West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The West Seattle Junction’s pieshoplessness will soon be over: A la Mode Pies is expanding this way.
Proprietor Chris Porter just signed the lease for a prime spot in Junction 47, facing SW Alaska just east of California.
A la Mode will be the first pie shop in The Junction since Shoofly closed almost two years ago.
It will be the second café/bakery for A la Mode Pies, joining the Phinney location.
We talked with Porter by phone to get the scoop on what the café will be like.
Thursday is the annual Dining Out for Life fundraiser, with more than 100 restaurants around Seattle donating part of their proceeds to Lifelong, supporting its Chicken Soup Brigade, which provides food to people living with HIV and other chronic illnesses. Here’s who’s participating in West Seattle/White Center, and during which daypart(s) on Thursday, according to the regional list:
Noble Barton (9635 16th SW), donating 30 percent all day/night
El Chupacabra at Alki (2620 Alki SW), donating 30 percent at lunchtime
Buddha Ruksa (3520 SW Genesee), donating 30 percent at dinnertime
Locöl Barley and Vine (7902 35th SW), donating 30 percent at dinnertime/late-night
If you’re going to be outside WS/WC on Thursday and still want to support Dining Out for Life, search other neighborhoods here.
If you’ve been thinking about Sunday dinner at Azuma Sushi in The Junction, you have two more chances, tonight and next Sunday. As of May 1st, Azuma will be closed on Sundays. And that means a regular day off for this mainstay:
That’s Harry Tu, co-proprietor and sushi chef for Azuma, who has worked seven days a week since the restaurant opened in 2000. We photographed him while lunching there on Saturday, after getting a tip from a patron about the notices posted throughout the restaurant and on the menus:
Harry’s standards are exacting, we’re told, and so even though Sundays have been a half-day at Azuma, open just for dinner, he’s still worked a full day, coming in early to prepare the fish and vegetables with which his creations are made. But starting two weeks from today, he and everyone at Azuma will get Sundays off. Their hours are staying the same otherwise.
12:55 PM: If you haven’t seen the note in the WSB Forums – Pegasus Pizza on Alki is closed “for a few days” for remodeling work, starting today. It’s been eight years since the restaurant moved to 2770 Alki SW – a few steps west of its former location, which subsequently was demolished and replaced by the building that’s now home to Top Pot Doughnuts and Subway. The spokesperson who sent word of the closure hasn’t yet answered our followup question about the remodeling plan, but documents on file with the city mention the creation of office space and moving the exterior signage. We’ll update when we get word of their reopening date.
3:35 PM: Just went over to find out more. In addition to adding office space on the west end of the restaurant and moving the signage to the east end, they’re removing the raised half of the floor so it’ll be all one level.
Three quick restaurant notes:
MIOPOSTO STARTS BRUNCH NEXT WEEKEND IN ADMIRAL: As you plan ahead for next weekend (and beyond), you’ll have a new brunch option in West Seattle. Starting next Saturday, Mioposto in Admiral (2139 California SW; WSB sponsor) opens weekend mornings at 10 am for brunch/breakfast. Until now, it’s been dinner only. The brunch menu isn’t posted yet but you might consider the brunch menu from their Bryant location to be a taste. (Between now and then, you’ll want to dine at Mioposto on Tuesday, April 5th, if you are a fan of public-radio station KPLU; in the effort to raise enough money to prevent its sale and big changes, Mioposto is donating 30 percent of its proceeds at all three locations on Tuesday.)
MORE BREAKFAST IN THE JUNCTION: Highstrike Grill at West Seattle Bowl (39th SW/SW Oregon) sends word it’s expanding its breakfast hours; as of April 14th, it’ll be serving breakfast 7:30 am-2 pm Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
FRIED CHICKEN ON THE WAY TO WHITE CENTER: From our partner site White Center Now – the WC space where the bricks-and-mortar Charlie’s Buns just closed after six months (98th just east of 16th SW) already has a new tenant: Bok a Bok, “Korean fried chicken and biscuits,” to be opened by Chef Brian O’Connor, a veteran of the Seattle restaurant scene, who also has another WC plan once that’s up and running. (Added Monday: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli reminded your editor here that Chef O’Connor has a past WS connection – he was on the team that opened The Swinery in 2009 and is at right in the top photo in our story about it.)
