Seacrest Boathouse update: Alki Crab and Fish sends protest; Marination says, ‘We are not pushing (them) out of business’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A few notes today, following up on our reports the past two days about the city Parks and Recreation Department changing concessionaires at Seacrest Boathouse – awarding the contract to Marination, whose proposal, the city says, outscored the one submitted by longtime operator Alki Crab and Fish.

First: Information we’d been pursuing since yesterday, when we asked Parks what happens next, and whether there’s any place for public comment in the official process. Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter sent the official policy – see it here – and adds:

Parks followed the steps in our policy and went beyond that by meeting with both of the top two proposers. These meetings did not change the scores or the outcome.

In response to the protest letter, which Parks received late yesterday, Parks will take these steps:

• Respond to the protest letter.
• Develop criteria, based on the business objectives outlined in the request for proposals, for evaluating the protest.
• Create a review panel of people (different from the original proposal reviewers), comprised of a representative of the Department of Neighborhoods, a representative of the Board of Park Commissioners, and the Acting Parks and Recreation Superintendent.
• Set up time for the review panel to evaluate the protest based on the established criteria.
• Set up a meeting with Alki Fish and Crab to go over their findings and decision.
• Ensure the review panel has all of the input received up to the date of their meeting.

It’s important to note that this is a business process for Parks and Recreation based on business objectives (included in the Request for Proposals) designed to meet Parks’ business needs and based on City law and policy.

So bottom line, no. The contract does require final approval by the City Council, though.

If you are just catching up, Alki Crab and Fish’s contract with the city expired last summer. The city put out a “request for proposals” (RFP), and the result was a decision to award the contract to Marination, which came to fame two and a half years ago with its food truck, and has since also opened a bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Capitol Hill. We have numerous details in our report from yesterday, including links to both companies’ proposal documents. Supporters of both also have started online petitions – the one for Alki Crab and Fish fans is here, Marination fans here – and ACF supporters in the diving community, which uses Seacrest extensively, are planning a low-key rally this Saturday at noon between Seacrest and Salty’s, according to local diver Laura James, who says they are trying hard not to tie up traffic or cause trouble near the boathouse, so they are asking participants to park either south of Salty’s or up around Duwamish Head.

And a new development – just as we were finishing this story, we received e-mail from Marination, with whom we had exchanged notes previously for a short comment published in yesterday’s story. They sent a statement that follows, explaining their intent, and their surprise at how this has unfolded:

We are saddened and shocked by the developments regarding Seacrest. A few days ago we privately rejoiced to learn that after a thorough RFP process, we’d won the contract against other new bidders for a space we’ve long coveted. We worked diligently on our RFP proposal to put our best foot forward. We’ve dreamt of operating in that glorious location countless times. We had not the slightest clue of what would erupt, earning us misguided public anger online, and delivered to our company email addresses.

Plain and simple: We are not pushing Alki Fish & Crab out of business. To say otherwise is not only hurtful, but patently false; beyond ludicrous. We operate with an ethos of unwavering support for local small business.

Based on the public information we were provided in the RFP, we imagined AFC would let their contract expire, and we were excited at a rare chance to earn it. The information that helped us make the decision to take a run at the RFP contract is a matter of public record — and it looks like this:

Gross Sales Expenses
2006 $665,972 $655,790
2007 $815,672 $738,632
2008 $753,319 $867,700
2009 $736,159 $882,900
2010 $640,536 $871,000

We interpret this to mean that their financial operations have looked like this:
2006 $10,000 profit
2007 $77,000 profit
2008 $114,000 loss
2009 $146,000 loss
2010 $230,000 loss

Given the apparent $490,000 loss in the past three years, the loss amount increasing not decreasing, and the requested commission rate doubling from 5% to 10%, we couldn’t imagine the current operator would want to sign on for another 10 years managing the property. We thought our competition would be limited to other new bidders like ourselves.

So we worked really hard to deliver a strong proposal to the Parks department, and were awarded the contract.

As we’ve said before, we completely respect Alki Fish & Crab’s desire to protest the decision. We also respect the emotions running high in a tight knit community. We love & thank the WestSeattleBlog for keeping everyone (including us!) up-to-date on the latest in this matter.

But most of all, we’d like to send out massive aloha to the legions of friends and supporters who have shared our joy at the opportunity to open our people-loving business in this iconic location. We promise to make y’all proud.

Yours in good eats,
Kamala Saxton & Roz Edison

95 Replies to "Seacrest Boathouse update: Alki Crab and Fish sends protest; Marination says, 'We are not pushing (them) out of business'"

  • tp December 6, 2011 (3:57 pm)

    If The losses shown above are correct, why would Alki Fish & Crab want to renew at higher commission?

    • WSB December 6, 2011 (4:01 pm)

      Owner Eric told me yesterday when I talked with him by phone that they thought they could “grow the winter business” by adding an indoor restroom, among other things. – TR

  • Take2 December 6, 2011 (4:07 pm)

    Really? An indoor restroom is going to bring in $200k in business? I doubt it. Poor Marination getting blasted through no fault of their own. AFC should bow out gracefully.

