The video above shows Charlestown Cafe staff greeting Ted, the first customer to walk through the door on the restaurant’s grand-reopening day – he arrived a few minutes after 6 am, as the beloved restaurant is back in business almost five months after a fire shut it down. We’ve talked with co-owner Larry Mellum, who’s also been interviewed by at least one TV crew so far (that’s a channel 7 photographer you see in the video above), and says he’s thrilled for this day to have finally arrived. More video and pix, including an interview with Larry, coming up. ADDED 6:34 AM: Another clip — a quick look inside, just before the first customer arrived:
ADDED 6:52 AM: Just before the customers began arriving, we talked with Larry about what’s changed at his restaurant, and what hasn’t:
Now a little of the backstory, to help with context for all this – The Charlestown Cafe has been a West Seattle fixture practically since its opening in 1991. Then, two years ago, in summer 2006, the cafe owners announced they were losing their lease because the property owner wanted to redevelop the site. A community outcry ensued, as did various hearings on the development. Then this year, just a few days before the February fire, when it seemed the project had been stalled for months, the Charlestown owners announced they had something of a reprieve (WSB report here). Still much to be decided about its future, but when the property owner committed to the repairs, that said a lot about a commitment to the restaurant for some time to come. (More later.)
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