We finally have the answer to the most common question we’ve been asked in recent weeks: “What’s going into the former Westside Public House space?” in The Junction, which has been vacant since November. (That’s the space that was previously home to A Terrible Beauty, which followed Table 35, which followed Ama Ama, which followed Ovio Bistro, and that’s as far as WSB archives go.) Thanks to everybody who sent notes recently that they saw workers in the space – we’ve gone by almost daily and just never found the crew, and research didn’t turn up anything in public records to give a hint, either. Then finally today, the crew working in the space was still there when we headed over after a tip: They’re told us they’re planning to open Shelby’s Family Bistro and Ice Creamery, because they saw the need for something in The Junction that’s completely family-friendly. The proprietor kindly stopped to talk for a moment while carrying a TV, so we didn’t get tons of details, but his background in the industry, he mentioned, includes working with Schwartz Brothers Restaurants. As you can see in our photo, they’re making big changes to the interior; they’re hoping to be open within a few months.
More restaurant news today – this time, on the north end of The Junction.
Coming to that 1,647-square-foot space in the Blueprint building at 4147 California SW is Raccolto, which “will focus on house-made pasta, seafood, and vegetables,” according to its brand-new website. The proprietors have two restaurants in Madrona, led by Chef Brian Clevenger – Vendemmia and East Anchor Seafood. Raccolto is expected to open this summer. (Thanks to Jack for sending the Eater link that had first word of this.)
More changes in the Alki Beach food-and-drink world. Just received this morning from the owners of Slices on Alki:
Dear West Seattle Community,
After 7 remarkable years, we have decided to sell Slices and simplify our lives. It has been an honor and pleasure getting to know all of you and your families. We have enjoyed watching your kids grow up and we are now having a blast with our little Eleanor!
Thank you for all of your friendship, support and of course, your business. We wish you all the best and though we will miss seeing you for pizza we will be next door at Ampersand Cafe, so stop by and say hello!
In the meantime, please help us welcoming West Seattle Brewing Co. to the neighborhood! They plan on continuing to serve pizza as well as their beer, brewed right up on Fauntleroy. We know they are excited to be in the neighborhood, so cheers to another great summer and THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!
Slices last day open will be Thursday, March 31st.
(all Slices gift certificates will still be honored at West Seattle Brewing Co. or may be redeemed at Ampersand Cafe)
West Seattle Brewing Co.
On behalf of our ever-growing WSBC family; community, supporters &our team alike, we are indeed thrilled to have a presence and to soon be pouring pints on the beach! We’re not only grateful for the opportunity and privilege, but even further, couldn’t be happier to be sharing walls with such excellent West Seattleites in Daryl, Marisa, Eleanor, their crew and especially with such a complimentary business model that Ampersand is to our own. That all being said, 10 taps of West Seattle’s finest craft beer and hand-crafted pies coming mid-April! Looking forward to sharing all that is Summer on Alki with all of you!
From All of Us at WSBC,
“the Beer Must Flow!”
We just followed up by phone with Slices/Ampersand co-proprietor Marisa. We asked what hours Slices will be open for its final days/nights – she says dinner only tonight, 3-7 pm, then 11 am-7 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and for Thursday’s finale. We’re also checking on the exact name WS Brewing will use for the new location, and will update with that.
Six weeks after we reported that Chopstix appeared to be closed for good, a report about the 5905 California SW space’s future has just appeared. Thanks to Desiree for spotting the story by Allecia Vermillion in Nosh Pit and sending the link: She reports that Ma’Ono co-proprietor Mark Fuller is one of the principals of what will be a “dive bar” with Chinese food under the name New Luck Toy – which, you’ll recall, was a Junction staple for decades until its closure 10 years ago. The report says it could be open as soon as June.
By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The notice for a liquor-license application in the front window of the Admiral District’s Mawadda Café has caught the attention recently of visitors seeking a taste of the Mediterranean eatery’s notoriously delicious falafel.
Cafe owner Rami Al-Jabori confirms to WSB that he has interest from a new ownership entity behind listed applicant “Irashai” (the Japanese word for “welcome”), but says he’s still talking to multiple potential buyers of his current space at 2352 California Avenue SW and has yet to commit to a sale.
“We’re still negotiating,” Al-Jebori told WSB. “The deal is not closed.”
Even so, Al-Jebori says he is seeking to shutter his West Seattle location after failing to find a consistent audience over the last four-plus years.
“We thought it was a big opportunity four years ago, but we’ve not been able to break even,” says Al-Jebori, who acknowledges he is actively looking to sell in order to close the West Seattle location while continuing to operate successful eateries in the Rainier Valley and Burien under the “Mawadda” name, which means “beloved” in Urdu.