  • Laconique December 6, 2011 (4:10 pm)

    I’ve been a fan of marination for a long time, for their fabulous food and the way they operate their business. Their statement shows honesty and class. I can’t wait to welcome Marination to West Seattle and I hope they recognize that the haters are a small minority!

  • Frank December 6, 2011 (4:13 pm)

    If the figures are true I am truly baffled as to why AFC would want to renew. I guess the percentage point increase of profit doesn’t matter if you have no profits. Adding an indoor bathroom won’t put a dent in the $230,000 loss in 2010.

    It’s almost as if Marination did them a favor by submitting a stronger bid.

    I hope “among other things” included so great ideas or this is a win-win-win situation for everyone.

  • NameRequired December 6, 2011 (4:15 pm)

    Seems like it would take a lot of “grow” to get out of that hole.

  • DQ December 6, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    Good on marination. Their response was far superior and their food excellent. I think it’s going to take more than an indoor bathroom to grow business. As a diver I’m really looking forward to some Aloha spirit after my dives!

  • hopey December 6, 2011 (4:35 pm)

    This is asinine. The City has business needs, and an extensive process for determining which business should fulfill those needs. If ACF did not put their best foot forward in that process, then that’s their fault. If the City decided not to award the contract to a company with three straight years of increasing business losses, they are well within their rights to make that decision. This is not a social issue, this is BUSINESS. That’s how business works. The contract goes out for bid, businesses respond to that bid, and the City makes a decision they believe will be in the City’s best interest. Nothing would get done in this City if the public were to be allowed to voice their opinion and vote on every bid and every business contract the City enters into.
    I really love living here, but this is one aspect of West Seattle that I absolutely despise. I dread the inevitable day when my neighbors decide they have the right to tell me how to run my small business, too.

  • jr December 6, 2011 (4:36 pm)

    If those published financials are correct, there should be some increased scrutiny into ACF.

    Why would they want to renew with those losses? How are they even in business? They are operating in city property, given the loss, does the city see any money? Is this the reason their financials weren’t included in their proposal?

    Something seems very, very fishy with this whole situation.

  • Caleb Conley December 6, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    Well it’s easy to see just from that email how the Marination owners were able to put together a winning proposal- they sound like lovely people with a gift for saying exactly the right things. I can’t say it’s surprising that the Parks Dept has no metric for public comment in this process. It is after all a business contract and not a referendum. However I hope there will be room for informal consideration of public opinion as the underlying motivation of any Parks Dept decision should ultimately be to further the interests of the community. I’m glad they are willing to consider AFC’s protest, and I applaud the Parks Dept for resisting the temptation to respond with a heavy hand. It’s now on AFC to make their case to the review board.

  • e.r. December 6, 2011 (4:45 pm)

    Wow, I don’t even know how ACF is still in business with those kinds of losses. It is ridiculous that Marination is getting any flack over this. Sounds like it’s best foe everybody to give a new vendor an opportunity.

  • Tony Wright December 6, 2011 (4:47 pm)

    Classy response by Marination. I’ve always enjoyed AFC, but they don’t have any entitlement to that space. Their revenue/profit numbers show them to be a pretty risky bet.

    Marination has won awards and has clearly demonstrated that they can run and grow a profitable business.

  • HimAgain December 6, 2011 (4:55 pm)

    I’ve never eaten at Marination but I love them now, simply for not pulling punches in defending themselves from the mess in this comment section the other day. Refreshing stuff in a PC world.

  • Alki Observer December 6, 2011 (4:57 pm)

    Great follow-up WSB. It sounds like Parks is giving AFC a decent shake with their protest. I hope it works out for Yvonne, Greg and companies to remain. I commend Marination for keeping things positive and showing real integrity. Best of luck Kamala and Roz. I am looking forward to stopping by the truck for some of that Aloha.

  • Thomas December 6, 2011 (5:06 pm)

    From looking at the RFP documents yesterday it appears that the city’s cut comes out of gross sales. They get paid regardless of the business operating at a profit or loss.

  • Alvis December 6, 2011 (5:06 pm)

    Apart from whatever decision it reached, color me majorly unimpressed by the Parks Department’s public statement that it “went beyond that [departmental policy] by meeting with both of the top two proposers.” When did holding two applicant interviews become equivalent to going the extra mile?

  • Anomie 2 December 6, 2011 (5:20 pm)

    Classy response from both Marination and the City Parks & Rec. Dept. Looks like an objective process was followed that was enhanced by personal interviews. Marination came out on top. Absent a finding of bias, why wouldn’t the decision stand, and why wouldn’t the public want what looks to be a more energetic and competent business with some new ideas take a crack at serving us?

  • Junebug December 6, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    I agree that was an informed and positive statement from Marination. Thanks WSB for always being such a newshound and tracking down all perspectives. With that information, I understand the situation more clearly. I love the food from the Marination truck but am hardly ever home on Saturday mid-day…tragic. Having them in WS on a regular basis will make us frequent customers. Can’t wait! We’ve also eaten at ACF many times and enjoy the view and food as well. I wish them well with thier other business endeavors and thank them for serving WS over the past several years.

