West Seattle, Washington
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.”
Big crowd at West Seattle Fish House (35th SW/SW Henderson) just before lunchtime today – but they weren’t there for the fish, chips, and chowder. It was a big media event to show off the new restaurant-rating system and signage that Seattle-King County Public Health is rolling out, starting now. Above are King County Council Chair Joe McDermott and County Executive Dow Constantine – both West Seattleites – with WSFH proprietors Senait Beyene, Muzit Evans, and Stan Evans. Here’s a closer look at the new emoji-inspired signage:
As explained in the official announcement of the new system, the first in the nation that takes an average of inspections:
The four food safety ratings are:
Needs to Improve: The restaurant was either closed by Public Health – Seattle & King County within the last year or the restaurant needed multiple return inspections to fix food safety practices.
Okay: The restaurant has had MANY red critical violations over the last four inspections.
Good: The restaurant has had SOME red critical violations over the last four inspections.
Excellent: The restaurant has had No or Few red critical violations over the last four inspections.
The window signage will eventually be displayed in all restaurants in King County. Here’s more about what they mean:
Executive Constantine pointed out that he spent a lot of time working in the food and beverage business – starting out by making fish and chips “down at Alki Beach.” Also at today’s event, inspector Ann Jackson demonstrated some of what she and other inspectors do:
Though West Seattle was chosen for today’s announcement, you won’t see the rating signs in restaurants here until April, the second phase of this year’s four-phase countywide rollout – that’s when they’ll be posted in zip codes including 98106, 98116, 98126, 98136, and 98146. Meantime – you can look up restaurants’ inspection results here.
FIRST REPORT, 2:46 PM: It was only the middle of last summer – mid-July – when Shelby Varden and his parents cut the ribbon to officially open Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery at 4752 California SW in The Junction. Less than six months later, a sign on the door today announces that Shelby’s is closed. After a reader tip (thanks to Jason), we just went over but couldn’t find anyone there to speak with; nothing about the closure is on any of Shelby’s online channels yet. We’ve also left voice and e-mail messages, and will add anything more that we find out.
The corner spot has undergone a lot of turnover in the past decade. We had first reported on the plan for Shelby’s last April. That was five months after Westside Public House abruptly closed following a year in operation, preceded by three years of A Terrible Beauty, and before that, less than a year for Table 35 and less than two years for Ama Ama. Before that, Ovio Bistro had been in the space for almost five years.
ADDED 3:18 PM: We just received this news release:
Today, Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery regretfully announced they will be closing effective immediately. Shelby’s Bistro and Ice Creamery, commonly referred to as “Shelby’s”, was opened by Shelby Varden on July 19, 2016 in the West Seattle Junction at 4752 California Ave SW. Shelby’s was a full-service sit down restaurant serving appetizers, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, entrees, and ice cream. Shelby’s patrons dined at the restaurant for the delicious food, cleanliness, friendly staff, and happy “feel good” environment. Many guests said it was a place that made them smile despite whatever else was going on in their lives.
In a statement provided by Shelby, he stated, “While we had some of the normal mishaps any new restaurant experiences, I am exceptionally proud of our achievements and the experiences we were able to provide our guests. We were recently recognized by the 2016 King5 Evening Best of Western Washington as the #1 Best New Restaurant in Seattle (#3 in Western Washington) and #5 Best Kids’ Menu in Western Washington. In addition, we received an average of a four star rating or above on all social media review platforms and had a loyal following of regular guests. I am especially proud of my incredible staff and thank them for all of their hard work, support and dedication.”
Shelby concluded by adding, “I would like to thank West Seattle and all of our guests for their patronage and fond memories. My staff and I will miss you! The restaurant’s controllable costs were all good although other expenses out of my control and lower sales for such a large space resulted in this regrettable closure. Despite that, I want to focus on the successes, our community contributions and holiday celebrations, school Dine Outs, thanking our wonderful regulars, and celebrate the many wonderful memories we created for those who visited or worked at Shelby’s.”
As we do for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we contact local restaurants to see whether they’ll be open New Year’s Eve and/or Day. Here’s what we have so far. If a restaurant isn’t listed, either it’s not open either of those days, or it hasn’t responded to our inquiry – we can still add/change, though, if the info is sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. This list also is linked in our Holiday Guide – where you’ll find other West Seattle New Year’s Eve/Day events – and on our year-round Event Calendar.