For now, Al-Jebori says the Admiral location will continue to operate at its normal hours.
Bellevue business advisers SHK Group, who own the phone number listed on Irashai’s liquor license application, were unable to comment on their client’s plans. Efforts to contact the client have been fruitless so far.
West Seattle once had two Irish pubs; now, it has none. The Celtic Swell on Alki has changed its name to Alki Beach Pub. Its ownership changed sometime back, but the name stayed through St. Patrick’s Day. The old name has been removed on the awning and the new one is on a blackboard by the door (as shown in our photo), noting also that it has a new menu and is “family-friendly until 8 pm, last minors served at 7:15.”
10:56 AM: Eight months ago, when Eats Market Café announced it was closing, we reported the plan for Wingstop to take over its space in the heart of Westwood Village. That space has remained vacant and idle since then, but work has finally begun to remodel it for Wingstop – we had been going by periodically to check, and spotted the crew at work this morning. As our photo shows, the space is now completely gutted. A crew member told us that the delay was mostly attributable to a long wait for city permits; they’re hoping to have the restaurant open sometime in May.
While Wingstop is a national chain, this restaurant is being opened by local franchisees from a group headed by include former Seahawks player Sidney Rice, whose fifth one opened in Pierce County a little over a month ago.
2:55 PM: A comment related to this story has led us to one update since the original report – one of Sidney Rice’s former Seahawks teammates is now a Wingstop franchisee and has become the owner of this future store, as confirmed to WSB by a corporate spokesperson – Richard Sherman.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Pecos Pit Barbecue restaurant at 35th and Fauntleroy is expected to be open by mid-May.
That’s what representatives said at a meeting last night meant to address community safety concerns about the site, primarily stemming from its addition of a drive-through window.
“A lot of good solutions and ideas here tonight,” observed René Commons of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, organizer of the meeting, as it wrapped up. She stressed that the neighborhood is excited about the restaurant – whose plan for the two-years-closed teriyaki shack at 4400 35th SW was first reported here one year ago – but wants to be sure safety and traffic-flow concerns are addressed.
This was the second “community outreach meeting” involving neighbors and restaurant reps. Pecos Pit was represented by business-development vice president Nick Nordby, Jeremy McLachlan (a West Seattle resident) from operations, and Paul Krakow from real estate. Along with about half a dozen JuNO members and neighbors, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold sent rep Alex Clardy.
What was discussed answered some questions that have come up here on WSB in previous discussions:
EDITOR’S NOTE: The in-the-works West Seattle restaurant we’re getting the most questions about right now is Kizuki Ramen, previously Kukai when we first reported its Junction plan last August. So if you’re wondering when it will open (etc.), here’s what we have found out:
By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Ramen fans of West Seattle can look forward to late April, the current target for the opening of Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in The Junction.
The West Seattle outlet of Kizuki will be the fourth Seattle-area location for the Japan-based ramen chain that’s currently undergoing a name change from Kukai. When the company opened its Bellevue location late in 2012, that was its first outside Japan. Now, after successful openings in Northgate, Capitol Hill, and Beaverton, Oregon, Kizuki’s management is excited to come to the peninsula.
“Kizuki recognized the opportunity to be a part of an ever-growing destination and diverse neighborhood in West Seattle,” says Kizuki District Manager and 17-year West Seattle resident Patrick Haight. “We are excited about offering a unique and different dining experience in The Junction.”
Haight says the company already employs several West Seattle residents at other locations, including a general manager, which should help bring some local feel to a restaurant dealing in one of the world’s great comfort foods. Here, by the way, are two Kizuki interior photos shared with us to give you an idea of what you’ll find inside the 42nd/Alaska location:
ORIGINAL STORY: Two weeks ago, chef Miranda Krone announced she was returning to West Seattle for a fourth incarnation of Meander’s Kitchen, this time at 6400 California SW, where the proprietors of Kokoras Greek Grill had decided to retire (their restaurant had long been listed for sale). Early today, she announced via Facebook that the official Meander’s opening will be Thursday (February 25th). Read full details here, including cuisine and hours.
(Side note: Multiple readers pointed out that the building/lot at 6400 California SW, also home to The Wash Dog, has just been put up for sale for $1.1 million. The flyer notes both tenants have recently signed 5-year leases, with a provision for 6 months’ notice if a redevelopment plan emerges. The site is zoned for 3-story mixed-use. Online files do *not* show any proposals.)
UPDATED FEBRUARY 25: Via Facebook, Meander’s says it’s now planning to open Friday morning at 8.