  • Thd December 6, 2011 (5:40 pm)

    Fish place is gross. Bring on marination and quickly.

  • bkn December 6, 2011 (6:03 pm)

    It was an open transparent process. Move over Alki – Marination had the best proposal and they seem to be a very well run and successful business! In my opinion there does not need to be any further review.

  • WestSeattleFoodie December 6, 2011 (6:28 pm)

    I think it’s great that we are getting some variety. We already have fish and chips on Alki and the new spot which just opened (in the Junction? Haven’t been yet, heard it’s great). It’s always sad to see a local institution fail, but I’ve always rounded the point as a loyal Sun Fish patron. I may have reason to stop at that awesome little spot now. My best to Marination and welcome to West Seattle.

  • onceachef December 6, 2011 (6:32 pm)

    Yep…business is business..I like both places…for different reasons. Considering their losses over the past few years, maybe it’s time to move on (AFC) and find a new location? An indoor bathroom (although an improvement) isn’t going to do it for you…I don’t go there for that reason anyway. I don’t think Marination deserves any criticism for going through and winning a perfectly legitimate process. Maybe Marination can add a “Marination version” of fish and chips? :)

  • JW December 6, 2011 (7:04 pm)

    I already liked the food at Marination, and now that I see that they have the talk to back up the walk, I hold them in even higher regard.

  • JD December 6, 2011 (7:19 pm)


    We welcome you!

  • pigeon hill jim December 6, 2011 (7:46 pm)

    As a long time WS resident, I wholeheartedly welcome Marination! Their food is excellent and their ethics are clean. Thanks for the past AFC, thanks for the future Marination.

  • JoAnne December 6, 2011 (7:57 pm)

    Those operating losses are likely from improvements that AFC has made at the facility. Didn’t they report investing $300K? I’m pretty sure they built that outdoor patio and made many other facility improvements.

    If that is the case, it would mean the city is pushing out AFC and allowing Marination to reap the benefit from those improvements, while cheating AFC of the time needed to recoup their investment.

  • visitor December 6, 2011 (7:59 pm)

    agree with jr above. something is fishy here and it’s not dinner!

  • Todd December 6, 2011 (8:04 pm)

    I’m looking forward to Marination coming to West Seattle!!

  • Eaglelover December 6, 2011 (8:13 pm)

    Possible resolution is Maination goes to Portehouse vacancy since people would drive/walk to a location like N Admiral and have F&C at the beach.

  • pigeonmom December 6, 2011 (8:49 pm)

    The Bride of Spam is pleased! :-)

  • Jiggers December 6, 2011 (9:26 pm)

    I always thought that having a restaurant business on the waterfront in Seattle was and always has been about seafood. That’s what brings tourists and their dollars here. They come to expect and see a variety of different restaurants serving seafood. That’s what lures them here to our region isn’t it?

    I do love spam too but…..

  • ha ha. December 6, 2011 (10:02 pm)

    exactly, jiggers. replacing one of the waterfronts several seafood restaurants with something different will surely send the tourists running for the hills.

  • JanS December 6, 2011 (11:04 pm)

    I’m so sorry that AC&F put money into someone else’s property. In my book, that’s a crap shoot, and I’m betting they knew it was a crap shoot. It didn’t guarantee anything.And shouldn’t have guaranteed anything. The owner of AC&F has another well established business in the Admiral District. He needs to figure out what his future holds and realize that this was done fair and square. How dare we dictate what the parks dept. does with it’s own property. They followed the law, pure and simple.

  • Dano December 6, 2011 (11:35 pm)

    … Looking at those pubic records on profits, there is NO WAY that prices will be reasonable for a local place….. No matter WHO moves into the space!…. I wish them luck, and I’ll certainly try it….. But if it turns out that they are just another overpriced waterfront restaurant, l’ll head back up the hill.

  • Lorelee December 6, 2011 (11:36 pm)

    Any idea when MM is opening? Hopefully by summer- in time for water taxi traffic!

  • alkiguy December 6, 2011 (11:43 pm)

    What I don’t understand about AC&F is why they don’t capitalize on the Water Taxi traffic. Nearly every time I’m headed to the Taxi and am ten or fifteen minutes early, I figure I’ll head in for a quick snack. But the entire menu except for ice cream and drinks is a ten minute wait to make it. And even just for ice cream, I have to wait in the single line. I’ve never been able to figure out why there isn’t more options and a dedicated line for grab-n-go food. I mean, it’s not as classy as the main business, but if you’re losing that much money every year why not pursue every avenue?

  • DF December 6, 2011 (11:43 pm)

    JanS, I agree with most of what you said but I’ll quibble with one point: The parks dept. is managing this property on behalf of the public – as public land it belongs to all of us. I agree that we shouldn’t get overly critical of the parks folks for following the rules as they’re written, but I also think it’s odd that the current process for selecting businesses to operate concessions at our parks doesn’t allow for public comment. Seems like even the most trivial changes even on private property often provide for public notice and a public-comment period. So I can understand the frustration of AC&F patrons/supporters who may feel blindsided.

