West Seattle restaurants: ‘Experienced restaurateur’ buys Bohemian

August 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 36 Comments

WSB’ers are graced with sharp powers of observation, clearly! We’ve received a near-deluge of notes (thank you!) from people who saw the SOLD sign go up over the FOR SALE sign at the ex-Bohemian (3405 California SW), which closed last December. Public records yielded no information, so we checked with the listing broker, Jason Miller at Ewing and Clark. Here’s what he could tell us: The sale just closed yesterday. Miller – who lives in West Seattle – says the buyer does not want to be publicly identified yet, but is an “experienced restaurateur.” Miller says the sale took a while for reasons including, he says, it’s tough to get financing for restaurant projects right now – and unlike some properties on the market, this one involved purchasing the entire building, not just the restaurant business. More info when it’s available!


  1. Do we know what this sold for? & what was the original asking price ? -

    Comment by waman — 1:15 pm August 25, 2011 #

  2. And what this means, “entire building”? I thought the restaurant took up the entire building.

    Comment by gogo — 1:55 pm August 25, 2011 #

  3. A business can be sold without the building being sold, even if it does take up the entire building – they would just pay rent to a landlord, besides having bought whatever comprised the business …

    Comment by WSB — 2:05 pm August 25, 2011 #

  4. Oh, duh. :)

    Comment by gogo — 2:11 pm August 25, 2011 #

  5. When I moved to WS 26 years ago it was a wonderful family run Thai restaurant that ultimately failed, as have almost all of the many restaurants that came after them – many of them very good.

    I recall talking with the owner of the Thai restaurant shortly before they closed and he told me he was moving (to Bellevue I believe) because ‘this is not a good location.’ And every time I see another cafe/bistro/fine dining place go in I think of that savvy business observation. And then wait for the next sad but inevitable closing.

    Comment by Mitch — 2:20 pm August 25, 2011 #

  6. At some point it stopped being a restaurant, at least for a while, because the business that was in the space right before The Bohemian was Leslie’s Country Store … TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:27 pm August 25, 2011 #

  7. and Leslie’s had been there for quite some time, TR. My memory must be failing, as I thought it was a book store before that…but…the bookstore might have been where Prost is next door.

    Mitch..if you look around, there are many restaurants in West Seattle that are very, very successful. We love to eat here. People loved the Bohemian. It closed not because it was a failure…there were other things involved, if I recall.And, yes, it’s missed.

    Comment by JanS — 2:30 pm August 25, 2011 #

  8. The listing mentioned 750K- when it initially went up they wanted 1M. This has to be one of the hottest areas around for restaraunt openings in the past year?

    Comment by Wally — 2:33 pm August 25, 2011 #

  9. Was Gregor Books there, or the building to the left.

    Comment by Gina — 2:41 pm August 25, 2011 #

  10. Spiros has been next door to that location for at least 20 years, and seems to have made it work. It goes beyond just location.

    Since there isn’t an attraction nearby, like a sports stadium, that brings in regular patrons, the restaurant needs to make ITSELF the attraction. If someone can come up with a good enough idea, that people will be drawn to rather than stumble across, it can succeed nearly anywhere.

    Comment by VBD — 2:53 pm August 25, 2011 #

  11. Bookstore was Prost… before Leslie’s at some point it was a hair salon with black leather and red shag carpet walls! I looked at opening a business there myself just before Leslie’s right around 1998.

    Comment by jissy — 3:23 pm August 25, 2011 #

  12. I loved the Bohemian and was so sorry to see it close. Best meatballs EVER!

    I wish good luck to the next restaurant in there.

    Comment by SuperAwesome — 3:45 pm August 25, 2011 #

  13. Tom Douglas!

    Comment by yo — 4:00 pm August 25, 2011 #

  14. Tom Douglas or Ethan Stowell?

    Comment by Jeanine — 4:04 pm August 25, 2011 #

  15. Before Leslie’s it was The Showcase hair styling for many years.

    Comment by Rick — 4:05 pm August 25, 2011 #

  16. The area needs a little pho place. :)

    Comment by LyndaB — 4:18 pm August 25, 2011 #

  17. A bit off topic, but what ever happened to the Ethopian restaurant that was coming to West Seattle?

    Comment by Wendy — 4:38 pm August 25, 2011 #

  18. jason and his staff at the bohemian did not lack for a following while the restaurant was open. anyone who’d been there could easily see the quality of the food, the commitment to the craft and the attention to detail that jason had for the business. the bohemian didn’t last because a combination of things conspired against it- competition for cheaper less innovative food down the street, a downturn in the economy and other things probably none of us knows about. i mourn not having the bohemian around and saw the “for sale” sign the other day as well. if the next “experienced restauranteur” can come in and do as well or better, i’ll be back but there’s just no replacing some of those garnet fries or crab cakes.

