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FOLLOWUP: City says it’ll evaluate Pecos drive-thru traffic if it’s a problem

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Neighbors of the Pecos Pit Barbecue project at 4400 35th SW are asking for a meeting with city reps to show their concerns about its drive-thru exiting onto SW Genesee.

The concerns aren’t new – they’ve come up since the proposal (first reported here a year ago) was shown to include a drive-through, which will be the fourth in the 35th/Avalon vicinity (after KFC, Taco Time, and Starbucks). But as neighbors point out, they’re unique because the drive-through on the restaurant’s east side will have vehicles exiting onto residential SW Genesee to the north, where parking overflow from the apartments and condos along Avalon tends to result in one travel lane.

The city has approved the plan and said it didn’t require a wider review because it wasn’t a change in use for the building, owned by City Light and formerly a teriyaki restaurant. But that restaurant didn’t have a drive-through. Neighbors say they’re not opposed to the new restaurant but they think the city has underestimated its likely popularity and that will result in not just more traffic to Genesee but also a backup on the entrance to the drive-thru, which is from an alley to the south.

In an e-mail loop about the continuing concerns, city rep Bryan Stevens said that if there’s a “long-term problem” once the restaurant’s been open, the city can take another look:

When our staff reviewed the proposal, it was for the purpose of using an existing restaurant building for a new restaurant with the addition of a drive-in function. Based on the size of the new restaurant space and that it was a small local business (not a high-volume chain), staff did not see the need to require any additional queuing space beyond what was shown. While there are prescriptive queuing requirements for high-volume drive-in businesses such as banks and gas stations, restaurant businesses require staff to use their discretion based on what is known about the business and its operations.

While it’s possible upon first opening that there may be a pent up demand leading to queuing challenges, staff determined that for normal average operations, that the spaces shown on the plans would accommodate the demand and traffic flow. If queuing volume presents a long term problem after the business is in operation, then SDOT will have the business develop and implement an approved revision to better manage the vehicle queues.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold, also in the e-mail conversation, says she has already looked into “what types of streets a drive through service can utilize. The response from DCI was that only Pedestrian Zones (which begins at SW Alaska) limit curb cuts along certain streets and prohibit businesses which are car-centric.” Neighbors are now asking for her and city and project reps to meet at the site for a firsthand look.

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West Seattle restaurant note: Marée Bistro opens tomorrow

Marée Bistro and Bar – the successor to Cassis on Alki – has set the date: Grand opening tomorrow (Thursday, February 4th), 5 pm. Marée will be run by Andy Dekle, who was Cassis’s head chef, and Megan Hartz, also on the previous restaurant’s founding team. It’s at 2820 SW Alki. We had first word of their plan shortly after reporting the Cassis closure back on December 19th. Marée has described its theme as “seasonal, market inspired French cuisine with a Northwest flavor.”

West Seattle restaurants: Circa in Admiral changes hands after 18 years

Story and photo by Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

After nearly eighteen years in the same hands, Admiral District restaurant Circa is in the process of being sold.

But the new ownership includes a familiar face.

Gretchen Williamson-Evans and husband Bill Evans are the first new owners of the neighborhood fixture at since Chris Wissmar opened it. Though the new ownership team assumed operational control of the restaurant.at the beginning of December, the wait for liquor-license approval delayed finalization of the sale until this week.

In addition to having worked at Circa as a server, Williamson-Evans is also the “Gretchen” behind Gretchen’s Grains, a local packaged-food company profiled here on WSB in 2012; Bill serves as Chief Executive Officer. With products now distributed in more than 250 stores across five states, Gretchen’s Grains has reached a point where the only way to grow the business further would be to invest in significant changes in the operational structure, something Williamson-Evans says she and her husband had decided against doing themselves, opting instead to make the business available for sale.

She and husband had started looking into “career jobs,” in preparation for their post-Gretchen’s Grains lives, when a casual comment made by her former employer presented a different opportunity:

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West Seattle food and drink notes: Marée almost ready; Gifts From The Earth preview with a side of ice cream; Pecos Pit progress; more

Four West Seattle food-and-drink notes tonight:

MAREE BISTRO AND BAR UPDATE: The successor to Cassis at 2820 Alki is getting closer to opening, reports a spokesperson. Signage is up:
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The new restaurant is just awaiting its liquor license, and hoping that will come as soon as this week. As we reported last month, the husband-and-wife team of Chef Andy Dekle and Megan Hartz, both of whom were with Cassis throughout its two-year run, are opening the new restaurant with “seasonal, market inspired French cuisine with a Northwest flavor.” Hours will be 5-10 pm Wednesdays through Mondays, happy hour 5-6 pm, plus weekend brunch 10 am-3 pm.

