Ama Ama closure followup: Times talks to 2 others in Junction

(photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Following up on our report last night that Ama Ama is closing after this Saturday, Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson has just published a story with quotes from proprietors at two other Junction restaurants — Spring Hill and Fresh Bistro. Both tell Nancy they’re doing OK. As for what’s next in the Ama Ama spot, we spoke with building owner Leon Capelouto earlier this afternoon; he says his understanding is that they’re trying to sell the business, and he says their lease has not expired, though he would not comment on how much longer it runs. We still have a request out to Ama Ama’s owners for comment. They are closed on Mondays but posted earlier today on their Facebook page: “Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for your kind words, e-mails and phone calls!…we want our last week to be a party, so come on in so we can say goodbye in person …”

32 Replies to "Ama Ama closure followup: Times talks to 2 others in Junction"

  • Christy July 20, 2009 (5:08 pm)

    How about a vegetarian restaurant? West Seattle needs one. Georgetown has more for gosh sakes.

  • Kelly July 20, 2009 (5:15 pm)

    Fantastic idea, Christy!! I wholeheartedly agree!

  • coffee July 20, 2009 (6:04 pm)

    the rent is probably way more than anyone can afford right now. I do like a vegetarian restaurant though!

  • cjboffoli July 20, 2009 (6:11 pm)

    I vote for an Argentinean restaurant that serves heaps of red meat (and maybe empenadas) with lots of really tannic red wines that are a good value.

  • Katy L July 20, 2009 (6:50 pm)

    My vote is for another Julia’s, like they have in Wallingford and Capitol Hill.

  • Mike July 20, 2009 (6:55 pm)

    I vote for a high-end steak house, like El Gaucho’s. We really don’t have anything like that in West Seattle. The granola-eating hippies would just have to find somewhere else.

  • Kathleen July 20, 2009 (7:09 pm)

    Its awful hard to have a restaurant with no parking lot. There is no place for a take out window either. If I can’t find a place to park near a restaurant, I go somewhere else.

  • Katy L July 20, 2009 (9:06 pm)

    Er, Mike, ever been to Jak’s? That’s about as high end a steak house there is, here or anywhere. For what it’s worth, I like both steak and granola.

  • bj July 20, 2009 (9:09 pm)

    I think parking was a big factor. That is a horrible corner…… parking anywhere close .
    The other factor with these new restaurants is how expensive their meals are. With the economy the way it is right now not many can afford their meals and drinks. It’s sad but it’s a fact. I hear the comments several times that people won’t go back to some of these restaurants because of it. I went once to Ama Ama and didn’t go back because of the price.

  • WalkALittle July 20, 2009 (9:23 pm)

    I agree that parking can be an issue in the Junction, but have ALWAYS found someplace to park. If you’re willing to walk a few blocks, there is always parking in the neighborhoods around the Junction. Consider it your post-meal exercise. Often people give up if they can’t park within 1 block (or less).

  • Paul July 20, 2009 (9:33 pm)

    I’ve watched several restaurants come and go from that location over the years. Didn’t think it was a bad spot, but my one experience at Ama Ama was a disappointment and at the time predicted that their days were numbered. Too faux-trendy without a lot of substance. Quality places with reasonable prices still seem perpetually busy. I’m sure the location can thrive with the right business plan.

  • JanS July 20, 2009 (9:51 pm)

    Christopher…lots of red meat, huh…I loves me some red meat – lol…

    Mike..have you been to Jak’s? I think their steaks are absolutely wonderful.

    OK, folks, I’ve been to Ama Ama…just as much parking for there as there is for Elliot Bay Brewpub, Talarico’s, etc. I use a cane, and have no problem walking from a parking lot across the street behind NW Art and Frame…or next to Bikram’s a couple of bucks to park, but if you can afford Ama Ama, you can afford a couple of bucks to park.

    What should go in there? Hmmm…a third location for Full Tilt Ice Cream – lol…:)

  • I. Ponder July 20, 2009 (9:57 pm)

    A Greek gyro restaurant like Niko’s in Magnolia would be terrific. Restaurant business is brutal work! Not for the uninitiated.

  • Kelly July 20, 2009 (10:19 pm)

    Yeah, I’m sure that if West Seattle can’t support the likes of Ama Ama, El Gaucho will do just great. huh? Geez, Mike, what’s your beef with granola?

  • WSM July 20, 2009 (10:49 pm)

    What about a Dick’s restaurant? Seems every neighborhood has one – but west seattle! If not dicks – then kid valley!

  • jsrekd July 21, 2009 (7:19 am)

    ohhh Dicks – though that corner isn’t the right place – I’d love a Dicks!!!

  • Donuts for all July 21, 2009 (8:16 am)

    Hello – no parking in the junction? Cross the damn street and walk half a block. There’s a big parking lot that is rarely full. (south of US Bank)

    Have we gotten that lazy? or cheap?

    You’re already paying a premium to have someone else cook for you – pony up the couple bucks for super close parking or walk a couple blocks. Take public transportation and get dropped off in the middle of West Seattle’s Restaurant row.

  • JW July 21, 2009 (9:26 am)

    I’d like to thank the Ama Ama folks for making a go of it. I enjoyed having your restaurant in the neighborhood.