    That said, it doesn’t seem like the public comments here would have or should have made a difference. The parks folks all by themselves selected a business that shows every sign of being an asset to the site and to our community.

  • DiverLaura December 7, 2011 (12:07 am)

    The Deck last year and the Dive Bar this year…

    to me this does not look like someone ready to walk away…

    again, look beyond the numbers.. I don’t know how the “loss” was calculated, if he put a substantial amount into renovations, i imagine it wouldn’t feel as badly as if they’d just consistently lost money. The past 3 years patrons have seen continued improvements. And yes, it is a gamble putting money into someone else’s property, but that is how the lease is written, and that is what Marination will do as well if things work out for them.

    It was seen as a business opportunity, I can’t fault anyone for that. Making an assumption about another businesses ‘plans’ based on numbers is just that though, an assumption, and should not be used as an excuse to justify making an application for a coveted prime location when it came up for grabs.

  • Dave December 7, 2011 (12:25 am)

    This is the risk of ‘leasing’…whether from the park or from a landlord. I know many a business who “lost their lease” because the owner just decided to crank up their rent, change the terms, or just wanted someone else (M Street Market, Alki Bakery, Guppies, etc). Even if you’re making money, if you don’t own the building, it’s gamble that as soon as your lease is up (whether with the city or private owner) that they won’t just decide to give you the boot.

  • Nutkin December 7, 2011 (1:16 am)

    Not that there is anything wrong with Marination but…To the person who said this is about OWNING A BUSINESS: Let’s just put in a McD’s and get it over with. I bet they’ll make a buttload of money for themselves and for the city so you won’t have to pay anymore taxes.
    Now I’ll go back to watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

  • Really? December 7, 2011 (7:18 am)

    DiverLaura said: “…an assumption, and should not be used as an excuse to justify making an application for a coveted prime location when it came up for grabs.”

    Marination, or any other restaurant out there, doesn’t need any justification for submitting an application for the RFP. The space, yes – a prime location, was up for proposal, and anyone could submit a bid. I understand you love ACF, but plain and simple, they didn’t submit the winning proposal. And you shouldn’t blame Marination. Blame ACF for not knocking it out of the park with their own submission.

  • Bill at Duwamish Head December 7, 2011 (7:21 am)

    Off topic but, Dano, did you live in a prominent ski resort in Colorado?
    If so, we know each other, and shoot me an email:

  • jr December 7, 2011 (7:45 am)

    I’m surprised there weren’t more solid proposals.

    Currently, the place is mediocre at best.

    Laura: The proposal and interview were in place ‘to look beyond the numbers’.

  • Chris December 7, 2011 (7:57 am)

    Go read some of the comments under the original story. The assumptions, leaps, and uninformed posturing in some of them are truly amazing.

  • Yolanda December 7, 2011 (8:46 am)

    Kamala & Roz – You WON the space fair and square and we could not be more excited to see you there. Hang in there and know you have the support of many in West Seattle.

  • AIDM December 7, 2011 (9:14 am)

    I think the key to AC&F’s desire to stay, is in the fact that they were awarded a liquor license near the end of 2010, and their books have either drastically changed, or they are hoping that they will drastically change. Notice that 2011 is not included in the sales and expense sheets and that the full liquor license wasn’t awarded until 8/20/2010.

  • kirsty December 7, 2011 (9:37 am)

    I don’t agree that all public process should require public comment- it gives a loud voice to the extremely invested (personally, financially, etc), not the public as a whole. We have already voted with our actions and our dollars, AFC’s financials show that. (I’ve lived in Alki for 6 years and patronized AFC once.)
    Best wishes, Marination!

  • chris December 7, 2011 (10:23 am)

    I don’t like the “either/or” tone to these arguments. Marination can go anywhere and be successful I’m sure with the number of vocal fans on this blog. I’m unhappy with the casualty of this change; a family run enterprise that put their heart and soul into a business and is now heartlessly being shown the door. Yes, that is business as will be pointed out to me. The cruel nature of free enterprise should not be so openly admired as I have read on this blog. Personally, I feel a fish and chips establishment fits the site better than a Korean taco stand, IMO. I have eaten there often and will miss the good food and a beer while enjoying the view. I won’t be eating at the latest trendy hipster spot, sorry.

  • datamuse December 7, 2011 (10:43 am)

    DiverLaura, if AF&C’s numbers did not demonstrate a compelling reason to award them the bid, that’s not Marination’s fault. It’s certainly no reason for them to AVOID bidding on a prime location.
    As certain people keep saying, it’s business.