Here’s the official notice of a community meeting to talk about the proposal for Pecos Pit (WSB sponsor) to use the ex-substation lot next door as a parking lot. When community groups met with Councilmember Lisa Herbold and city-department reps in October – as reported here – to talk about issues with the site, primarily an upcoming cleanup, a question arose about what kind of land-use permit had been sought and obtained to use it for parking. A temporary permit is now in place and a longer-term one is being sought; that’s what the January 12th meeting is about. It’s at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction (4217 SW Oregon)
By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Readers have noticed new signage at Kokoras Greek Grill in Morgan Junction – the addition of “sushi bar” and “teriyaki” on the awning.
This is the result of another ownership change for the restaurant at 6400 1/2 California SW.
It’s been less than a year since the original Kokoras owners retired to move to Greece, selling the restaurant to Miranda Krone and Kim Depew, who briefly ran it as a revival of Krone’s popular Meander’s Kitchen. Then their partnership dissolved and Depew ran the restaurant for a while, bringing back the Greek food.
Now, we’ve learned, Phillip Kim is the restaurant’s new owner. We talked with manager Carlos Tovar, who says Kim has three other restaurants – Teri Fresh in Maple Valley, and two in Kent and in the University District.
The “new” Kokoras still specializes in Greek cuisine, but a sushi bar has been installed (WSB photo at right). Once a sushi chef has been hired, Kokoras will serve sushi, teriyaki, and wok-cooked dishes in addition to Greek food. It sounds like an unusual combination, but Tovar says it’s worked in Kim’s other locations.
Appetizers include tzatziki, hummus, baba ghanoush, and taramo salata, which is a Greek caviar. The food is prepared using all of the same recipes that have been handed down, Tovar said, including dolmadakia, lamb dolmas, keftedes (Greek meatballs), spanakopita, Greek fries, gyros, souvlaki, Greek salad and Greek omelets. Scrambles and omelets are served all day. The kids’ menu includes a kid-size gyro, cheeseburger and chicken souvlaki. Everything is made from scratch, including baklava and Greek yogurt for desert.
Kokoras has also added three brand-new big-screen TV’s, and draft beer is on the way to add to the full bar and wine. Kokoras has seven employees. Hours of operation are Monday 4 -9 pm and noon to 10 pm Tuesday through Sunday.
Three restaurant notes from Alki:
CACTUS REMODELING STARTS TOMORROW: General manager Darin Kawabata sends word that Cactus at 2820 Alki SW will close for about a week starting tomorrow. The closure is tentatively scheduled to end December 13, but “it is mostly cosmetic, so we could reopen sooner than that, if things proceed quickly.” Cactus’s website and a sign on the door describe the work as a “10-year refresh and deep cleaning.” The restaurant opened in September 2006.
SUNFISH CLOSURE: Sunfish at 2800 Alki SW has just begun its annual holiday-season closure – a sign in the window says they’ll be closed through January 15th.
EX-SUBWAY FOR LEASE: One month after the Subway sandwich shop’s sudden closure at 2658 Alki SW, a “for lease” banner is up outside the space. While it names this agent, we haven’t yet found a corresponding listing online.
Thanks to everyone who has asked about/pointed out the closure of Alki Huddle (formerly Bamboo). We’ve been trying for about a week to find out what’s happening there, and today, we finally succeeded.
It’s been bought by the ownership of the Hawks Nest Bar and Grill in SODO, and they’re remodeling it to become the Hawks Nest West – “a place to watch the game,” and more. It will be all-ages until 9 pm.
Their goal is to get it open in time for at least the “second round” of playoffs for the Seahawks. And you’ll find some new touches, like a fire pit in the outdoor seating area, and a new menu.
The new owners took it over at the start of the month but it took a few weeks before they were ready to temporarily close it for the remodel. The changeover isn’t a complete surprise – The Huddle had been listed for sale for a while, and the former owner had told WSB that when his new restaurant (Sopranos Antico in Admiral) opens, that would be his only restaurant.
The sign says remodeling – but there’s a lot more to what’s going on inside the Tap Station, which opened in the 35th/Kenyon mini-business district three years ago as a beverage store. When it reopens this Friday, it’ll include “a full, all-ages, family-friendly restaurant” – something in short supply south of Morgan Junction.
