West Seattle restaurants: Bada Bistro closes on Alki

Another change in the Alki business district: As the sign on the door says, Bada Bistro has closed after less than five months at 61st and Alki. The restaurant/bar was a rebranding of what Sharon and John Bang, owners of Alki Café across the street, originally opened in spring 2011 as Beachside Café, in the space that had been Alki Bakery until its abrupt closure in November 2010. As for the new owners mentioned in the note as expected to open their doors next month – the outgoing owners, who say the decision to close Bada Bistro was “hard,” aren’t ready to comment just yet. They do say they will continue to own and operate Alki Café.

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76 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: Bada Bistro closes on Alki"

  • comment-avatar
    chris August 5, 2013 (4:42 pm)

    One of those “doomed” locations…sorry to hear about it.

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    chris August 5, 2013 (4:44 pm)

    “Bada bing, bada boom”

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    Bonnie August 5, 2013 (4:54 pm)

    It wasn’t doomed for the Alki Bakery. I wish they were still there.

  • comment-avatar
    JanS August 5, 2013 (5:07 pm)

    so sorry this is happening…I will miss their mussels :(

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    Guy Olson August 5, 2013 (5:11 pm)

    They should have been more active in the community.

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    Diane August 5, 2013 (5:18 pm)

    no location is doomed; people said that about south corner of the junction; then Terrible Beauty came in
    ~
    restaurant biz (my 1st 20 yr career) is VERY tough

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    WTF August 5, 2013 (5:24 pm)

    Sad to see any small business close. But…in order to run a business you have to cater to the customer want/need not your own.
    That area has specific customer base; it’s not the build it they will come. Successful places all around West Seattle have done their research first.

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    anomie25 August 5, 2013 (5:26 pm)

    Went there twice, thought the food and service were very good. Maybe they should have served merlot.

  • comment-avatar
    JoB August 5, 2013 (5:40 pm)

    anomie25

    they did serve Merlot.

  • comment-avatar
    West Seattle Wanderer August 5, 2013 (5:47 pm)

    Anomie25 – thanks for keeping the merlot joke going :)

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    Alk I August 5, 2013 (5:50 pm)

    Yes, sad, but definitely not surprised and had the main guy at the bar been a little more customer oriented my husband and I may have given them a third try. Nothing to do with the location…

    Hope this means they will put the benches back out in front of the bus stop…

  • comment-avatar
    Chris W August 5, 2013 (5:58 pm)

    I never went in. Seemed intimidating somehow. I do hope the new owners restore the bus benches.

  • comment-avatar
    Chris W August 5, 2013 (6:00 pm)

    Wait. I’ve misspoken. I did go in, but never ordered. Sorry they didn’t make it.

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    datamuse August 5, 2013 (6:03 pm)

    Oh, that’s too bad. I liked it there.

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    FreGirl August 5, 2013 (6:07 pm)

    Personally we never went in just because the menu was so all over the place. The restaurant was trying to be a little of this, a little of that and it just felt like it had no identity. Too bad this building didn’t come up in time for the coffee shop to move there. If it is another restaurant, I hope the new owners will pick a cuisine not already available on Alki and has a real identity. I’d love to see some amazing sandwich shop like the Honey Hole up in Capital Hill…. mmmmmmhmmm. No more thai, pizza or mexican please!

  • comment-avatar
    Al August 5, 2013 (6:44 pm)

    Just was there last night, it was a good dinner. The menu was all over the place though and couldn’t get a feel for what their point was. Too bad, I would have gone back for another go.

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    dawsonct August 5, 2013 (7:05 pm)

    Anomie25 – thanks for blowing my merlot joke.

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    star 55 August 5, 2013 (7:32 pm)

    Went there for lunch with a friend. We were the only ones there and three staff were present. Two sat at the bar and ate their lunch while we received service that had us never go back. Hope for something better and better service.

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    JayDee August 5, 2013 (7:56 pm)

    I sure hope the owners are not reading the comments folks — why kick a man (business) when he’s down? It’s clear you didn’t go there so let them rest in peace.

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    West Seattle Hipster August 5, 2013 (8:27 pm)

    I for one hope the owners do read the comments. If I ran a business I would want to know why it failed, so I could improve upon the weaknesses.

  • comment-avatar
    Ollie August 5, 2013 (8:48 pm)

    Please bring back Alki Bakery…….the lines were almost as long as Bakery Nouveau! Better yet, bring Bakery Nouveau to the beach@

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    Admiral resident August 5, 2013 (9:20 pm)

    Jamba Juice!!

