This column should actually be titled “News you can’t eat.” After plenty of other restaurant and bar shutdowns in 2014 (plus these, too), eight more are throwing in the towel right at the end. And there are zero new places to report on this week, coincidentally. (Or maybe not so coincidentally — with 27 openings on Capitol Hill alone this past year, no joke, maybe some restaurateurs and investors are rethinking that next all-wood-fired, nine-concepts-in-one-space place.) Happy New Year?
THE HURRICANE CAFE closes forever tomorrow, on New Year’s Day (time TBD — “in the afternoon sometime,” they say). The Seventh and Bell address has given Seattle almost 100 years of 24/7 service, first as the Bohemian Continental, then, of course, the Dog House. Say what you will about the Hurricane’s food; the place represents the kind of cheap, divey, open-to-all-and-sundry institution we’re in danger of losing entirely (see also the closure of Bruno’s Mexican-Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria on Third earlier this year). But the Hurricane lost its lease, and it’s no surprise who bought the property and will be tearing it down: Amazon (under the name of its cuter-sounding affiliate Acorn Development LLC).
Earlier this year, owner Neil Scott told me that he started out as a dishwasher at Beth’s Cafe (also 24-hour, also marvelously divey), and that he started working at the Hurricane right when it opened post-Dog House two decades ago. He said he had two employees who’d been at the Hurricane for a dozen years, two more who’d been there for a decade and two clocking in at seven years each, and that everyone was loyally planning to stick around until the bittersweet end. “It’s not the way we wanted to go out for sure — losing a lease and getting torn down,” he said. “But we’re a stand-alone building downtown with a parking lot — it was bound to happen.”
Over on Facebook today, the Hurricane says: “We love every one of you. We may not have aways be [sic] perfect, but we have ALWAYS done the best we can. We will miss you all …” Anyone for a very divey New Year’s Eve?
CANTINA LEÑA downtown is closed, possibly temporarily or maybe forever after less than a month. Tom Douglas told Eater Seattle that the all wood-fired kitchen concept, um, backfired when neighbors complained about smoke from the gigantic indoor fire pit (variously reported to be 10 or 15 feet long). MORE>>>
ARABICA LOUNGE is closing right after Valentine’s Day. As far as anyone currently knows, it’ll join its Olive Way neighbor, the Bus Stop, in standing empty (but probably not for long). Their phone has already been disconnected, but presumably they’ll host one last Twin Peaks Chess Night this Friday, which I’ve always meant to go to for chess, cocktails and pie. MORE>>>
LE ZINC is closing after its New Year’s Eve party, after just a year and a half in business. Weekends were good, but decent weeknight business never materialized, they told Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. Nothing new is planned for the space as of the moment. Le Zinc’s sibling, Maximilien in Pike Place Market, will carry on. MORE>>>
CHINOISE CAFE on Upper Queen Anne also closes for good on New Year’s Eve, after 18 years in business. Owner Thoa Nguyen still runs Chinoise in Issaquah and Wabi-Sabi in Columbia City. The Queen Anne space will become Ikiiki Sushi. MORE>>>
SEASTAR in the Pan Pacific Hotel in South Lake Union is closing this Saturday, Jan. 3. Owner John Howie’s Bellevue Seastar remains open (along with his John Howie Steak, Sport and Adriatic Grill in Tacoma). MORE>>>