  • Caleb Conley December 7, 2011 (11:11 am)

    While we’re busy dispensing with all the earlier “assumptions, leaps, and uninformed posturing” can we also extend the benefit of the doubt to AC&F and their desire to re-up? I’ve never met the owner and I have no information about their finances other than this record of recent losses. But maybe we can allow for the possibility that the owner had a plan and a reasonable expectation of recovering his investments rather than taking his intent to renew the contract to mean he must be a fool who just doesn’t know when to stop throwing money away. Amazon operated for years before ever recording a profit. You can accuse them of many things but having no business savvy isn’t one of them.

  • Frank December 7, 2011 (11:16 am)

    Kirsty – I totally agree. Local government has way bigger fish to fry (sorry, couldn’t help it) than worrying about putting EVERY single decision up to a public vote or referendum.

    Chris – Try this on for size: Say you rented an apartment building with a 1 year lease where most of the tenants were like you. When your lease is up – let’s say your landlord decides not to renew it in favor of a new person who is not like you but is willing to pay more. Do you demand to stay by arguing that you were there first and that the new person doesn’t fit the “culture” of the apartment b/c he/she is different? Perhaps the new person should move someplace else? Maybe in Chinatown perhaps?

    Come on. Stop being provincial.

    You’re efforts are better served if you took this energy to Bank of America where they are foreclosing on people’s homes left and right. Occupy foreclosed homes not public concession stands.

  • Elizagrace December 7, 2011 (11:17 am)

    A class act coming out of the newest Alki beach eatery. Hats off to you.

    It is time for us to show this new restaurant what WS can really be about: great community inclusion and a fantastic group of people who support their local businesses.

    The best news about this is that the owner of ACF still owns the Admiral pub and I am sure they will serve the food and drinks they did in this location with some of the stellar staff members we have heard about.

    I can only imagine how excited the owners of Marination were, to be awarded this location and how in one day we might have taken away some of that cheer and excitement by basically telling them that they weren’t welcome. Shame on us.

    I wish you the best and look forward to the opening day announcement – I will be in line with my husband drooling the whole time!


  • DQ December 7, 2011 (11:30 am)


    Also a good idea is not making assumptions regarding the award of a competitive process is a good idea. AFC ownership did a poor job with their response and the result was they lost.
    Seriously, folks, be mad at Eric for doing a crappy job in responding.
    Marination is also a small family owned business that has as much right to bid on that space as anyone. Should we also get mad that Rocksport and beer junction have to move because the landlords says they do?
    I’m really excited for the expanded hours and really truly excelent Hawaian-Korean food.

  • Neal Chism December 7, 2011 (11:57 am)


    The only public comments so far are the ones here on the WS Blog you are reading, and one protest by AFC to the city, which was their option to make. And the two petitions going forward to the city are to express our views (both sides), and that is the right of both sides to generate and file because this is PUBLIC business.
    “it gives a loud voice to the extremely invested (personally, financially, etc), not the public as a whole.”
    I am not certain what you mean by this. You want some public decisions held in private because public comment gives too loud a voice to the people who live here? Some would think this is good to have so much interest generated. It proves that people are at least paying some attention at some level. And yes, maybe there were a lot of poor and/or uninformed comments early on, but so what, it is a free blog.
    I have lived here a long time and have seen great improvement at the Seacrest Boathouse area. Before the water taxi and the other businesses it was just another fairly nasty public bathroom. So for me reading this, news of the change of ownership of the food vendors, I wanted to know a good deal more about the specifics because it is not just one business at stake but several, and both happen to be deeply connected/involved with the community as you can see by the petition numbers and some of the comments.
    Also I did not have enough information to sense whether “something” was amiss in the proposal evaluation process. The proposal evaluation process is not done by robots and mistakes can happen. So I want to thank WS Blog and Tracy for collecting this information in one place on the blog for all of us to quickly access. Again the proposal is not a fixed dollar value bid, but a prediction by the city of who is best suited to maybe succeed in that location.
    I also did not have a good feeling that replacing a fixed business that had been struggling and making improvements for the last eight years with a mobile vendor made sense. Now that we have more information I have a better view of the situation, and I also a few more questions.
    One question I have is; either AFC submitted a proposal without the budget numbers and should have been scored low by all evaluators ( or the AFC proposal should have been tossed out period!), or the evaluation team took into account other information, like future improvement plans, or a new liquor license, or whatever, that could help them long term. In either case, the evaluation numbers for AFC were all over the board. One person gave AFC a 10 out of 10, one person gave it a 0 for the budget numbers.
    Also, while Marination did suggest that they would support and desire to have a subcontractor for water sports next door, they did not commit to it specifically. So it appears that AKT has to renegotiate with each new vendor that comes in. Maybe that could be improved? Or maybe I just don’t know enough about the arrangements that exist.
    I want to see businesses succeed at this location, and I want to have confidence that the city is making reasonable decisions towards that goal. So I signed Laura’s petition and don’t think it is a bad thing at all. Slow this process down some, let “we the public” have some time to digest this situation, maybe vent a little (share our opinions), maybe learn a few things.
    “We have already voted with our actions and our dollars, AFC’s financials show that.”
    I am not certain I have seen enough of those financials to know that. If AFC were planning on large improvements, and it was not considered in the evaluation process, I want to know more about that too.