  • comment-avatar
    Gene August 5, 2013 (9:23 pm)

    Second that West Seattle Hipster- hearing criticism like what’s been posted here is not kicking someone when they’re down.
    The old & new owners should take note.

  • comment-avatar
    Dano August 5, 2013 (9:26 pm)

    Wow…. Imagine!….. A REAL, honest to goodness bakery on the beach!…. The smells of yeasty, rustic breads…… Buttery croissants… Fresh cookies….. Mixing with the sunshine in summer, and the crashing waves and misty winter mornings!!….. I would go every single day!

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    T August 5, 2013 (9:30 pm)

    What was up with the honking huge flat screen tv? It dominated the place. I also didn’t go because it had a sportsbar vibe, which I am not into. Plus, as others have mentioned, the menu seemed a a bit all over the place. And then they had that cutesy hot pink curlique sign for alcoholic beach drinks out front all the time. Honestly though, the tv dominating the whole space is what turned me off. I would have gone in without the tv.

    I would love some good café/bistro food (like circa).

  • comment-avatar
    DTK August 5, 2013 (9:33 pm)

    Something with bikinis and roller-skates would be nice.

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    add August 5, 2013 (9:41 pm)

    Wow, a bummer – was planning to try it this summer. Must have been a hard decision after such a short time in business.

  • comment-avatar
    Last53BusRider August 5, 2013 (9:42 pm)

    We could use a good doughnut place.

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    Lindsey August 5, 2013 (9:56 pm)

    We gave it a try and had pretty lack luster service and like others, we were the only people in there. The cocktails we had were pretty good for a warm summer day.

  • comment-avatar
    Resident3 August 5, 2013 (10:09 pm)

    @Admiral Resident …there are a few places to get smoothies around there already. :)

  • comment-avatar
    Chrisd August 5, 2013 (10:14 pm)

    You make good sense WTF.

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    John August 5, 2013 (10:31 pm)

    @FreGirl: YES! Wholeheartedly agreed. There is no good place to get a sandwich around here. If there were a Honey Hole on the beach, I’d be there daily.

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    Beach Dr Home August 5, 2013 (10:38 pm)

    I vote for either…
    1. Tea Shop (we have plenty of “coffee” places)
    2. Soup & Sandwich. Seriously. Seattle is rainy and cool 6 months of the year (esp down on Alki) and I can NEVER FREAKEN believe how hard it is to get a damn cup of soup in this town. Yes everyone like Alki Cafe has the mandatory cup of chowder, but I mean some place with like 6-8 real soup choices. How is THAT a hard thing to find in a rainy cool climate, amazing. I end up going to Three Girls at the market when I get in that mood, wish someplace closer did that.

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    lyndab August 5, 2013 (11:16 pm)

    I second the donut shop request. Top pot? Pretty please?

  • comment-avatar
    Celeste17 August 5, 2013 (11:28 pm)

    I would love a good jewish deli with Matzo ball soup. Haven’t had a good Matzo ball soup in a long time.

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    WSTypo August 6, 2013 (1:02 am)

    I read a locally owned business has had to face the “hard decision to close.” They still own another business right across the street. While I did not frequent the place either, shouldn’t we feel bad for our neighbour & local biz owner? Maybe there’s a better place to rally for your favorite food choice?

    I know it’s pretty easy to slip into reaction mode and write things we’d never say. I’ve done it too, but it’s a slip I’m trying to avoid.

    I guess I just wish more of us could view news like this with more compassion for this West Seattle family and local family business. And, no, I don’t know who the owners are. But I’m betting if it was YOUR biz, you’d want people to respect the impact on YOU – and not to react straight off with what kind of food they want at that site instead. {{ steps off soap box}}

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    Rara August 6, 2013 (5:35 am)

    I’m so sad! Their food was delicious. I’m going to miss those curry mussels….

  • comment-avatar
    Amrakx August 6, 2013 (5:48 am)

    Poor Service on 3 different occasions, still sorry to see a scratch restaurant fold. Five months hardly seems a serious commitment.

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    Sue August 6, 2013 (6:36 am)

    Celeste17, you can get matzo ball soup at Eats Market in Westwood Village.

  • comment-avatar
    Sue August 6, 2013 (6:38 am)

    I notice that many of you have some commentary on why you did not like Bada Bistro and/or what they could improve about their restaurant. Did any of you actually tell the management when they were open? It seems as if it would be helpful to tell a restaurant this type of feedback as it’s happening so they could (if they so choose) make some changes before they close down. I never went there, so I can’t give my opinion one way or another.