    Comment by kumalavula — 4:45 pm August 25, 2011 #

  19. Experienced restaurateur? Hmmmm… I wonder if we will be lucky enough to have someone like Tom Douglas snatch it up.

    Comment by Megan — 4:54 pm August 25, 2011 #

  20. Saltys junior….

    Comment by visitor — 5:04 pm August 25, 2011 #

  21. Zippy’s Jr please!

    Comment by newnative — 6:18 pm August 25, 2011 #

  22. Just yesterday, a co-worker and I were talking with a kind woman who works at a Tom Douglas restaurant, and we mentioned that we’d love to see a TD place open in West Seattle. She’s a West Seattle resident too, and she absolutely agreed.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if that wishful chat came true today?

    Comment by rlv — 6:30 pm August 25, 2011 #

  23. Experience is the keyword, because more than half the owners of a restaurant shouldn’t be in the business in the first place.

    Comment by Jiggers — 7:29 pm August 25, 2011 #

  24. @ kumalavula, I agree that Jason is an outstanding chef. I had a burger there, and it was phenomenal. And the raclettes were a unique meal I’d never had before. But I also felt that the restaurant itself lacked the sort of appeal that left me longing to return. Atmosphere, and the cozy feel that a good “hangout” have were absent. It had a personality, but it was completely muted by the cafeteria style layout. As well, there were many days I passed by the place and it was nearly empty. Not good.

    Whomever the new buyer is, I’m excited to see what becomes of it. That block could be a great little scene if it’s executed well.

    Comment by VBD — 8:36 pm August 25, 2011 #

  25. Whatever it is, i hope it compliments Prost and not so much competes against…

    Comment by Johnny Be Good — 8:45 pm August 25, 2011 #

  26. Hopeful! We’ll support anything good… Would love a great breakfast spot with killer bloody mary’s.

    Comment by Lorelee — 9:17 pm August 25, 2011 #

  27. I recall hearing that the failure rate of a new restaurant can be quite high. Most certainly experience is a critical success denominator. I wish the new owner(s) much success and hope that they are able to create many new jobs.

    Comment by Aman — 9:39 pm August 25, 2011 #

  28. hope Trader Joe’s goes there. so tired of waiting for this news …

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 10:43 pm August 25, 2011 #

  29. For those mentioning Jason from Bohemian, I understand he’s now at A Terrible Beauty.

    Comment by Sue — 10:44 pm August 25, 2011 #

  30. oh darn Bob Loblaw, you beat me to it; trip to Trader Joes Ballard today; can hardly stand the wait for our own personal TJ’s within blocks

    Comment by Diane — 11:46 pm August 25, 2011 #

  31. The inside word its that its thomas keller…

    Comment by deep throat — 12:43 am August 26, 2011 #

  32. DT, someone dug up and sent a document that has a different name. I’m still trying to find it independently.

    Comment by WSB — 7:07 am August 26, 2011 #

  33. Why the Tom Douglas love fest, all he’ll do is overcharge you for throwing a piece of fish into an oven which I can do myself.

    Comment by seantildawn — 10:13 am August 26, 2011 #

  34. seantildawn: Have you ever met Tom? He’s a ‘Good Guy.’

    If Tom Douglas can make an honest-buck “throwing a piece of fish into an oven” and become famous in the process, good for him.

    Do I detect ‘flounder-envy?’ ;-)

    Comment by Aman — 11:33 am August 26, 2011 #

  35. SO excited about this news. Bohemian didn’t tank with the economy — definitely other factors. I hope someone can follow Jason’s lead with a broad menu, family AND adult friendly atmosphere and excellent patron rapport. Yay!

    Comment by 44th Neighbor — 3:25 pm August 26, 2011 #

  36. Hopefully it’s Gordon Ramsey cause we all need a good tongue lashing every once and awhile!!!!

    Comment by Badger — 2:03 am August 28, 2011 #

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