Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.
October 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM
The county health department has temporarily shut down Green Leaf, the popular Vietnamese restaurant that’s consistently considered one of the city’s best. The restaurant’s original International District location (418 8th Ave. S.) was closed Thursday afternoon for three violations, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. The issues the department listed: Handwashing facilities being unavailable, preparing food in an unapproved room without any sanitary facilities, and a last one that I don’t remember seeing on an inspection report before, “interference with the health officer.”
The department also closed down the Southern Smoke food truck and Deez Dogz downtown.
Check here for updates on whether the businesses have re-opened.
Green Leaf’s previous inspections don’t seem to have been out of line; it was rated “satisfactory” in June, and its worst report online was back in 2010, when it drew 35 “red critical” violation points, which just crossed the line for requiring a re-inspection within 14 days. (It takes 90 red critical points to shut a restaurant down.) Its newer Belltown location has had some issues, but again, nothing dramatically atypical. Popular restaurants have scored poorly before, as they did over here, but shutdowns are unusual.
Editor’s note: Green Leaf re-opened Oct. 4.
December 13, 2011 at 8:14 AM
The end of the year inevitably brings a long list of restaurant closures. Far too many come as a surprise. So I extend my thanks to Jon Alberts and Graham Graham for announcing the planned closure of their 10-year-old restaurant Thaiku and its bar and lounge Fu Kun Wu. The last full day of operation will be December 23, so get in there while the getting is good.
According to Monday’s news release, the closure will idle 25 employees: cooks, waitstaff, bartenders and dishwashers including some who have been with the Thai restaurant since it opened. In a follow-up phone conversation, Alberts explained “the building has been for sale for about three years, and because it was for sale the landlords were reluctant to give us a long-term lease — so there was no real security for us.”
Quick! Get over and bid adieu to Thaiku and Fu Kun Wu (5410 Ballard Ave. N.W.) before the closure.
Alberts said the landlords were unwilling to pay for building improvements he deems necessary and “it wouldn’t have made [financial] sense for us to do them” if the building were to sell in the next two years. In addition, continued rumors of the restaurant’s imminent demise (thanks to “For Sale” sign on the building) and a considerable spike in rent meant “we couldn’t come to terms, and decided to vacate.”
So, is that the end of Thaiku and Fu Kun Wu?
August 16, 2011 at 10:36 AM
French bistro Madison Park Cafe closing after 32 years, Italian restaurant Cafe Parco opening in its place
After 32 years as a restaurateur, Karen Binder has finally found her “out.” Madison Park’s unofficial Jewish mother has spent years in search of the right person to buy the business she’s birthed, nourished and held onto through thick and thin — and she’s finally done it.
After brunch on Sunday, August 28th, Binder will bid adieu to Madison Park Cafe, turning over the keys to Celinda Norton. Norton, a talented chef, sold her 6-year-old Pike Place Market bistro 94 Stewart in July in preparation for the move. If all goes as planned, Norton expects to reopen in October as Cafe Parco. Her “New World Italian” menu should appeal to a neighborhood short on Italian restaurants.
“Oh my God, I’m so happy!” says Binder, who’d hoped to find another woman entrepreneur to take over at 1807 42nd Avenue East. “I’m thrilled about Celinda. She’s got a big-enough personality so I feel I have a replacement. I think she’s going to knock ‘em dead.” Speaking of, given the news of the impending closure, “I just hope all the people who’ve been eating blintzes here for the last 32 years don’t have a coronary.”
July 5, 2011 at 11:40 AM
Barrio, the Mexican kitchen and bar in Bellevue, closed for good Sunday night. “It was just not performing as well as our other restaurants,” explains Larry Kurofsky, owner of parent company Heavy Restaurant Group, the corporate name behind Purple Cafe & Wine Bar, Lot No. 3, and Barrio — whose Capitol Hill location is still going strong.
“I’ve never had to do this before,” said Kurofsky, whose original Purple Cafe opened in Woodinville a decade ago with only nine tables. “I opened seven places in eight years, and I wasn’t gray when I started.”
Got a jones for some Mexican food and drink at Barrio? You’ll have to head to the Capitol Hill location — seen here at Cinco de Mayo, 2010. [Seattle Times/Mark Harrison]
June 14, 2011 at 3:43 PM
Marie Callender’s closed: reader looking for affordable, old-fashioned restaurant asks “Where do we go now?”
Charlotte and Harry Spizman were regulars at Marie Callender’s. Two, sometimes three times a week – and always on Sunday — they’d show up at the restaurant’s sole Seattle location where they’d treat themselves to the salad bar, soup and cornbread included. The couple regularly spent about $200 a month on soup, salad and (on the rare occasion when Mr. Spizman would go for the gusto) Marie’s mac ‘n cheese maybe, or a roast beef dinner.
Then came last Sunday’s abrupt closure, when customers and staff alike were shown the door, just as the Spizmans were coming in. Corporate owners of the chain restaurant have filed for bankruptcy: a blow to the to the many loyal patrons who considered Marie Callender’s their home-away-from-home.
“We were shocked,” said Mrs. Spizman, who notes the Northgate location was always busy. “When we pulled into the lot, one of the waitresses was driving out. She said, `Don’t bother going in because the door is locked,’ and then we looked around — and all the staff were on their way out. They were told to leave!”