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    Gene August 6, 2013 (6:46 am)

    Celeste 17- please try Eats Cafe at Westwood Village.

  • comment-avatar
    JoB August 6, 2013 (7:26 am)

    if you didn’t go in
    you don’t know what you missed…

    i will miss the mussels

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    WhyChange August 6, 2013 (7:30 am)

    @Sue – Fair point, but no. I didn’t tell Bada Bistro, after months of design, creating a menu, and work to open as what it was, and change to a soup and sandwich casual cafe. LOL. Besides that’s just ME, I haven’t done actual market research on this, just IMHO. What I miss is the OLD Liberty Deli (in what is now Celtic Swell). That place was great. That’s what I’d love to see back. Almost every attempt to make a semi-up scale ‘foody’ place fails on Alki (original Phoenecia maybe the exception). Don’t listen to me though, I love Cactus, but I thought they’d were going to be too big and too ‘different’ to survive down there, but they seem to be doing ok. So clearly I have no idea :)

  • comment-avatar
    Gene August 6, 2013 (7:48 am)

    You know-if their business was suffering( there are always ups & downs) to the point the owners were considering selling-maybe they could have reached out to patrons-with some type of comment card. They could have even reached out via WSB.
    Yes patrons who were dissatisfied could have voiced their concerns-but many times just not going back is a comment.

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    JG August 6, 2013 (7:59 am)

    Doomed ideas or execution maybe. The same owners do really well across the street with the Alki Cafe. They just didn’t nail the right format. Their previous effort was a really pale imitation of the Alki Bakery and this thing was just confusing and uninviting from the beginning.

    Tips for new owners – Bigger brighter(cleaner) windows.
    Clear cut menu and concept.
    That location needs to inspire spur of the moment casual eating, drinking and hanging out.

  • comment-avatar
    JG August 6, 2013 (8:28 am)

    Comments and criticism are vital to a business. It’s not kicking someone when they’re down.

    The fact that they had two concepts fail in the same location in under 2 years is a sign that they didn’t meet the needs of the community somehow. And soliciting and listening to suggestions might have helped.

    And, in this case, they have a successful business next door still so no one’s really “down” anyway.

    The new owners would do well to listen to what the community needs. Those beachside locations are tough because they need to appeal to both the weekenders during the summer and the locals to sustain during the winter.

    It should also be noted that they DID make several changes in menu and focus over the weeks. But they didn’t do anything to make the place look more inviting from the outside and upon entry.

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    Admiral August 6, 2013 (8:32 am)

    I second the sandwich/soup concept, but with a bit of wine and not a full bar. In the summer, it can have a heavy to-go element not just of sandwiches but maybe good gelato or dips/spreads/bread/cheese for beach picnic-ers or residents who want to take upscale deli food home to eat. In the winter, people can warm up there and also take food home. The little market down near Cactus is *ok* but something that has sit-down decent service (i.e. a cafe w/a bit of wine) and a take-away element for the summer people would be nice. The people who are on Alki during the summer (4 months of the year) are not the same as real locals. Work-from-home types, mothers w/strollers, seniors, etc. are down there ALL year, and it’d be nice to have a place that’s a little healthier for a meal or a cafe experience but also can serve the summer folks. I’m thinking of a place similar in atmosphere, say, to a Vios cafe at Third Place Books or a DeLaurenti’s at Pike Place Market. Think about how well Marination is doing… it’s mostly day food but with a little wine/beer. Then do that, but with a different kind of food for takeout.

  • comment-avatar
    Gene August 6, 2013 (9:14 am)

    When this was Alki Bakery– at least when I went there – they did have great pastries – great sandwiches & soup, salads & if I remember correctly some pasta dishes. I don’t think they had wine- but just about all the things folks are saying is needed they had & it was very good. The place appealed to all- moms & kids( they had a great pb&j) walkers, bus riders, families- folks reading a book or on their laptops.& yes seniors– year round. You could take out as well- we did that often getting our things to go & taking it across to the beach.So what happened?
    Did the owners want more of a late afternoon – evening-late night crowd? Did people just stop going & if so why?

    Just funny to see the comments wanting a soup & sandwich place – with take out- that appeals to all ages-when that is pretty much what was there before.