Tap Station general manager Jeremy Martin tells WSB, “We’ll have a sandwich-based menu with about a dozen selections, a sandwich for every taste, we hope. We’ll have room for 36 with several tables and two standing rails up front and bench seating in the back room.” That’s what you see, work in progress, in the photo above; we also snapped a preview photo of the menu.
They’ll continue with the “same amount of retail,” just adding the food-and-drink service, and weekly events such as “wine night” on Mondays, “member night” for their beer-club members on Tuesdays, movie nights on Wednesdays, and more. (Here’s their December calendar.) Hours will be 3-10 pm Mondays-Thursdays, 3 pm-11 pm Fridays, noon-11 pm Saturdays, noon-8 pm Sundays.
The West Seattle Food Bank planned to distribute at least 300 holiday-meal birds, and here’s where a big helping came from – at right is Dan Austin, proprietor of Peel & Press (WSB sponsor) in Morgan Junction, where 20 percent of the proceeds one week ago resulted in 480 pounds of turkey and chicken for the WSFB (whose Judi Yazzolino is in the photo too). You too can indulge in holiday giving, all season long – we have ongoing donation drives in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.
P.S. Dan adds, “P&P will be closed for Thursday and also Friday so my team can all go head home for some family time. We will be back up and running Saturday for brunch!” (A few local restaurants will be open for at least a part-day tomorrow … our list is here.)
Thanks to the texter who alerted us this morning that Little Prague Bakery and Delicatessen has re-opened its storefront at 6045 California in Morgan Junction. It’s a “soft open” for now; they’re offering not only the bakery treats you’ve long seen at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market, but also lunch and dinner items. Today, it’s Hungarian goulash and wienerschnitzel for lunch.
Little Prague tells us the regular hours will be 7 am-7 pm Mondays-Thursdays, 7 am-10 pm Fridays and Saturdays, 10 am-5 pm Sundays. If you want to check whether they’re open before checking them out sometime soon, the number is 206-734-5976.
We’re welcoming a new WSB sponsor, Itto’s Tapas, which is celebrating its first anniversary today (November 21, 2016), and loving all the support and kindness radiating from their West Seattle neighbors! Here’s what they want you to know about what they do:
Itto’s set out to combine the heart and soul of Moroccan culture with the vibrant community of West Seattle in an attempt to create a unique, intimate experience. Named after the owner’s mother, with the intention of honoring her spirit, their focus has been on warm sincere service backed by quality food and drink. With a strong belief that cooking and hosting should involve love and generosity, the Itto’s family aims to create authentic connections with their community. Almost all of their staff not only lives in beautiful West Seattle but works to contribute something else to the spirit of its surroundings through music, visual art, culinary madness, videography, healing arts, and youth counseling. What they’ve come to notice is that West Seattle has brought the same warmth in return. Their guests have allowed them to celebrate symphony night, birthdays, new jobs, anniversaries, babies’ first outings, and everyday shenanigans. Itto’s could not be more excited to participate!
Like many new businesses, Itto’s didn’t want to bite off more than they could chew and started with everyday hours of 4-midnight. Recently, however, they began opening for BRUNCH on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Instead of sticking to the Tapas theme, they’ve decided to bring entree-size plates full of the foods they grew up eating. A large portion of their staff was raised all around the world. To honor that, Itto’s focuses on what they like to call Brunch From Around the World. Morocco, Holland, Turkey, England and Mexico are some of the chosen cultures they are currently highlighting as well as a fun-filled Flagon full of Mimosa Sangria to help wash it down.
They are so thrilled to call West Seattle home and are looking forward to many more years with all of their new friends. As they told The Stranger, “We may be small, but we are large with heart.” That’s one of the citywide publications from which Itto’s has had some kind words:
“Few things in life are as pleasurable as walking through a door into a space that takes control of your senses and changes the channel in your head.”- Susan Kelleher, The Seattle Times
“…the convivial atmosphere—particularly in the 21-and-over bar area, which always seems to be filled with neighborhood regulars—makes it clear that, even in their earnestness, Agour and his staff don’t take themselves too seriously…Itto’s is marked most by a generosity of spirit, one that Agour’s mother would surely be proud of.” – Angela Garbes, The Stranger
We thank Itto’s Tapas 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.
Another new restaurant is on the way to The Admiral District. The space at 2311 California SW where Angelina’s closed in May is going to become Arthur’s. We reached Rebecca Rice, who is opening Arthur’s in partnership with Sara Levin, and here’s what she told us:
We at Arthur’s are really excited to get things underway here in West Seattle — my business partner and I have spent many years as West Seattle residents and we’re looking forward to realizing a dream that serves our beloved neighborhood.