CHICKEN AND ICE CREAM CHEF TEAM: Harry’s Chicken Joint proprietor Bruce Cougan tells WSB his restaurant will close for one night this Saturday (January 23rd) to be part of the annual Gifts From The Earth benefit at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). He adds:

It’s an honor to be included as a guest chef and a privilege to give back to the school where I received such excellent training and support. This year I will be joined by local (West Seattle) chef, friend, and collaborator, Matt Bumpas of Sweet Bumpas Ice Cream. Matt spent time at Poppy working as a chef, and it’s primarily his menu, inspired by some of the dishes at Poppy, that will be served for this event:

*Fennel salad with blood orange, hazelnut, Moroccan olive & Ibores
*Fried mussels with preserved lemon aioli & pickled shallot
*Cauliflower almond soup w/ harissa yogurt
*Beef short rib tagine w/ celery root puree & apple slaw 
*Thyme labneh panna cotta w/ urfa biber toffee & satsuma

Matt is a graduate of Seattle Central’s culinary program. He is currently looking for a brick and mortar location here in West Seattle for his legendary ice cream. He has been very successful at local events and farmer’s markets and now it’s time for him to secure a storefront. His ice cream stand was a big hit last summer at the Morgan Junction Festival.

P.S. Tickets are still available for Gifts From The Earth, which usually sells out. Each table is assigned a chef from the all-star list of participants, and is served a custom five-course menu.

PECOS PIT PROGRESS: Banner signage now covers the old signs at what was Beni Hoshi Teriyaki and is being transformed into Pecos Pit BBQ, at 35th/Fauntleroy:
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The restaurant is advertising in the WSB West Seattle Jobs Offered forum for a general manager. Last projection of an opening date was “spring.” Meantime, community members concerned about traffic into and out of the restaurant location, especially the drive-thru that will exit onto narrow SW Genesee, got a reply from the city, saying this is too small a project to trigger a full review, and that the curb cut for that exit, on the north side of the property, has been there a long time.

WESTWOOD’S 4TH STARBUCKS: Last May, we reported that a Starbucks stand was in the works for Target at Westwood Village – where it follows a standalone Starbucks store, a stand inside QFC, and a café inside Barnes and Noble. Longtime WSB’er MIWS reports that construction is now under way in the snack-bar corner by the store’s entrance.

West Seattle restaurants: Break ahead for Be’s

The Junction is where it’s all been happening today. We also received this from a texter – it’s up at Be’s Restaurant (4509 California SW). So if you’re looking for your waffle and/or pho fix (two faves that we’ve heard mentioned), get there before Tuesday.

West Seattle restaurants: Guadalajara’s last weekend in Fauntleroy

By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant is vacating its longtime Fauntleroy-area location (9214 45th Avenue SW) after this Sunday.

Jose Prieto and Maria Rodriguez say they were unable to negotiate an extension of their lease with property management, after nearly 13 years near the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, and were forced to seek alternatives for continuing operations. The husband-and-wife restaurant owners looked at Morgan Junction as a possibility, but ultimately decided paying a third more rent was more than their business could handle.

“It’s sad, you know,” says Prieto. “I have all my regulars. I even have people who come all the way from Lynnwood and Des Moines. It’s a really great neighborhood. We hurt, you know?”

Prieto says he has no idea what the current property owners have planned for the space, but is already working hard to reopen in a new Federal Way location as El Mariachi (29100 Pacific Highway S.).

Before they leave West Seattle, however, Prieto plans to say goodbye to the neighborhood by running Happy Hour specials all weekend long, offering buy-one-get-one-for-half-off entrée deals, and opening earlier than their normal 12 noon Sunday start time to accommodate those who want to watch the Seahawks-Panthers playoff game.

“Hopefully, we’ll clear out all our food and be out of here after Sunday,” says Prieto. “We’ll open up and start fresh down there. Our goal is to be open March 1st.”