  • Caleb Conley December 7, 2011 (12:04 pm)

    Frank- you’re taking a commercial lease and RFP and pointing to a residential property that is somehow up for rent to the highest bidder? What are we supposed to do with such a muddled analogy?

    Elizagrace- it’s time to stop the bickering and welcome Marination by showing them what WS is all about, a community that supports its local businesses….really? Because I’m pretty sure everyone who’s rallying to save AC&F thinks that’s what they’re doing.

    So much for winding down this crazy train, let the perpetual chatter machine roll on…

  • datamuse December 7, 2011 (12:21 pm)

    Frankly, I just wonder if the folks calling for opportunities for public comment on every single thing Parks does (let alone other agencies) are aware of just how much work they’re letting themselves in for.

  • Elizagrace December 7, 2011 (12:32 pm)

    Caleb, absolutely there is a rally cry; which is awesome. However, as far as I can understand it, the city/parks have decided to bring in a new restaurant (one they feel will be a huge success – best food truck in America according to GMA)… so why can’t we respect it and welcome this new venture instead of acting like they stole this space or aren’t supposed to try to be a successful business.

    Crazy train rolling… toot toot… right into the Marination station.

  • pjmanley December 7, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    I wish I saw this kind of concern surrounding the proposed up-zoning in the triangle area from 65ft heights to 85ft heights, which will impact hundreds or thousands of lives for eternity here in WS, much more than choosing between tacos or fish at the Beach.

    That said, anybody who rents or leases knows their rights are finite by contract. Sucks to be AF&C in this case, but the landlords can rent to whomever they want and it ain’t like Marination is benefiting from nepotism or discrimination, any more than AFC should get preferential treatment through a bizarre legacy-based community cronyism. Let’s be careful what we wish for. At least this process was reasonably transparent.

  • Caleb Conley December 7, 2011 (12:48 pm)

    Eliza you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. Do you want us to welcome a new business to Seacrest or support the one that’s there? There’s only one contract available. (I’d love to see Marination set up shop in WS, just not in the space of an equally-loved business that doesn’t want to close.)

  • Chris December 7, 2011 (1:25 pm)

    Let me just point out that there are two Chris’s commenting here and I ain’t the one spouting this garbage “Personally, I feel a fish and chips establishment fits the site better than a Korean taco stand, IMO…. I won’t be eating at the latest trendy hipster spot, sorry.”

  • Frank December 7, 2011 (2:06 pm)

    Caleb – A lease is a lease be it commercial or residential. There’s a contract that both parties get to read before signing. This shouldn’t be a surprise to AF&C as much as it shouldn’t be a surprise to a residential tenant who doesn’t get their lease renewed.

    In fact, AF&C has more avenues to make their case than a residential tenant does. They submitted a bid that was clearly outlined for them on what to include. They should’ve been pro’s at it since they already submitted a winning bid 10 years ago. They even got a face-to-face interview to plead their side.

    You make it sound like I made an analogy that utilizes groundhogs and spaceships.

    I’m poking holes in 2 basic arguments I’m seeing by pro-AFC supporters.

    1. They were here first and thereby should get to stay.

    2. Fish & chips is orthodoxy when it comes to beach-front food choices and anything else is tantamount to heresy.

  • Kingofalki December 7, 2011 (2:15 pm)

    @ Elizagrace – Love your Proclamation!

    Immigration of Marination to this Location is total Salvation
    The current Operation needs Mutation, needs Fibrillation!
    Or it will go into Hibernation!!!

    To those that drop an Accusation
    And think change is an Abomination
    Like it’s their Profession?
    Please spare me of your Frustration,
    I’ll pay for your Vacation!

    With great Exhortation
    join the Celebration
    This new Cultivation
    Is for this new Generation!

    Welcome Marination!

  • Caleb Conley December 7, 2011 (2:49 pm)

    Clearly I have nothing better to do than get sucked into the minutia… :)

    Frank I would argue that the RFP process bears very little resemblance to the kind of negotiations involved in renting an apartment, except in the broadest notion that both end in signatures. I certainly have never seen an ad saying “now accepting bids for tenancy, make best offer…” but I get the point that you and I think Pjmanley more clearly state- there is no grandfather clause for AC&F at this site. But I don’t think anyone who is supporting the incumbent is trying to suggest that the Parks Dept doesn’t have the legal right to give the contract to a new bidder, only that they think it is a mistake to do so. That’s why hundreds of people have raised a cry of protest, which you may feel no compulsion to join and of course are equally in the right to counter.

    Okay even I am getting tired of my presence here so I respectfully abdicate further comment :)

  • Peter December 7, 2011 (3:29 pm)

    I think all the comments I have read are out of line. I’ve worked at the boat launch since 2001. I have seen how Rick Galanti and his son have brought a property in disarray to a good communiity establishment. I personally would cease all contact with seacrest if it changed hands again in 8 yrs. There is to much at stake here for the community!

