WEST SEATTLE RESTAURANTS: Alki Fatburger closes; B’s Po Boy on the way

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By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After a little more than three years in business, Alki Fatburger has closed.

Thanks for the tip that sent us over to look for the telltale sign on the door. But with this restaurant closure, unlike many, we know what’s going to follow.

First, the backstory: Fatburger, part of an international chain, opened at 2738 Alki SW in October 2013, not long after the closing of Bada Bistro, which was in business for less than five months. The bistro had been a rebranding of the space that its then-owners operated as Beachside Café for about two years. That in turn was the successor to the abruptly shuttered Alki Bakery, a corner fixture for 25 years, until November 2010.

Back to the present – the sign on the door at the now-ex-Fatburger promises “an exciting new concept.” And we have just spoken to one of the co-proprietors who will be opening it within a few months.

Deborah Borchelt and her husband Ryan Borchelt are new West Seattleites who moved here from Indianapolis, where they founded B’s Po Boy, which she describes as “a Cajun-themed restaurant with authentic po boy sandwiches.” They will open its second location here.

How authentic? “If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, what really makes a po boy is the bread. We were thrilled to find out we’ll be able to get that bread here in Seattle, the same bread we use in Indiana.”

The menu – slightly expanded from what they have in Indianapolis, because the kitchen is larger – also will include gumbo, red beans and rice, beignets, salads, and other sandwiches. Also, she says, “vegan options.”

They’ll have “beer, wine, and spirits,” too.

They’re keeping the Indianapolis restaurant open as well as opening on Alki. So how did they wind up in West Seattle? It’s a love story – they fell in love with our area while visiting good friends here last summer. Those friends, she says, “said you’ll love it here …and we did fall in love, head over heels.” The friends, at the time, were renting on Alki, and had discovered another restaurant for sale. Deborah and her husband started talking and realized they could do business anywhere – so they pursued the idea of moving here and opening another B’s Po Boy.

It took four trips before they settled things, she says, and they were adamant that both their home and restaurant had to be in West Seattle – “that’s how much we love (it).”

So they have been in their home for a month and, this Friday, they close on the now-ex-Fatburger space. They will be working with the design-build firm Mallett to renovate it – nothing major, she says, “we’re not moving walls, but it will have a totally different look and feel.”

They hope to open within two months of closing but realistically, she says, it might be more like three. The hours will be similar to what they do in Indianapolis – opening daily at 11, closing at 9 Sundays-Thursdays, 10 Fridays-Saturdays, during the winter, adding an hour in summer. Maybe later, she says, depending on what they discover about business at the beach.

It will be a full table-service restaurant, with carryout too, and probably some catering.

Borchelt says they’ve seen lots of signs that things were meant to be. Even, she laughs, Alaska Airlines starting nonstop Seattle-Indianapolis service this spring!

She says they’ve talked to some West Seattle “merchants and neighbors” – without divulging their future location until now – and says “everyone’s been welcoming … we feel like we made a great decision.”

70 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE RESTAURANTS: Alki Fatburger closes; B's Po Boy on the way"

  • Kristina January 17, 2017 (3:59 pm)

    Yum!  Fatburger didn’t do anything for me but this sounds very interesting and I look forward to trying it out.  I wish them great success!

  • onion January 17, 2017 (4:00 pm)

    Love it — a new casual restaurant with genuine options! Absolutely love Po Boys and Cajun food. As a former Hoosier myself (a long, long time ago) whose first Seattle residence was just down the street from this location (I still miss the Alki Bakery!), I say WELCOME! 

  • Luke January 17, 2017 (4:00 pm)

    Thank you for having vegan options! Excited to have a new place to go. 

  • Swede. January 17, 2017 (4:02 pm)

    That sounds like a nice and promising place! More mom ń pop, less chains. 

  • unknown January 17, 2017 (4:07 pm)

    OOH boy Po’ Boy sammies!!!! Can’t wait.

  • Curtis January 17, 2017 (4:10 pm)

    Yay! Hmm……. wonder if they’ll serve……. oh, never mind.  Now if someone can just get Taco Del Mar into the old Subway shop by Spring.

    • Elisa Castl January 17, 2017 (9:18 pm)

      You mean Merlot?

  • West Seattle Hipster January 17, 2017 (4:15 pm)

    Very happy that Fatburger closed, the service had really gone downhill since it first opened.  Last time we visited we walked out after being ignored for 15 minutes (we were the only patrons).  Wingstop has much better wings.

    .

     

    Looking forward to some good gumbo! 

  • J242 January 17, 2017 (4:16 pm)

    Fantastic! Where Ya’at Matt’s has decent bread and decent ingredients while Jemil’s is hands down my favorite po boys in Seattle but they’re bread doesn’t have that crispy flakiness on the outside that I expect. It will be great to have a dedicated Po Boy shop in the area. 