    As long as we’re all just idly speculating about this space, I’ll just throw in 2 cents…the space is too big for what I’ll call, for lack of better words, a “niche concept” restaurant. Looking around the Junction, the larger dining rooms are “broader” in their appeal – Jak’s, Matador, Thai. Or they’re simply cheaper and can do a higher volume business, like Than Bros.

    I’d love to see the space split in two and then perhaps we could get two different dining options instead of one big one. Unfortunately, I doubt there’s a lot of capital lying around out there that can be used to build another kitchen and another set of restrooms.

  • dawsonct July 21, 2009 (10:39 am)

    OH GOD!! NOT JULIA’S! That chain has been overrated since the beginning. I don’t understand the love affair Seattle. Maybe 20 years ago they had something unique going, sort of, but their faux-hippy culinary style takes bland to new depths. Pasty food for pasty folk.

  • swimcat July 21, 2009 (11:19 am)

    lol dawsonct- I couldn’t agree more about Julia’s. I don’t understand the allure. The food isn’t that great, and I think it’s expensive for what you get.
    I cant’ think of what I would want to take Ama Ama’s space though. I haven’t been in that space since it was Guppy’s! It would be nice to have a kid friendly restaurant option though- Elliot Bay gets too crowded on weekend nights.

  • dawsonct July 21, 2009 (12:12 pm)

    It has a huge kitchen that, unless it is completely gutted and reconfigured, should be put to constant use. I’m thinking deli/charcuterie; Claycamp! This is your place. The back kitchen is large enough to add curing rooms and walk-in smokers. In the front of the house there is plenty of space for an affinage room. A bit of a bar, a bit of a restaurant, take-out replacement meals, in-house cured meats, local cheeses, local artisanal beer, cider, wine, liquor (at least in the bar). Need to make all of that big space count or it will drive the next restaurant under, as well.

  • Jersey Jill July 21, 2009 (1:07 pm)

    I vote a decent family clothing store with affordable prices. Bring back JC Penny’s it would sure help the seniors who have to ride the bus just to buy a decent pair of socks!!

  • Hipster Mommy July 21, 2009 (3:10 pm)

    I think a place like Vio’s on Capitol Hill would work great at this location. Vios has really good food and drink and it is kid WELCOMING. Comfy atmosphere with a big kid play area. People who don’t have kids go there and enjoy the food and drink.

    Have you seen the huge number of hipsters pushing strollers up and down the Junction? Most places at the WSJ are kid ‘tolerant’, some are ‘kid friendly’ but if you look at Vios you see something that could really succeed here…kid welcoming but not some awful place like Chucky Cheese or Red Robin. It’s a true family joint.

    I love Dean and Dave at West Five but despite the fact that there are tons of kids in there these days; they are just not interested in getting high chairs or changing tables. That’s their right and I will still go there with my kid but I’d love to have someplace where I know I could let him toddle around some while I enjoy good food and drink with friend (who do or do not have kids).

  • Hipster Mommy July 21, 2009 (3:26 pm)

    And when I say “toddle around” I mean in an enclosed space just for the kiddies so he does not bother others not interested in having my little drooler getting in their space. I respect that not everyone thinks my kid is the cutest thing on earth or may not want to play with him while they are eating their lamb!

  • Bazerk July 21, 2009 (6:07 pm)

    I’m hoping Godfather’s pizza re-takes this place, they had the longest run, the best salad bar, and Dragon Quest in the video game room.

  • Katy L July 21, 2009 (6:35 pm)

    Oy, I never knew the mediocrity of Julia’s could inspire such passion! So I’ve only been to the Wallingford location a few times, and that was years ago, but what I liked about Julia’s was BREAKFAST–with good coffee. And a wide variety. If not Julia’s, then some other restaurant that serves a great breakfast–cheaply–with good coffee. Served all day. I love Easy Street, but they get so crowded I don’t think another place down the street would hurt. And Hipster Mommy, I’m with you on the kid-friendly aspect.

  • d July 21, 2009 (7:23 pm)

    “…bring back JC Penney’s”..!!!!!!

    Funny. Maybe that space DOES need to get out of the food box; howza’ bout a Woolworth’s’? Quite the blue plate specials, not that I ever got much past the soda fountain; Let’s not forget all the potential “assorted unnecessary items” for a downturn. Thx Nancy Griffin)! :]

  • d July 21, 2009 (8:36 pm)

    So, yeah. Obviously, I meant Nanci Griffith. Blame it on the reisling or the iPhone, whichever floats your boat. Urf.:)

  • homesweethome July 21, 2009 (9:59 pm)

    Vios is the answer. Nice, better restaurant where families go earlier in the evening – and non-kid folks later on and all get to enjoy great food. Or of course, a sewing shop which of course probably can’t make the rent but Hancock fabrics is sorely missed.

  • Katy L July 21, 2009 (11:24 pm)

    Or a music store, a la Dusty Strings in Fremont. There is nothing between downtown and Mills in Burien.

  • Jersey Jill July 22, 2009 (11:40 am)

    “d” by all of your exclamation points I am assuming you are new to west Seattle and don’t know that there was once a thriving JC Penny’s in the junction but because parking meters were put in people choose to drive to the mall instead of paying for parking so it went under. It was wonderful to have a family store in the junction and wish we still did.

  • dawsonct July 22, 2009 (12:17 pm)

    That space is HUGE Katy, the front of the house is only about half the sq. ftg. Not certain W. Seattle has THAT large a community of musicians.

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