is calling it quits on April 19th. It's too bad—the pintxos (the Basque, harder-to-say version of tapas)—were really marvelous, though it's worth noting In This Economy that for a lovely-but-casual space, it was all too easy to spend more than you'd expect on all the pretty little plates of food. (The most recent reader-reviews also note a lack of customers and chaotic service.)

The couple that owned both Txori and Harvest Vine split up last October, with Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez (a.k.a. He of the Magnificent Mustache) going his own way (and recently cooking some special dinners at Capitol Hill's Olivar) and Carolin Messier taking over both restaurants. Messier says via email:

The last year has been grueling for me personally as well as having my two restaurants severely challenged by the terrible economy. It is with a heavy heart that I have come to the decision to close Txori, for now...

It's been an amazing flight. [Txori is Basque for "bird."] No regrets.

Her farewell letter—with the promise to look for a new spot for Txori at the end of the year, the news that the space will reopen as a pintxo place called Pintxo on the 21st (run by two Txori fans), and info about the last txoko communal supper on Monday—is after the jump.

A Letter of Farewell

Dear Friends,
After nearly 2 ½ years of continual flight, my beloved little Basque bar, Txori, is going into hibernation. I say hibernating rather than closing because after a restorative rest and an improved economy I hope to begin looking for a new nest for my little bird at the end of the year. Our final txoko dinner (see below for details) will be this coming Monday, April 5th. Our final day of service at our Belltown nest will be Monday, April 19th. At my other restaurant, The Harvest Vine, it will remain business as usual. I hope you’ll join us in the coming weeks at Txori and into the future at The Harvest Vine.

But don’t despair Belltown will not be left pintxo-free. In fact two of its own residents, right from the neighborhood, will be taking over the jewel-box of a space on April 21st and reopening shortly thereafter as “Pintxo”. C.J. Chaney and Corey Chigbrow have been patrons and fans of Txori as their neighborhood place. Having met while working for Myspace several years ago, they believe in community in both the virtual and physical worlds. They share with me the joy of bringing people together through food, understanding that the connections forged over a bite and a glass are like no other. I hope that you will welcome and support them as I have. In time perhaps Seattle will support a tapas bar on every street! (My personal mission…)

I would like to thank all of you who have supported Txori from its inception. I begin with my longtime friend, Julie Montgomery, who turned my vision into workable blueprints and Mike Cain who turned what was essentially “an empty lot with a brick dropped on it” into the well-crafted, light-filled nest of a bar that it is. To Carmen Cano a warm embrace for her enchanting images of birds and the gift of my vision of family on canvas. And the dear friends and family who have held my hand and given me a shoulder to cry on through the highs and lows that a restaurant experiences.

I have enjoyed, and felt honored to work with every single employee. They are the ones who created the heart of this special place. I offer a special thank you to my chef Joey Serquinia and my manager Jeff Watanabe. They both worked tirelessly and generously from our pre-opening trip to San Sebastian through today. Joey’s food is the soul of the place and Jeff is the engine which has kept everything going. I couldn’t have survived the past year without you two.

And the reason I created Txori: my customers who I hope felt like welcome guests, I thank you most of all. Without you it would have remained a shoebox of a place full of tasty aromas. You created a vibrant, living thing and many of you have become friends.

Many, many thanks. I am so incredibly grateful for these past 29 months in birdland,

Carolin Messier

Final Txoko Dinner

This coming Monday, April 5th at 6:30pm, Carolin will be hosting the final txoko dinner at Txori. We’ve hosted this communal dinner nearly every month since we opened. This 6-course, family-style dinner is a chance to meet new people, eat great Basque comfort food, and discuss everything from hiking in the Pyrenees to humorous blind date stories.

$45 per person plus beverages, tax and gratuity. Call 204-9771 for reservations. This is certain to sell out.