    Ya’ll have a dedicated family of customers right here already and we can’t wait to try out every item you’ve got! Fried Green Tomatoes? yes, Yes, YES!!! Now, if you can start bringing in the Abita seasonals like Strawberry Harvest regularly and always have some Purple Haze on hand (especially in the summer) I might have to pitch a tent on your sidewalk. ;)

    • KittyJorts January 17, 2017 (4:39 pm)

      I love Where Ya At Matt and Jamil’s Big Easy.

      I had an Abita at Vidiot just this weekend! World Market is pretty good about stocking them, and I think I’ve picked some up at The Beer Junction too.

      Really excited for a true po boy shop so close to home!

      • MrWatters January 17, 2017 (7:40 pm)

        No love for Crayfish House in White Center?

        • J242 January 18, 2017 (8:04 am)

          “Crawfish” House is great too and we order fairly regularly but their po boy selection is a little limited. It’s still good but more options are always great! All of the crawfish spots in town seem to favor the vietnamese butter & oil boil versus the southern water, spices & fixin’s method that we prefer. They’re good, just different and you can tell they were pre-cooked/frozen. Nothing like a fresh (live) mudbug boil done right to show you the stark contrast in styles. 

        • KittyJorts January 18, 2017 (9:08 am)

          I have never heard of Crawfish House. I’ll have to check them out now!

          Seattle Fish Company has po boys but I don’t think they stack up to WYAM and Jamil’s.

    • Mystery Girl January 18, 2017 (12:51 am)

      Yes!!! Please bring Abita, I love the good year round Abita Amber and please, please, please don’t only carry IPA’s! Can not wait for some serious Cajun food!

      • Kathy January 18, 2017 (5:25 pm)

        Serve Manny’s and it will be our go to place….

  • Chuck January 17, 2017 (4:21 pm)

    Welcome! I never bothered to visit the chain burger joint, but will for sure give this place a try. I don’t recall ever having an “authentic” Po’ Boy so I’ll have to take their word for it, but looking forward to trying something a little bit different.

  • Marge E. January 17, 2017 (4:31 pm)

    so happy to see something that isn’t pizza or burgers.

  • squareeyes January 17, 2017 (4:48 pm)

    If you put muffaleta’s on the menu I’ll be there!

  • Sean McVeigh January 17, 2017 (4:54 pm)

    Hopefully someone has talked to them about the Winters on the beach. That second income will come in handy.

    • Will Raunig January 18, 2017 (4:38 pm)

      Key to the winters around here is getting the locals interested since tourists are long gone.

      Glad to see Fatburger gone, hopefully Alki Beach Pub is next to go

  • miws January 17, 2017 (4:57 pm)

    Wow! Time is going just too fast!  When I saw the headline my first thought was “After only about a year?” Then see it’s been over three!  (And over six for Alki Bakery!)

    Never made it into FB, but beside the fact it would take me two buses to get there, really had no desire to try them.  I’ve got Zippy’s in my neighborhood! 

    Mike

  • Jenni Bodnar January 17, 2017 (4:58 pm)

    Very excited for this new restaurant – loving the variety we have on Alki! 

  • tt January 17, 2017 (5:47 pm)

    Woot! I’m super excited. Finally something other than pizza, burgers and Mexican. Can’t wait!!

  • Melissa White January 17, 2017 (5:58 pm)

    We are so excited. Highly recommend adding hush puppies to the menu mix as they are hard to find here and us former southerners seek them out :) 

  • Todd January 17, 2017 (6:02 pm)

    I’m surprised it took this long for FB to close and I welcome what sounds like a truly unique dining choice not only for Alki, but WS in general!

  • Cass January 17, 2017 (6:10 pm)

    So excited for this place! Was really hoping for something different to go into the Subway location but this even better! 

  • Dhg January 17, 2017 (6:53 pm)

    I tried Fatburger just once.  The waitress got my order wrong and when I called her on it she said she thought I’d ordered something else, then walked away.  I never went back.

  • Brian January 17, 2017 (7:28 pm)

     “If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, what really makes a po boy is the bread. We were thrilled to find out we’ll be able to get that bread here in Seattle, the same bread we use in Indiana.”

    Does not compute…

    • Deb Borchelt January 18, 2017 (11:57 am)

      Brian, This means that we use Leidenheimer bread. The company has been supplying their bread to 90+% of the po boy shops in Louisiana for over 100 years. We arranged to have that bread shipped to us in Indianapolis where our other restaurant is located. That bread will also be available to us here in Seattle. It is an essential ingredient to a true po boy.  Does this help to explain? 