West Seattle food: Fresh Flours Bakery and Café expanding to come here

A new bakery and café is on the way to South Delridge – an expansion for Fresh Flours, which already has three locations, on Phinney Ridge and in Beacon Hill and Ballard. Fresh Flours proprietors Etsuko and Keiji happen to be West Seattle residents and are “so very excited” to be opening a location here in their neighborhood, at 9410 Delridge Way SW. Etsuko tells us via email that it’s more than another café:

We will bake all breakfast pastries such as croissants, danish, scones, muffin, macarons, and cookies, out of our Delridge kitchen to cater to other locations. Of course we will have an espresso bar – serving Stumptown coffee. The cafe will be small but there will be nice seating space. We are planning to do some landscape work to install outdoor seating after taking down an old house next to our bakery.

They expect to open the new Fresh Flours in the spring, possibly April, and Etsuko promises: “It is going to be fun!” If you’re not familiar with what they offer, take a look here.

Miss Charlestown Café? New home for some of its old favorites at White Center’s just-opened Taradise Café

Story and photos by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

“Welcome to Taradise.”

That’s the greeting you’ll see when entering our area’s newest restaurant/bar.

“Tara” is for proprietor Tara Scott, who’s celebrating the grand opening today for her Taradise Café in what used to be Marv’s Broiler at 9808 16th SW in downtown White Center.

Here’s the special attraction for West Seattleites:

If you miss the Charlestown Café – which closed 4 1/2 years ago at the site where the Rally townhouse development is going up – you’ll find some of its legacy at Taradise.

Tara herself, for one, is a Charlestown alum, and has several others on staff.

She tells WSB she’s really excited to have the permission to use some of the Charlestown’s recipes. Her permanent menu is still being finalized, so we don’t have the full lineup, but she mentioned the curried chicken salad, the pancakes, and the clam chowder, for openers.

We asked about the Montana Potatoes, by the way, and she said she has plans for them too – likely under the name Idaho Potatoes, since that’s where she’s from. The restaurant will serve breakfast all day as well as a full lunch menu and rotating dinner menu.

While Taradise Café has a bar – and two pool tables! as well as darts and TVs for sports-viewing – the restaurant is open to all ages. The hours for starters will be 6 am to midnight Sundays through Wednesdays, then 6 am to 2 am Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Family factored into Tara’s decision to open a restaurant now. She explained that she has wanted to do it for a while but needed to wait until she could devote more time and attention to it – one key factor, her youngest child is now at an age where some self-sufficiency is starting to emerge.

So if you’re looking for some place to celebrate New Year’s Eve, the grand-opening/NYE Party is on until 2 am at Taradise. This date holds significance for the location, the proprietor adds, because Marv’s Broiler opened on New Year’s Day in 1976.

West Seattle restaurants: Cassis’s successor to be Bistro Marée

Happened onto a bit of restaurant news while out and about today: The successor to suddenly shuttered Cassis at 2820 Alki SW will be called Bistro Marée, according to notices now up in the windows at 2820 Alki SW. It’s been six days since we reported on the closure of Cassis, after hearing from readers who got the news when trying to make reservations; proprietor Jef Fike announced last Saturday, December 19th, that the preceding evening had been the last one for Cassis – at this location, anyway. We confirmed it in person, finding him there that morning while contents were boxed up and moved out; he told us only that he would not be reopening anywhere in West Seattle. (His restaurant had a storied past on Capitol Hill, closing almost a decade before he opened on Alki.) But then, shortly after we published the first version of our report, Cassis chef Andy Dekle called to say he and other members of the “ownership group” planned to reopen the restaurant at the Alki location; as we subsequently reported, he thought at the time it would keep the name. But now, the new one is posted, listing Dekle and Megan Hartz “formerly of Cassis” as proprietors, and promising “Northwest-inspired French cuisine.” We’ll of course be following up.

From the West Seattle Holiday Guide: Christmas restaurant, grocery-store hours

December 21, 2015 9:24 am
|       Comments Off on From the West Seattle Holiday Guide: Christmas restaurant, grocery-store hours
 |   Holidays | West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news | West Seattle restaurants

Three days before Christmas, and just in case you’re wondering, the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide now includes links to our list of restaurants open on Christmas Eve and/or Day, as well as our list of grocery-store hours for those two days. The restaurant list is here; it’s the result of dozens of phone calls, and we know businesses sometimes change their plans at the last minute, so if you have a change or addition, please let us know – editor@westseattleblog.com. Meantime, the supermarket list is here. (If you still haven’t browsed the guide, note that it also includes Christmas Eve/Day church services, as well as New Year’s Eve/Day info, and we’ll continue with daily updates until 2016 is here.)