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    ServerGirl August 6, 2013 (9:18 am)

    I have heard from the 20+ employees that were NOT notified of a closure until yesterday morning (at their scheduled opening shift time) that the property was sold to the Fat Burger chain. They were given the option to become Fat Burger employees which I believe is almost an insult to those employees.
    Personally this is disappointing to me because once these chains come to alki other businesses will loose their customer base just like pepperdocks.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike August 6, 2013 (9:24 am)

    I didn’t even know they existed. Sounds like it was good though.

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    Tim August 6, 2013 (9:58 am)

    I tried it and had horrible service as well as a couple of pretty nasty chicken wings. I attempted to contact the owners through the web site but found myself in a loop. I posted a review on Yelp instead.

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    Al August 6, 2013 (9:58 am)

    A great sandwich shop – great idea! I was at Alki for a while over the weekend and I couldn’t believe I couldn’t find a sandwich to go. I did discover the completely delicious Saigon Boat Cafe and their sandwiches, but I was wanting something more NY deli like to take and eat on the beach.

    Beer and wine would be a plus!

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    JG August 6, 2013 (10:31 am)

    Gene. Alki Bakery was a different business with different owners. They moved on to other locations. These owners did try something similiar in the last iteration, but it failed.

    For sandwich seekers. Ampersand has good sandwiches. They don’t advertise them very well though.

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    james August 6, 2013 (10:36 am)

    I really liked Bada and always had great service at the bar. One thing that did drive me crazy as someone that works in the marketing industry is the outside beer-sponsored signage. It gave the impression that it was a bar/diner type of place, which couldn’t have been different from the menu and feel of the place inside. Major misstep in my opinion, particularly when combined with the oft-repeated “merlot” comment from pre-opening.

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    onion August 6, 2013 (10:41 am)

    My wife actually really liked Bada Bistro and went there a number of times for happy hour with her friends. But I can understand if people felt that their service and focus weren’t sharp. Better promotion and focus would definitely have helped.

    I always missed the fact that this was no longer a coffee or lunch option, particularly for those who prefer a local outfit rather than a chain. Having invested quite a bit to remodel the place as a full-service restaurant I hope someone good makes a go of it in that space.

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    Gene August 6, 2013 (10:52 am)

    FYI– Christos on Alki has great chicken wings!!

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    CJ August 6, 2013 (11:06 am)

    All of a sudden everyone is a food critic! Makes me laugh

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    Amanda August 6, 2013 (11:30 am)

    Also a subway is going in on this block. So you will have Subway, Starbucks, or Fatburger to chose your soup and sammies from.

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    GW August 6, 2013 (1:19 pm)

    Well, when it comes to earning people’s money, yeah, are all critics and rightfully so. :)

    I’ve also enjoyed reading comments, both negative and positive, because my first thought was “why?” Reading through the comments perhaps gives us an idea.

    My wife and I ate there three or four times, always had good food and good service, though it did feel a bit out of place in the area.

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    Alki Area August 6, 2013 (1:33 pm)

    I don’t understand Ampersand (the old Pioneer Coffee or older Alki Mail & Dispatch). I wondered about it, even contacted the folks here on WSB, they say they tried to contact Ampersand to get some info, but they wouldn’t return calls or talk to them, THAT’S why there hasn’t been anything on the blog about this new business. Insane! Who opens a small business and turns down FREE advertising. Thousands of locals could have found out what that place is (Ampersand) without having to walkin, but they turned down the free publicity…crazy. It’s amazing how some small businesses seem to be hell bent on sabotaging themselves (never advertising, not paying attention to the competition, not caring about what the market wants, etc).

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    dock August 6, 2013 (2:08 pm)

    I was at bar at Dukes yesterday and the staff of Bada was there. They had just found out the same day the owners closed it, they were in total shock and all jobless with no warning drowning there sorrows. They told us that the owners sold the place to Fatburger, I didn’t believe it, but it must be true cause Alki Beach is listed as an upcoming location on the Fatburger website. Fastfood.

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    WS Neighbor August 6, 2013 (4:15 pm)

    I ate their twice and really enjoyed it. I’m sorry they didn’t make it.

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    SVAdmiral August 6, 2013 (10:02 pm)

    Ampersand is a solid, low key joint operated by the slices folks. Props to them for letting their business grow organically- I recommend it to anyone willing to overlook the fact that they aren’t clamming for “free publicity.”

    For the Bada location, I vote for merlot matza ball donut sandwich fusion. Or a 7/11; those usually have lots of options.