  • Tina Carns December 7, 2011 (4:07 pm)

    Alki Crab and Fish invested in the property by building a new dive bar (indoor) and added an beautiful outdoor eating area and lounge this Summer. They hosted weddings, bands, community fund raisers, birthday parties and all sorts of other gatherings in the new areas. The business owners obviously were putting in money to increase the revenues. All Alki operations have hard winters. ACF is making the changes needed to increase winter revenues and significantly increase summer revenues. I think ACF should be awarded a five year extension based on the amount they invested to grow the business. I know I spent alot more time there this summer then in the past. If all the new structures are removed down to the raw boathouse it will be far less appealing.

  • Mama3 December 7, 2011 (5:34 pm)

    Welcome to the ‘hood for reals Marination! Do your best to ignore the crazy talk and dish us up some spicy caloric love!

  • kirsty December 7, 2011 (5:40 pm)

    Neal – I meant “public comment” to be an official forum held by government so that individuals can offer their thoughts and opinions to decision makers about some issue before said decision is made. Not just comments made publically- talk on, please. Similarly, I respect AFC’s right to protest the City’s decision if they feel there was something unfair about the process. (Hey it worked out well for Boeing?)

    All I was saying is that I think that not every decision made by government needs a public comment phase, and that the information gathered by the RFP process sufficiently represents public interest.

  • 2 Much Whine December 7, 2011 (5:43 pm)

    My lord, who said anything about tearing it down to the raw boathouse? This is beyond crazy. I heard Les Schwab ate there once and someone totally unrelated to him once contributed to some political party that I don’t like so I’m boycotting everything on earth and living in a tree stump. Who’s with me?

    How about folks put their money where their mouths are (mouth is?) and eat every day at AFC so they can make a ton of money before they go. Wouldn’t that be great? Just go on in and pay extra for your food – they’d love that. . . . .

  • Gone fishing December 7, 2011 (6:35 pm)

    Agree with Tina and Peter , West Seattle where I’m from is about community ! The Galanti’s have went above and beyond .The renovations, the fundraisers, Last year I attended a event for the fallen soldier Jerrod Newlove he was killed in afganastan, all money and time from employees going to his wife and two kids. A Diaper drive for Westside baby witch raised 10,000 diapers, for West seattle familys.Many events for cancer and so much more. Not that these Marination folks won’t do good things, I’m sure they will but why can’t they find a spot where they wont be upsetting history and the people of West Seattle ? Looking at all the alki supporters you’d think that Marination would want maybe 900 or so people who think that they did the right thing, and possibly have these 900 people as customers. Not 900 that think there putting employees , familys out of work. I’m a business owner and I wouldn’t want that on my shoulders , would you ? Remember one bad thing said turns into 10 or more so 9000 people not loving what’s going on (OUCH)

  • chris December 7, 2011 (6:49 pm)

    Other Chris…where is the “garbage”? Korean tacos are trendy, are they not? Marination and the whole food truck scene is hot and trendy, right? What will be the new thing in ten years? A space steps from a fishing pier and ferry dock…does not fish and chips seem appropriate? Yes, Marination had the slicker proposal produced by more tech savvy young hipsters. Their assumptions are totally blue sky however. I’m just agog at the glee I read of the loss of these fine people to a business that can be successful anyplace…see “Porterhouse” e.g. The AFC folks may had some “pencil losses” for tax purposes which is very common.

  • WSB December 7, 2011 (7:05 pm)

    I need to reiterate a WSB rule here. One screen name per IP address per thread. We don’t require real names but we do NOT allow one reader to appear to be more than one by using different screen names. After your first one in any thread, subsequent comments with different names (aside from the obvious multi-user IPs like Boeing, the city, etc.) will not be approved for publication. Thanks! – TR

  • datamuse December 7, 2011 (7:19 pm)


  • datamuse December 7, 2011 (7:24 pm)

    And by the way, Porterhouse closed.

  • chris December 7, 2011 (8:12 pm)

    Yes, I know about the Porterhouse closing and suggested it as an appropriate location…and hipster is not a “bad” name…perhaps glib.

  • pjmanley December 7, 2011 (8:55 pm)

    Classy? Airing dirty laundry, or the whiff of it (downward trending financials) in public to persuade public opinion is classy? Clever perhaps. Maybe even fiendishly brilliant, but classy? I wouldn’t say that.
    Why no mention of the substantial investments by AFC they’ll reap the benefit of?
    I’m skeptical by nature, but I read that beguiling letter quite differently than many of my WS neighbors. Guess it’s just me, but when I read it I said: “Eggggcellent play Marination” with my best Montgomery Burns impression. I’ll be disappointed if it was truly uncunning, cause I like doing Montgomery Burns impressions.

  • Jena December 8, 2011 (8:59 am)

    What does anyone really expect Marination to do? Decline their bid win and “give” it to Alki Fish? They don’t have the ability/power to even do that. If you have an issue… it’s obviously not with Marination, but the city right? Seems kinda ignorant to me.
    Personally, I’ve always thought that Alki Fish was mediocre food & slow service (despite the owners humanitarian efforts which are commendable). I visit Marination regularly, however, and I would LOVE to see them in that awesome permanent WS location.