West Seattle restaurants: Cassis closes on Alki

ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:57 AM: After almost 2 years, the bistro Cassis has suddenly closed on Alki. Thanks to those who messaged us with tips about this, learning of the closure while trying this morning to reach the restaurant for dinner reservations. Here’s the message on the front page of the restaurant’s website:

Cassis Closes For Now.

Dear beloved patrons, due to unexpected events – we have closed our doors after service, Friday, December 18. We will see you soon in a new location.

We just talked briefly to proprietor Jef Fike, who confirmed his restaurant is closed and will not be reopening in West Seattle.

Cassis’s opening at 2820 Alki SW in February 2014 generated much excitement, as the revival of a popular bistro Fike had operated on Capitol Hill almost a decade earlier. He had just sent a newsletter to patrons a few weeks ago, saying he planned to take a holiday vacation this year for the first time in eight years, but said in the newsletter that he would be leaving the restaurant in the hands of his staff. Then this morning, readers alerted us to the closure news they had discovered while seeking reservations.

Before Cassis, the space had been “temporary” home to the Alki Arts gallery/event space (now located downtown) for three years; for two years in 2007-2009, All The Best Pet Care preceded the gallery.

1:21 PM UPDATE: New twist: We received a call from a man identifying himself as Andy Dekle, Cassis’s chef, saying he’s a member of the ownership group and that this is a “temporary” closure resulting from a “disagreement” and that he plans to reopen in this space and is hoping to do so by New Year’s Eve. We pointed out that when we stopped by Cassis to confirm the closure with Fike this morning, things were being boxed up and moved out. He said he’s aware of that. Stay tuned.

West Seattle restaurants: Work starting at Pecos Pit BBQ site

Almost two years after the abrupt closure of Beni Hoshi Teriyaki by the West Seattle Bridge entrance at 35th/Fauntleroy, the work to revamp the site into the home of Pecos Pit BBQ is getting under way. When last we updated the restaurant plan a month ago, they weren’t sure how soon work would start, but then this week, contractor banners went up on the fence and equipment including a big dumpster showed up at the site. We first reported the Pecos Pit plan back in February. The site is actually city property, owned by Seattle City Light as part of the former substation to the north, so Pecos, as was its teriyaki predecessors, will be a tenant. Current timeline for opening: Spring.

Mioposto in Admiral: Welcoming a new West Seattle Blog sponsor

Today we welcome a new WSB sponsor, Mioposto. Here’s what this new West Seattle restaurant would like you to know:

Mioposto – translated, “My Place” – is the new kid in the Admiral neighborhood. This wood-fired Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen on the corner of California & Walker offers up a warm, rustic, and inviting vibe with brick walls, massive wood beams, open kitchen, and eclectic Soho whimsy.

From its locally built wood-burning oven, Mio’s menu features soul-satisfying flavors from the Italian hearth. Handmade individual-size pizzas, Panini, and house-baked bread are born from their prized dough recipe created over two years. Seattle Times food critic Providence Cicero has awarded Mioposto three stars and describes their pizza as “These oven-blistered beauties have thin, foldable crusts, ballooning edges, and a bread-like chew.”

Mioposto is more than pizza, however. Their wood-burning oven is the heart of their open kitchen, which sports 14 comfortable ‘backed’ stools to watch the show.

From the fire come roasted Hood Canal Clams, Calamari Puttanesca, and roasted vegetables. A 12-ounce Rib Eye Steak with gorgonzola that is SO GOOD it should only be served on a Sunday (Mio offers it every day of the week). The Bresaola is sliced paper-thin and dressed with Corto extra-virgin olive oil, shaved Grana padano, and lemon. Their Melanzane is roasted and marinated eggplant, layered with fresh mozzarella, and drizzled with Mint Pesto.