Of all the on-the-way West Seattle restaurants, none has generated anywhere near as many “update, please!” requests as has Dumplings of Fury, coming to the ex-Quadrato space at 4302 SW Oregon in The Junction.
So we asked WSB contributing reporter Randall Hauk, who wrote this story about it three months ago, to check back. Randall reports:
Though the ownership team behind Dumplings of Fury has yet to set an opening date for the new quick-serve Asian-style dumpling shop, Ben Jenkins says the time for getting dumplings in The Junction is “getting close.”
Jenkins cites “normal scheduling stuff” in explaining the delay in the restaurant’s opening. As reported in November, the Fury team had optimistically targeted January 1.
“We had a couple of setbacks,” says Jenkins, “but we should be cooking in there and testing the menu this month.”
For now, the paper remains on the windows and the liquor-license notice posted on the front door, but we’re assured that “Furious” dumplings are coming soon!
Four West Seattle food notes this afternoon:
OPEN HOUSE AT DREAM DINNERS: Longtime WSB sponsor Dream Dinners in The Junction is having an open house for new customers tomorrow (Tuesday, February 9th), with a deal: Sign up to make three dinners (which you take home for later cooking) for $24.99. You just have to sign up online for one of three spots – 4:30 pm, go here; 5:45 pm, go here; 7 pm, go here. For any of those sessions, the password is: dinner. Dream Dinners West Seattle is at 4701 41st SW, #110 (outer street-facing Jefferson Square). More info? Call 206-938-5999 or e-mail email@example.com.
CRAWFISH FOR FAT TUESDAY: Tomorrow also happens to be Fat Tuesday, and that’s a chance for the new proprietors of Circa (2605 California SW; featured here last week) to show off their New Orleans chops. While their regular lunch menu goes only until 2:30 pm, from noon-5 pm they’ll be boiling crawfish out back, and co-proprietor Gretchen says, “We will also have red beans and rice, gumbo ya-ya and special New Orleans desserts for the remainder of the evening. We have Abita beer in the bottle too!”
CHACO CANYON’S BRUNCH CHANGES: And Chaco Canyon Organic Café in The Triangle (3770 SW Alaska) sends word it’s recently overhauled its weekend-brunch menu: “Some of our featured items are gluten-free sweet potato biscuits and mushroom/white bean gravy, an eggless frittata accompanied by a spicy house-made harissa sauce, and a cultured coconut cream yogurt parfait (served with a fruit compote and buckwheat granola!).” That’s 9 am-3 pm Saturdays and Sundays.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8 PM: Earlier today, we noticed a liquor-license application for Meander’s at 6400 1/2 California SW in Morgan Junction – home to Kokoras Greek Grill, which has been listed for sale for quite some time. You’ll recall Meander’s closed in White Center last year; since then, proprietor Miranda Krone had mentioned she was working on a new venture, and at one point said it wouldn’t be far from her original location. We asked her earlier today for comment; she said she was awaiting word that Kokoras’s owners had talked to their staff. And now she’s just announced:
At last, I can let the cat out of the bag!
Morgan Junction, we’re coming home to you…
I’m working with Kim Depew, a longtime West Seattle resident and school teacher, to open Meander’s back on California Ave in what has been Kokoras Greek Grill.
We love Kokoras, but Spiros has decided that it’s time for him to return to Greece. I’m really looking forward to working with him next week, learning his recipes, and a few bonus family recipes, besides.
We’ll definitely be bringing back the breakfast you know and love, but I’m personally really excited about the evening menu. After five years of breakfast, I’m pretty eager to play on the dinner line and in the pastry kitchen. Look for old family favorites, some things I’ve picked up in my travels, and some collaborations with dear friends and talented chefs.
Oh, and? You know how you’ve been hassling us for mimosas and bloody marys for the past five years? All that, and more.
And yes, we’ll bring the waffles back, too.
This will be the fourth location for Meander’s, which originally opened five years ago in the former Jade West Café at 6032 California SW (now home to Harry’s Chicken Joint). A little over a year and a half later, the café moved to a big White Center space (now home to Noble Barton), then downsized to a spot about a block south in late summer 2013. That’s where the café remained until some tumult last year, followed by closure in November.
8:41 PM: Speaking of closure, Trickycoolj asked in comments when Kokoras will be closing. We asked Krone just now. She says it’s dependent on the aforementioned liquor-license change; they’ll know more on Monday. Also: “We plan to retain the current staff, and will continue running as Kokoras until about a week before the changeover.”
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.
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.”
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.