Sign of the times: at Marie Callender’s in Daly City, Calif. Same story here in Washington State where Marie Callender’s locations were closed in Seattle, Federal Way and Spokane. [Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
“The staff were like family to each other,” said Mrs. Spizman, recalling her favorite servers, Rhea, Isobel and Danielle, who knew what kind of soup (chicken) and beverage (Diet Pepsi) she and her husband always ordered, and without having to ask served those promptly with a smile. The Spizmans recognized other regular patrons and sometimes chatted with them, too, including one man who ate there every day.
June 7, 2011 at 7:00 PM
The abrupt closure of a restaurant is often a shock and disappointment to those who frequent the place. Trust me, I know. Last week, I told you about the denouement of Olives Cafe & Wine Bar in downtown Edmonds, shuttered without notice. “After years of pulling rabbits out of my hat, it finally hit home that I couldn’t justify opening the doors at the beginning of the month,” owner Michael Young said in the days after the closure. “There were too many bills, too many debts and not enough income.”
Sad though that closure may be for me and my Edmonds neighbors, at least we’ve gotten some closure. Over the past several months, I’ve heard from diners around the Sound, distressed that their favorite restaurants have gone “Poof!”– with no apparent explanation.
“Cave Man Kitchen closed?” asked a fella named Ben, pining for that Kent classic. “The last few times I have stopped by they had a small ‘closed for remodeling’ sign in the window, though no work was being done. Lately there’s a busy signal or no answer at their phone. Could they really have closed after 40 years? Please tell me it isn’t so!”
June 2, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Olives Cafe & Wine Bar, in the heart of downtown Edmonds, morphed over nearly a decade from a specialty food store, to a cozy wine bar, to a bustling restaurant and cocktail lounge whose menu could rival its big city-bistro brethren. In March, the place morphed once more. It quietly changed its name to Il Buffone, offering wood-fired pizza and handcrafted pasta.
That transformation was so quiet, owner/chef Michael Young never bothered to switch-out the sign above the dual storefront. And then, to the shock of a once fervent following, Young locked the doors for good Saturday night after service, leaving a cryptic (if literary) goodbye on the company website. This week, the neighbors were left asking “What?!” And they weren’t the only ones.
The OPEN sign is off for good at Olives Cafe & Wine Bar (aka the ill-fated Il Buffone) in downtown Edmonds.
Young, whose restaurant has long been among my hometown favorites, responded to my own query with a lengthy email, followed by a phone call from New Mexico — where he’s attending his parents 50th anniversary celebration with his fiance and infant daughter. “I’ve opened quite a few restaurants over the last few years,” he said. “Closing one is a new experience. And it sucks.”
June 1, 2011 at 5:32 PM
Taberna del Alabardero, the large and lovely Spanish restaurant and bar in the Austin Bell Building in Belltown, closed its doors Tuesday night.
“It was December 2008 when we landed in Seattle with our bags full of illusions and energy,” said the farewell email I just received. “Today we are not saying goodbye. It is more like a `see you later,’” read the heads-up on the closure, noting, in uppercase letters “WE HOPE TO BE BACK SOON!!!!”
After putting in a call to the restaurant (where I once had the pleasure of forking into some fine paella and jamon Iberico with America’s favorite Spanish chef Jose Andres), I got an explanation from GM Paco Pena.
Paco Pena, at Taberna del Alabardero.
April 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM
“Closed?!” wrote Eater Kate Leroux — shocked to find 5 Corner Market & Kitchen in Ballard, successor to Lombardi’s, shuttered last week. “Do you have any info on what happened?” It didn’t take long for jaws to drop when that news got around: What had sounded like a promising restaurant had packed it in only four months after its December debut.
The original Lombardi’s Italian restaurant (now with locations in Everett and Issaquah) lived here for 23 years. The short-lived 5 Corner Market opened in December and closed last week.
This week, 5 Corner owner Steve Hayter, quoted in a press release, said in that brief missive “the concept received an enthusiastic reception in Ballard, but there ultimately wasn’t enough patronage to sustain the business. I wish the next tenant the best of luck,” he said, noting, “I would like to thank those who supported us along the way.” There will be no further comment at this time, added his publicist. Nor later, as I found after attempting to speak directly to him. So, why the fast farewell, and what’s next for this prime corner spot?
January 12, 2011 at 5:36 AM
When Vince Mottola Jr. told his mother he was planning to close the Rainier Beach restaurant named for his late father, Ada Mottola was not happy to hear the news. “She has all her memories of the restaurant business at this location,” said Vince Jr., who will shutter the Rainier Beach classic at the end of March.
“My parents started the restaurant in 1957 on Martin Luther King and Othello,” before relocating down the road to 8824 Renton Avenue South in 1963, recalls the co-owner of a family of Vince’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzerias.
Today, Mottola Jr. and his business partners also own long-lived Vince’s locations in Renton (since 1973), Federal Way (1980) and Burien (1984), as well as the latest family member: Pizzeria Pulcinella, the bella bambina that made its splashy Rainier Beach debut in 2008.
Trending with readers