Also, surprisingly from the Fire, Heat, and Smoke, comes their original Fire & Ice Cocktail with its smoked sweet vermouth ice and Woodinville Rye Whisky. And their house-made Limoncello (owner’s recipe) is the golden finish to your dining indulgence. Mioposto is family-friendly, drop-in-on-a-random-Tuesday dining. It’s a haven for those single diners who want to belly-up to the pizza bar, and for others wanting a “date night” dining experience, their lineup of handcrafted cocktails, wine, and beer assures it to be adult-friendly, too. Watch Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders while sipping on a Nitro Draft and enjoying their Ceci.

Owners Jeremy & Tiah Hardy state, “At Mio, we make food that’s meant to be shared. We envision a place where friends and family come together to indulge in great food & drink, rub elbows at the table, share stories and laugh loudly. If a wine glass gets knocked over, don’t worry about it!”

And about their new location, “We love West Seattle and have been waiting a long time to become part of this great neighborhood. We have great respect for the strong community culture here and are excited to contribute and make it our neighborhood.”

Mioposto ~ Wood Fired Pizzeria, Italian Kitchen & Bar – 2139 California Ave SW. Open 4 pm to 10 pm Sunday thru Thursday – open 4 pm to 11 pm Friday & Saturday – Happy Hours daily from 4 pm to 6 pm – miopostopizza.com.

We thank Mioposto for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

One serving of three quick West Seattle food notes

3 quick notes from the West Seattle food world:

RAMEN SIGNAGE UP: Thanks to everyone who sent word about the delicious-looking signage now in the windows along the 42nd/Alaska corner of Junction 47‘s east building, three months after we first reported that Kukai Ramen & Izakaya is headed this way. As our photo shows, the signage suggests the name here will actually be Kizuki. So how soon is “soon”? The company is only saying “spring.”

FOOD TRUCK AT C & P ON WEDNESDAY: You might have tried the Napkin Friends truck at various West Seattle stops in recent months – their specialty is sandwiches on latkes (potato pancakes). C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) says Napkin Friends will be in its back parking lot this Wednesday, 11 am-2 pm, if you’re interested in stopping by for lunch. (That’s on the alley off Findlay, east of C & P’s 5612 California SW Craftsman coffee shop.)

LA RUSTICA’S ROOF IS FIXED: After a week-plus closure required for roof repair, La Rustica (4100 Beach Drive SW) is open again, the Pellegrini family wants you to know.

WSB EXTRA: What lies beneath Endolyne Joe’s? Alpacas, surfboards, and maybe a ghost

Story and photos by Michelle Riggen-Ransom
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

If you live in West Seattle, you probably already know that you can enjoy a meal out in Chicago, or Brooklyn, or even exotic Rhode Island just by visiting local restaurant Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor). With its rotating, site-specific themes changing every four months, at Joe’s you can be sipping mojitos under a palm tree one season, slurping pasta and drinking vino at a cheerful Italian café the next.

But what you may not know is that beneath the restaurant is a cavernous basement filled from floor to ceiling with funky props, exotic creatures, and hand-painted signs from themes of yore. Looking for a giant wooden shark, or a glittery, oversized Mardi Gras mask? You’ll find it here, tucked away in the depths below the hundred year-old building where Endolyne Joe’s has made its home for well over a decade.

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West Seattle restaurants: New Leaf Bistro now open in Admiral

Story and photos by Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Great news for Admiral District pho fiends: New Leaf Bistro is open, three months after first word that it was headed this way.

Though the green awning above the entrance to the ex-Royal India Grill space at 2342 California SW touts “Asian Cuisine,” the menu predominantly features the cuisine of Vietnam, the homeland of owner Geoffrey Ly.

New Leaf Bistro’s opening menu has 13 items on its entree page, with items ranging from chow mein and fried rice to wok-seared pork belly and grilled salmon. Also on offer are vermicelli bowls, rice bowls, and a trio of salads, along with a sizable collection of appetizers most fans of Asian restaurants will find familiar.

But the centerpiece of New Leaf is the pho, which is available with the traditional beef broth or a vegan-friendly broth and customizable with a variety of proteins.

“Our pho is special. We use only natural ingredients,” says Ly. “Pho eaters can tell when you use the powders for flavor.”

Ly decided to use a “soft opening” – starting yesterday – to help the restaurant and its crew ease into operations while making adjustments to adapt to the business as it develops and grows. “We’re still kind of testing everything,” Ly explains.