We are currently working with a village of friends and family to bring a comfortable, inviting, and beautiful place to enjoy food, drink, and relaxation from morning until evening. With breakfast served all day seven days a week, a menu that reflects the rise in interest in clean eating alongside early morning, afternoon, and nighttime café staples, and an approachable and beautiful bar (and dining!) space, Arthur’s is looking forward to contributing to an already vibrant and cozy part of West Seattle.
Arthur’s is “aiming for a mid-January open.”
That photo was tweeted by Lauren, one of multiple readers who reported today that the Subway shop at 2758 Alki Avenue SW is closed – “permanently,” according to the note on the door. We first reported in May 2013 that Subway would be the first tenant in a building that until then had been vacant for almost three years since its construction; the sandwich shop opened in August 2013. We weren’t able to reach the company to find out if another franchisee is being sought. One of West Seattle’s four remaining Subways, the one at Jefferson Square, is listed as looking for another operator.
The photo and report were sent by Brenda:
She explains, “We stumbled upon an awesome refuge tonight at Endolyne Joe’s, celebrating their Canada menu. It was nice to get away for a couple hours and enjoy some poutine!” The Toronto menu itself is not an election reaction – it was launched almost a month ago; Endolyne Joe’s (a WSB sponsor) has special regional menus that change every few months.
As reported here earlier this week, the new Italian restaurant on the north edge of The Junction, Raccolto, had a soft-open night last night, and then officially opened tonight. We stopped in for photos. Above is the view from the mezzanine (seating 14 for a private party or 12 at tables), which proprietor Chef Brian Clevenger told us about during our conversation back in September.
Raccolto is open 5-10 pm nightly at 4147 California SW; here’s the menu. This is the third restaurant opening in a year and a half for Clevenger, who lives in West Seattle, after Vendemmia (May 2015) and East Anchor Seafood (March 2016) next door to each other in Madrona.
First, four food/drink biznotes:
RACCOLTO SOFT-OPENS THURSDAY: The new Italian restaurant on the north edge of The Junction (4147 California SW) has announced it will soft-open at 5 pm Thursday. We last spoke with proprietor Chef Brian Clevenger, a West Seattleite, in August – here’s what his restaurant will be all about.
SOPRANOS ANTICO: Thanks to Dave for sending this photo taken through the window of the forthcoming Italian restaurant in Admiral:
WELCOME ROAD WINERY: Thanks to the tipsters who have pointed out that this winery is opening a tasting room at Rally (California/Charlestown). We note they have announced their grand opening, 1-7 pm Saturday, November 19th.
HARRY’S CHICKEN CHANGE: Harry’s Chicken Joint proprietor Bruce Cougan tells WSB they are now closed Tuesdays too, so the hours at Harry’s (6032 California SW) are 4-8 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays.
And one big achievement for eight “rival” businesses, working together:
EIGHT BUSINESSES, TWO-PLUS TONS OF FOOD: Once again this year, physical-therapy businesses around West Seattle teamed up in October for a friendly food-drive competition. Today, we got the results from Judi Yazzolino of the West Seattle Food Bank:
Drum roll, please!! Again this year, congratulations go out to Louise, Molly, and the entire staff & clients at Life in Balance PT & Pilates for winning the challenge again this year with a total of 1943 lbs. It was neck n’ neck between them and Biojunction Sports Therapy until the last pickup yesterday. You guys played serious! Thank you to all of the offices and their clients who participated this year for a total of approx. 4220 lbs. of food (SW Hand Therapy isn’t in yet) and $150. That is over 3 1/2 times last year! You guys ROCK, and we and our clients are incredibly appreciative. Thank you so much. Here are the individual totals:
Life in Balance – 1943 lbs.
Biojunction – 1366 lbs.
Sound PT – 358 lbs.
Highline PT – 186 lbs. + $100
West Seattle Pediatric Therapy – 159 lbs.
Therapeutic Assoc. WS – 118 lbs.
Kinetics PT – 90 lbs.
SW Hand Therapy – TBA
P.S. If your business has a food drive or other donation drive this holiday season, please let us know!