      • Danette January 18, 2017 (3:42 pm)

        Yes, Leidenheimer’s!!! This NOLA native is looking forward to it. “Leidenheimer’s – that’s French for bread” (if anyone remembers that…?). 

  • JanS January 17, 2017 (7:29 pm)

    being older now, and not as svelte as I used to be, I had a real problem
    with going to a place called “Fatburger”. I have never been…had no desire to go.Just like the place in Wallingford that has pizza named “Pudge” – lol. Yes, as Mike said…Zippy’s…or Circa , or quite a few other sit down restaurants that serve yummy burgers…Jak’s anyone? Cajun sounds delish.
    Friends and I still frequent a couple of places on Alki in the
    winter..Cactus especially. Put out a good product, good food, great
    service, and any place can make it through the winter. Looking forward
    to trying it :)

    • dawsonct January 23, 2017 (9:00 am)

      Jan, you aren’t missing anything. Went to the one in Issaquah a few years ago and it was okay, but for the price there are dozens of better burgers in Seattle. Not even good enough to draw me to the Beach.
      A decent po’ boy, on the other hand…!

  • dhg January 17, 2017 (7:42 pm)

    I am concerned about the choice of Cajun food because so many places have come and gone that have tried it.  Remember La Lousianne on California ave back in 1998?  White Center had a guy who did nothing but beignets but that’s now gone.

    • Oakley34 January 17, 2017 (9:11 pm)

      Gone but not forgotten.  If somehow anyone connected to that place reads this…I miss your donuts dearly.

    • prayforrain January 18, 2017 (3:11 pm)

      Hate to say it but La Louisianne was not good.  Tried it twice.  And saying a restaurant is not good is pretty extreme for me.  

  • Buffalo Bill January 17, 2017 (7:53 pm)

    Fatburger is too casual for table service. It should have been a burger stand like Blue Moon and Pepperdock. I did like Buffalo Wild Wings though.

  • Mike January 17, 2017 (8:07 pm)

    Looking forward to some cajun food near by.  That Fatburger had the WORST service ever.

  • CitySmack January 17, 2017 (9:32 pm)

    They decide to move and open a business just as living expenses balloon in King County. This means customers will have less discretionary money as they struggle to pay new taxes (with endless new amounts on the way). 

    I hope they can break the cycle of failure at that venue, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • jissy January 17, 2017 (10:24 pm)

    Just say it, Curtis!!  

    • Curtis January 23, 2017 (2:18 pm)

      Ok, Ok. I wonder if they’ll serve Merlot?

  • Mmarie January 17, 2017 (11:35 pm)

    Still hoping for a classic diner in west Seattle someday! 

    • DK January 18, 2017 (12:54 pm)

      There’s Be’s, Chelan, and easystreet…

      • Nowimhungry January 19, 2017 (6:06 am)

        Be’s, Chelan, and Easy Street are NOT classic diners, classic diners are open 24hours a day and breakfast, lunch and dinner are always available. Chelan is the closest with the counter seating.  I too, long for a proper diner here in West Seattle… With Scrapple and Cream Chopped Beef….

  • Rod January 18, 2017 (12:09 am)

    @DHG you say SO MANY have tried cajun food but you name two, one that goes back 18 years. Give it a chance!!

  • aa January 18, 2017 (12:09 am)

    Cycle of failure seems like a stretch since 25  of the last 31 years it was the same business.

     I too couldn’t stand the thought of eating at a place called fatburger.  awful name in my opinion.  I think there used to be a place on Queen Anne, part of Tiny  Bigs that has heart attack in the name. Anyone remember?

    • J242 January 18, 2017 (8:09 am)

      Yup, I remember that place. I thought it was “Art Attack” cafe or grill or something. There’s a “Heart Attack Grill” in Vegas with such “charming” dishes like the triple bypass burger and whatnot but I don’t think it was related.

  • Dogmom January 18, 2017 (12:41 am)

    Yay!!!  It’s so hard to find decent Cajun in Seattle, and now one is moving into our own backyard?!?!?!  So excited!  Welcome B’s!

  • RayWest January 18, 2017 (4:20 am)

    Finally,  something different in West Seattle. I wish them luck,  but Alki is a tough location for new restaurants.

  • Lauren Preiato January 18, 2017 (5:12 am)

    Your east coast friends can’t wait to see your new West Coast restaurant! B’s in Indy, is fantastic- and it is so awesome you are bringing it to Seattle!  Love you both! Can’t wait to see the new place in a few months when we fly out to visit from NY!

  • anonyme January 18, 2017 (5:43 am)

    Beignets?  I’m in!

  • West Sea Neighbor January 18, 2017 (7:40 am)

    Glad to see a new concept in this space. I never tried Fatburger, for reasons including the name, the chain and other more appealing options in the area. A good po’boy and beans and rice sound good to me. I wish our new neighbors nothing but the best of luck! No reason that location can’t work for a good, well run establishment.