Currently, New Leaf is open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.. Once the application for a liquor license is approved, however, closing time could be pushed later, particularly if the small lounge area toward the back of the restaurant finds an audience.

Carryout is of course available. Ly says he plans to also offer delivery on a limited basis (within 3 miles for a $30 minimum order), though details are not yet finalized.

New Leaf Bistro is Ly’s second West Seattle restaurant. In 1999, he opened Hunan Express in Morgan Junction (where Kokoras is now, at 6400 ½ California). It’ll be his fifth Seattle restaurant since 1984, after working his way from New York City with stops in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Texas, and California.

Despite all those travels, Ly is bringing the flavors of his homeland, where he worked with his grandparents in a streetside food-vending operation as a young boy, to the Admiral District. The hard work of running a restaurant is something he learned in both countries.

“When I was young, I was here with no English and no education,” says Ly. “The only thing I knew was to work hard to survive.”

While New Leaf Bistro isn’t online yet, we have photos of menu pages here (entrees), here (vermicelli/rice dishes), here (salads/pho), and here (appetizers).

West Seattle food/drink: Pecos Pit BBQ update; Westside Public House goes dark

Two updates from the world of West Seattle food and drink:

PECOS PIT BBQ UPDATE: Nine months after we first told you a Pecos Pit BBQ restaurant was planned for the former Beni Hoshi Teriyaki spot at 35th/Fauntleroy, we have another update. Spokesperson Nick Nordby says the restaurant is expected to open in spring. They’re still working on outdoor deck seating and a drive-through (exiting onto Genesee, according to a document in the city file) as well as indoor seating. Nordby says founders Ron Wise and Debra Wise have teamed with Salty’s (WSB sponsor) proprietor Gerry Kingen to expand, starting with this location, but serving “the same famous Pecos Pit BBQ found on 1st avenue for decades, along with some new habit-forming options. Offerings include our traditional pork, beef, and chicken sandwiches in a decidedly sloppy style, plus beef brisket, and hot links,” along with “stuffed smoked potatoes … and a ‘Walkabouts Bowl’ filled with the meat of your choice plus cheese, cold slaw and sauce” and salads. You can even buy bulk, smoked meats including Pecos pork, beef brisket, turkey legs, and smoked chicken.” They’re aiming for a full liquor license, he adds. No word yet how soon work will start.

WESTSIDE PUBLIC HOUSE GOES DARK: We haven’t been able to directly confirm that Westside Public House at California/Edmunds in The Junction is gone, but all signs point that way. The pub at California/Edmunds hasn’t been open since Sunday night – just days after its first-anniversary celebration – and a peek through the windows reveals most furnishings gone. Its website and phone line are both down. No message on the door, no message on the still-up Facebook page, but its Tuesday night trivia provider posted on their FB page that they got word it had closed after Sunday night. The pub’s year in the space followed three years by A Terrible Beauty; before that, Table 35 was there for 10 months and Ama Ama for 21 months. (WSB file photo)

West Seattle restaurants: Itto’s Tapas grand opening this Saturday

(WSB photo of Itto’s front door, this morning)

Six months after we brought you first word of Itto’s Tapas coming to 4160 California SW, its official grand opening has just been announced:

We are FINALLY having our Grand Opening! We are so excited to be in West Seattle where the neighborhood has shown its support with encouraging words, kind drop-ins, and overall excitement! Thank you all for the supportive energy. This has been a whirlwind of lessons learned and now all we think about is giving West Seattle our best. We can’t wait to feed you!

We are having our Grand Opening this Saturday, the 21st of November. Itto’s is named after our owner’s mother, and we thought it would be a blessing to honor her spirit by inviting you all in on the anniversary of her passing.

We will have our full menu and specialty drinks rolling! If you want to glimpse our menus, you can check out our Facebook page. To keep the energy up, we will have one of our favorite local belly dancers, Nadira at 10 pm!

Thank you again for all of your support! Looking forward to seeing our neighborhood in full force!

Itto’s is in the ex-Firefly space on the northeast corner of California SW and SW Genesee.