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    Joplin August 6, 2013 (10:40 pm)

    http://www.lepainquotidien.com

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    Resident3 August 6, 2013 (11:42 pm)

    Uhmmm what is that link Joplin?

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    AlkiGrl August 7, 2013 (12:08 am)

    Sad to see you go, BB. Best happy hour on the beach.
    It would be nice to have a non-restaurant option on the beach with Alki Arts going also. But if it has to be food, I vote for sushi.

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    Lisa August 7, 2013 (7:28 am)

    I am curious to know whether the new place already has its plan firmed up. I think that the comments here could be very helpful if the people running the new place read them.

    In that vein:

    The summer and winter are different – in the winter you’d get locals and parking would not be such a problem. In the summer you have to capture the already parked/walk-in crowd.

    I would like to see one of those “by the pound” salad/soup places. In the winter there could be more hot entrees.

    I think a BBQ place (Jones?) would do well.

    I think a place like Red Bowls would do GREAT. http://www.yelp.com/biz/red-bowls-seattle. I don’t know if its a chain or not, but it would work for people who want to sit down and people who want to take the food home and people who want to sit on the beach and eat it.

    Sushi would also be great. Maybe a place that had good noodle soups and noodle stir fries and also sushi.

    Just ideas.

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    David Clark August 7, 2013 (2:19 pm)

    I went to Bada Bistro at least twenty times since they opened, maybe more. I worked my way through the entire menu and enjoyed every dish. I never had a disappointment in the food, the service or the staff. I’m going to miss all of it.

    Doomed by lack of advertising as much as anything else. When I went in, crowds were tiny, the ones who were there were always regulars, if people only had known it was here.

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    Tucker August 7, 2013 (5:10 pm)

    Fatburger on Alki? I’m not sure a chain that size is going to do well there.

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    West Seattle Hipster August 7, 2013 (7:34 pm)

    Love the idea of an authentic BBQ joint on Alki.

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    Joplin August 7, 2013 (9:53 pm)

    Sorry, Le Pain Quotidien is a franchise, but not very common here. I’ve seen them more in Europe, (they are Belgian) but they fit the sandwich / salad / soup suggestion — great breads, great breakfast options, very tasty open faced grilled sandwich options that work in cold or warm weather and work well for our neighborhood– they believe in local and organic, and are very warm and friendly inside, with wooden tables, fire places, great coffee in the morning and wine in the afternoon / evening, and the best part — communal tables. the food fits the summer crowd, and would serve us locals well in the winter – warm soups and sandwiches and good company. When we lived abroad it was the most comfortable place for us to be, not just because they welcomed us Americans, but mostly because the atmosphere was very inviting to us as well as the locals.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the cash to open a franchise. But I do say we dream of it often.

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    Ray West August 8, 2013 (5:09 am)

    I was going to try them, but was never intrigued enough to rush to yet another Asian restaurant and the concept sounded rather disjointed. One big problem for any business in that location is the high rent. Isn’t that what doomed the Alki bakery? Greedy landlords are hurting local businesses. I would also like to see a deli type place where you could have the option to dine in or get take-out for eating on the beach. There was a recent deli/market that set up in part of the long-gone Alki Market (now Cactus) that offered soup/sandwiches/salads, etc. but that didn’t make it either. I’m not sure what would be successful enough to pay the high rent and make a profit for owners. I second the “no more pizza, Mexican, or Thai” comment, but I suspect that’s what we’ll end up with.

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    anomie25 August 8, 2013 (5:30 pm)

    I’d be interested to hear the restaurant’s side of the story. All kinds of speculation here like the one about “greedy landlords”, folks berating the menu they never tried, other folks saying the place was so intimidating they would not go in! Thanks, Dave for supporting Bada Bistro. @ WSB, you did the original story that lit up the Blog over the merlot thing. I’d sure like to see a story on what the owner’s take on all this is particularly since they do a run a successful restaurant next door.

    • comment-avatar
      WSB August 8, 2013 (5:54 pm)

      Anomie, I have been in contact with the now-former owners, and they’re the ones who confirmed the change in the first place. They know that I’d be happy to publish whatever they have to say – we have in the past – if they want to talk about it on the record. – TR

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    Kelli August 14, 2013 (2:49 pm)

    Sorry to see a chef inspired restaurant leave Alki…really enjoyed the small plates and wine…not happy to see another mediocre sandwich, cafe, fried food, place on Alki…enough of those already!!!

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