The influential soul food restaurant Kingfish Café will close its doors after nearly 20 years on Capitol Hill.
Co-owner Leslie Coaston said during a brief phone interview Tuesday night that “our last day on 19th and Mercer will be January 25.”
But she and her sister hope to open another soul food restaurant in the near future and will likely keep the Kingfish name. It will be a casual restaurant and the food concept will share some resemblance to the old Kingfish, though the sisters said they’re not ready to discuss their new project.
Coaston said business was still steady and that they had a devoted following, but “my sister and I are thinking about doing something different.” She declined to elaborate.
Coaston said the family is still looking for another space but declined to say what neighborhood she and her sister are looking at. But in an interview with former Seattle Times Food Writer Nancy Leson in September 2013, they hinted at their interest in Pioneer Square.
Leslie: “I’d love to get another location down there.”
Laurie: “Every city you go to has its old town, and I think Pioneer Square is turning into that.”
Leslie: “I’d do something that kept the integrity of the old part of Seattle, an older space, and breathe a little contemporary [into it]. Not someplace so sterile you’d want to get out as soon as you sat down.”
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Kingfish Café became a big hit when it opened in April 1997. ( Basketball legend Gary Payton was an early investor.) By Tuesday evening, as words of Kingfish closure made the rounds at area bars, many locals were stunned by the news and went on social media to say their goodbyes.
The sisters left the following note on Facebook.
Our parents have always said to use your imaginations and create a legacy. We have made our mark and some would even call us a neighborhood fixture. We have been serving up soul on the hill for nearly 20 years. We first opened The Kingfish Café in April of 1997 and shared with you our family recipes and stories. We never imagined that you would embrace us and welcome us into your hearts in the way that you have. It has been an amazing journey but all journeys must come to a…n end.
Over the years we have served hundreds of customer, most of which we consider our friends and family. We have spent countless hours at the Kingfish, singing, laughing, and creating unforgettable memories with you and it has been our pleasure. You have seen us at our best, and have stood by us through the rest. But the time has come for us to take down the photographs, gather up the family recipes, dim the lights and close our doors for the last time. On January 25, 2015 we will close The Kingfish Café.
Thank you so much for being a part of our journey
Red Beans and Ricefully Yours,
Laurie and Leslie Coaston