West Seattle restaurants: Ripple Café closes, cites rent increase

A local restaurant has closed suddenly, blaming a rent increase. Here’s the photo texted by a reader:

The Ripple Café was in the small multi-business building on 35th SW just south of SW Henderson, also home to West Seattle Fish House and Stuffed Cakes. It hadn’t even been open for six months. The King County Assessor‘s records show that the 86-year-old building changed hands this year for the first time in 19 years, sold to WD Group LLC in June for $600,000. While that LLC has a Seattle mailing address, one of its managers lists an address in San Francisco; we’re attempting to contact the owners for comment, and have also messaged the Ripple Café’s proprietor. The building recently underwent some external renovations; the site is zoned for up to four stories of potential mixed-use development, but a check of the online files shows no proposals on the record so far.

In case you’re wondering about the building’s other tenants, we went over a short time ago to verify the closure and while there, stopped in to check with Stuffed Cakes proprietor Donna Lawson. She confirms the change in landlords and a rent increase – which she expected, given the sale – but says her business is doing well and she’s staying. (She also mentioned that the San Francisco owner grew up in Seattle, so does have local ties.)

FOLLOWUP: Chipotle reopening Washington, Oregon restaurants

Just went through The Junction and the closed (“FYI”) sign is off the door at Chipotle Mexican Grill in The Junction, one day after the chain said it was reopening its 43 Washington and Oregon restaurants. The chain voluntarily closed them after a rash of E. coli illnesses; most, including the two-month-old Chipotle here, were closed for 11 full days, going back to Halloween. The 30 people who got sick in this state reported eating at five Chipotles, including two in Seattle, but the West Seattle store was not among them. So far, tests still haven’t traced where the bacteria came from. Here’s all the state info about the outbreak; here’s all the info from Chipotle.

FOLLOWUP: E. coli source still not identified in Chipotle-linked illness investigation

MONDAY, 6:14 PM: Though the West Seattle Chipotle restaurant is *not* one of the ten linked to patients in the Pacific Northwest E. coli outbreak, it and the chain’s 42 other restaurants in Washington and Oregon remain closed. But both the state Health Department and Chipotle ownership are indicating they’re moving toward reopening. Today was the 10th full day of closure for most of those restaurants, including the one in The Junction, and the state has continued to provide daily updates: As of this afternoon’s update, 27 cases have been confirmed in Washington, including 10 people who were hospitalized, none of whom ate at a Chipotle any more recently than October 24th. The update also says the first round of test results from Chipotle food samples has not turned up any E. coli, so they haven’t linked it to any particular food yet. The chain has its own page detailing what it’s been doing in the meantime, but says it doesn’t know when it will get health authorities’ permission to reopen. (WSB photo: Sign that’s been up on Chipotle’s door in The Junction since October 31st)

TUESDAY, 10:55 AM: Chipotle says it will reopen the restaurants, this one included, “in the coming days.” We’ll be checking daily on the West Seattle location, which opened two months ago today. (As of just after 11 am Tuesday, its regular opening time, it was still closed.)

West Seattle food: Beloved Mexico shuts down, cites competition

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One day after people started asking us about the disappearance of the Beloved Mexico food truck – a five-year fixture along Fauntleroy just south of Alaska, next to West Seattle Produce – we’ve found out what’s going on: It’s closed forever.

That’s what co-proprietor Christian Guerrero just told us when we reached him by phone at home in West Seattle: “We decided to shut down the doors, just yesterday. We’re really sad to shut down, but we just weren’t making enough.”

Unprompted, he cited competition, in particular, Chipotle Mexican Grill, which opened in The Junction less than two months ago (and is currently closed along with the company’s 42 other Washington and Oregon stores because of E. coli illnesses). “We don’t have the buying power of multi-million dollar companies.”

Another factor, Guerrero said: They would eventually lose their spot, since a CVS drugstore is slated to be built there, and a permanent spot for a food truck is hard to find in West Seattle.

He says they’re sad about closing and they appreciate the following they had, but financially, they had no choice. They had hoped it would someday lead to expansion into a permanent restaurant location, but that didn’t happen, and they’re not expecting to be able to open one. He and his co-proprietor brother have always had “day jobs” and that’s what they’ll be focusing on now. It’s been five years since Beloved Mexico opened – originally on the other side of Fauntleroy, as was WS Produce, on the site where The Whittaker is now being built; both moved across the street a year later.

Toward the end of our conversation, Guerrero told us he hopes West Seattleites will step up their support for the remaining small independent businesses – “to keep the flavor of West Seattle alive.”

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