  • LL January 18, 2017 (8:13 am)

    …..merlot? 😉

  • HappyOnAlki January 18, 2017 (9:08 am)

    Happy to see this! (Altho I’m still missing Alki Bakery, and it was gone two years before I moved here . . . .)

  • Kathy January 18, 2017 (12:03 pm)

    Living 2 blocks from Cactus off and on for 40 years, I hardly ever eat in the restaurants on Alki, because they are mostly mediocre and I can cook better at home. This location, which is fabulous, should be easy to make into a successful restaurant (corner lot, right on the bus line) that is any good at all. What you need is a way to draw the locals in the winter when the tourist traffic is down.

    I can really get behind Cajun food 3 blocks from home. But my waistline! Beignets will sell like hotcakes down here. Best of luck. The nice thing about Alki is you have a great place to walk/jog/swim/bike off your calories.

  • Fauntleroyness January 18, 2017 (12:24 pm)

    Relatively affordable Cajun takeout?  Sign me up.  Gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice….  Once a week, minimum.

  • AwakeAtNight January 18, 2017 (12:31 pm)

    Has anyone tried The Cajun Crawfish on MLK Way?  

  • sgg January 18, 2017 (12:53 pm)

    Best of luck with the new Cajun restaurant.  I will give it a try, but be warned there is a mighty long list of failed Alki restaurants that can’t make it through the fickle seasonality of the area.  Keep it simple, accessible, and take out friendly and you might just stand a chance.  I’ve seen so many flops in this neighborhood I am very skeptical about cajun being the right fit for this neighborhood.

    I find it interesting that the franchises have lately been the ones to fail at Alki!  Usually they are the ones that can weather through the long winters with little to no business.

    Fatburger had slow service that was really poor.  One of the few places I have left nothing as a tip.

    • David January 18, 2017 (1:35 pm)

      As someone who lives in North Carolina and regularly thinks about stopping over in Indianapolis specifically for B’s, I’ll assure you there will be no such disappointment. Hopefully we’ll get one on the east coast soon enough, but for now I’ll have an extra excuse to visit Seattle. Best of luck!

    • newnative January 18, 2017 (1:45 pm)

      if it isn’t ice cream and fish and chips, it needs to be a destination eatery.  A place that people really want to go.  Also something you can take out easily.  I think this is it.  

  • prayforrain January 18, 2017 (3:14 pm)

    It’ll be nice to have some variety and not yet another burger joint.  Good luck!  

  • pjmanley January 18, 2017 (4:57 pm)

    Whomever eventually opens a place on Alki called “Merlot” is going to make a killing from the locals.  The cult following and goodwill already exist.  And that’s nice.    

     

  • seaotter January 18, 2017 (5:25 pm)

    Indeed, service was spotty, but I did really like the onion rings.  So hard to find anything but the bready Sysco rings.

  • Wsmom January 19, 2017 (11:43 am)

    I ate at that Fatburger once and never again.  The service was meh but the real problem was the smoke.  It was a beautiful summer day and it was like being in a smoking restaurant.  The windows were open and their were people smoking up a storm at the bus stop that is right outside the window.

    I hope the new owner’s see this and realize what a big problem the smoking at the bus stop is and do something about it.  

  • marty January 21, 2017 (9:51 am)

    went to fb twice.mediocre food and pricey.i live 40 yds from the front door.says a lot for their 3yrs..love cajun food!will go well with my LSU football tigers!geaux!

  • Holly January 22, 2017 (12:35 am)

    Welcome to Seattle. I’m excited for a new Cajun place to sit or have takeout! The place sounds like it’d be yummy!

  • alki_2008 January 22, 2017 (6:19 pm)

    This sounds exciting. I’ve never been a huge fan of Po-Boy sandwiches, but I do miss southern food.

    Beignets sound great and the Brunch menu. Some southern foods I would love to see on the menu, even though they’re not necessarily “Cajun”:

    hush puppies

    fried okra (looks like okra will already be sourced for the gumbo, so not a stretch)

    grits and salmon (not shrimp)

  • Northender January 27, 2017 (11:48 am)

    has anyone tried Acadia? new spot in Fremont/Wallingford that has great muffeleta

  • Jeanine January 28, 2017 (7:13 pm)

    Cajun is an exciting option to pizza burgers & Mexican – yay! Best wishes!!! Would love to see a fun & lively atmosphere where you order at the counter & food is brought to your table va full table service. Keep it casual at the beach!!!

  • Vince February 6, 2017 (11:20 am)

    Nice to have more choices…..étouffée?  I remember eating it in New Orleans but can’t remember much about it other than I loved it.

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