This fall’s most-awaited West Seattle food/drink opening has arrived: The new New Luck Toy (5905 California SW) is open as of about an hour ago. October was the target for co-proprietor Chef Mark Fuller (also known for Ma’Ono in TheJunction) when we checked in a month and a half ago, and he and NLT partner Patric Gabre-Kidan have made it with a week to spare. As Fuller described it to us in September, it’s not a restaurant with a bar – it’s “a bar that will offer a small menu (16-20 items) of classic Chinese-American dishes. 50 seats, and a private karaoke room that will accommodate up to 8 people, cozily.” 4 pm-2 am nightly. The previous venue in the space, Chopstix, closed back in February; the plan for New Luck Toy (named after a longtime Junction restaurant/bar) emerged in March.
Joining us today as a brand-new WSB sponsor is Peel & Press in Morgan Junction, with an anniversary celebration all week. Here’s what they would like you to know:
Peel & Press is excited to celebrate our two-year anniversary on October 29th. We have had a great first two years, with our pizza, pasta, and cocktails well received, including a great review in the Seattle Times. As a thank you to all our customers who have supported us on this adventure, we would like to extend a free appetizer or dessert for your table when you join us this week (through Sunday, October 30th).
The support of West Seattle residents has allowed us to continue to update and expand the restaurant. We are thrilled to be adding an additional covered outdoor seating area for private parties and overflow seating on our busy nights, and yes, there will be heat lamps. We also have a plan to expand our bar seating (without removing any of our current family dining) that should take place over the next year.
Your patronage at Peel & Press has allowed us to support many local charities, schools, and community groups. We whole-heartedly believe in giving back to the community that has given so much to us. Please stay tuned as we pair with local leaders to restore the mural on the back of our Morgan Junction building. We will be hosting a benefit night in the near future and have been working hard on gathering donations and grants to help restore this 1989 piece from the Murals of West Seattle project.
Thank you again for the last two years. We are proud to call West Seattle home and look forward to many anniversaries to come.
Peel & Press is at 6503 California SW, 206-937-1457, open for lunch and brunch as well as dinner and drinks.
We thank Peel & Press 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.
Seven quick biznotes from the local food/drink scene:
PEEL & PRESS TURNS 2: Today through Sunday, Peel & Press in Morgan Junction (6503 California SW) is celebrating its second anniversary, offering diners a free appetizer or dessert.
STUFFED CAKES TURNING 6: And at 9003 35th SW, Stuffed Cakes is about to turn 6 – mark your calendar for Saturday, November 5th, 10 am-3 pm, when the party will include free mini-cupcakes, face-painting, and prizes.
PELLEGRINI ITALIAN MARKET: Starting tomorrow, Pellegrini Italian Market in The Junction (4521 California SW) has new hours – 11:30 am-8 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 am-4 pm Sundays, closed Mondays. They’ll also have a Happy Hour – 3-5 pm, including $4 glasses of wine with menu entrées.
OUNCES DELAY: If you checked in over the weekend, you might have seen the update that Ounces (3809 Delridge Way SW) has delayed its soft open. New date soon.
Two notes from our partner site White Center Now:
COMPANY STORE: 21+ bar/restaurant now open in what was Company (9608 16th SW) – WCN story here.
MOONSHOT COFFEE: Soft-opened last weekend in what was Caffé Delia (9622 16th SW) – WCN story here.
Thanks to Kennedy for the photo sent this weekend. These birds are on the doors of the new New Luck Toy, the “dive bar”/Chinese restaurant expected to open soon at 5905 California SW, previous home to Chopstix, Pan Africa Grill, Ho-Win, and going back even further, other restaurants including Bite of China and China King. We are checking to see if a date is set yet; proprietors including Ma’ono‘s Chef Mark Fuller were hoping to open this month, when we last checked in.
P.S. Along with the birds on the door, there’s a dragon out back.
Sisters Alynn and Kahlena were waiting for A la Mode Pies to open the doors of its West Seattle expansion location first thing this morning. Just one bit of business before the serving could begin – the ceremonial ribbon-cutting!
From left, that’s West Seattle Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynn Dennis, general manager Frank
Krhounek, pastry chef Ashleigh Totin, and ALMP’s “Pie Guy”/founder/etc. Chris Porter. Ribbon cut, it was on to the pie for the aforementioned first customers:
For more about what the new shop’s offering, see our sneak-peek story from last Thursday. It’s been five months since we broke the news that A la Mode Pies would add a West Seattle location (4225 SW Alaska).