  • Gonefishing December 8, 2011 (9:17 am)

    Jena yes great but not this one!

  • Take2 December 8, 2011 (9:53 am)

    This whole thing reminds me of how West Seattlites petitioned and “loved” the Charleston out of business.

    Charlestons lease was up.
    Petco wanted to move it.
    A petition was started and so many people signed it that Petco was concerned that they would be boycotted and pulled out of the location.
    Charleston reopened; had a kitchen fire and closed for a few weeks.
    All 2k+ people who signed the petition “forgot” to go eat at the Charleston that they “loved” so much and it closed permanently after a few months.

    We will be lucky if we get any new businesses in West Seattle if we start a petition to “unwelcome” the new owners each time.

    If AFC stays in that location — I expect all 700+ petition signers to eat there on a frequent basis.

  • AlkiBeachUSA December 8, 2011 (11:06 am)

    It’s time for Alki Crab & Fish to move on. They need more people working in the summer as they can’t keep up with the business. In fact, I asked them if they were hiring last summer and the lady behind the counter sent me up to the Admiral Pub for an application. Apparently they own that as well. The bartender at Admiral was clueless and not friendly at all so I was never able to apply for work. I look forward to having Marination as their replacement.

  • Ian Firth December 8, 2011 (11:41 am)

    Assuming that the bid process has determined that the financials of both parties are in order, there is one main reason for awarding the contract to Alki Crab and Fish.The Alki trail provides a marine environment for the people who live here like I do, and the thousands of visitors who drive here or take the water taxi to Seacrest from Seattle. As such, a seafood restaurant with high quality food that is reasonable priced fits the bill. Salty’s provides a higher end dining experience and Alki Crab and Fish provides this to the rest of us. In addition, they have steadily upgraded what was a somewhat seedy establishment, and they should be rewarded for doing this.

  • datamuse December 8, 2011 (2:23 pm)

    By that logic, Ian, there should be no other restaurant of any type along Alki, except for seafood. Someone tell Celtic Swell, Phoenecia, and that Mexican place I can never remember the name of.

  • higgins December 8, 2011 (2:37 pm)

    Do we know how many other proposals were submitted in addition to Marination’s and AC&F’s? Even if Marination hadn’t responded to the RFP, who’s to say AC&F would have won? Blaming Marination is unfair, ignorant, and just plain mean. I used to work in government contracting, and I can say first hand that it’s a pretty intense process. Marination played by the rules with no malicious intent – they deserve our congratulations, and I’m sure they’ll work hard to deliver on their promises.

    • WSB December 8, 2011 (2:43 pm)

      If you look at the documents in our story, it appears there were three proposers, although it looks like the other one may not have submitted a complete proposal (I would have to refer back to the documents – follow the link to our Monday story). Something called Cowboyz.

  • Ian Firth December 8, 2011 (3:13 pm)

    I want to clarify my statement for datamuse about the type of restaurants on the Alki trail. There are only two restaurants on the trail. The rest are across from the trail.Most (not all), restaurants off the trail are on the strip, which is a totally different experience from the other side of Alki. This give the southwest quieter side a totally different and close to nature ambiance. During the summer, one can actually hear the waves when sitting outside Alki Crab and Fish. By the way, the Mexican restaurant is called Chupa Cabra which means goat sucker.

  • Laconique December 8, 2011 (4:07 pm)

    You’re right Ian, when I think quiet natural area, I think greasy fish and chips, an overpriced place to go for grandma’s 90th birthday, a drive through coffee stand and a biker bar. I definitely don’t think tacos and sliders! How awful! That would totally interfere with the ambiance!

  • ab December 8, 2011 (9:13 pm)

    I think it’s obvious that AF&C should open a food truck and park it near the dock.

  • Jim December 9, 2011 (12:11 am)

    I really enjoy alki crab and fish…marination is an award winning (food truck) I would think the city should just get them a space to park another truck near this location and make more rent and improve the cities budget. I think there are many big empty spaces ready for a great food truck near alki. Marination would love to take over all the improvements made by ac&f and the 10 years of customers that they have served.

  • DiverLaura December 9, 2011 (10:36 am)

    i posted this in the older thread, but will post it here as well…

    I asked about the losses that were printed today, as I was honestly curious if they were loosing money hand over fist.
    The answer i got was as imagined… In the past couple years, it sounds like ACF has paid off all the loans they’d taken out for renovating and growing the original boathouse and then put even more cash into the recent upgrade such as “the Deck” and the interior… you can see how this would look bad on paper, but the reality is only seen if you have been a patron of ACF for the past several years and watched the consistent continued improvements over time.

    For those who are interested, this upcoming saturday at noon a number of folks from the diving community are leading a rally in support of ACF on the grassy areas between Salty’s and ACF. We are NOT there to protest and this is nothing negative towards Marination.

    Quite simply, We will be there to say Thank You, to show our appreciation, to celebrate the community that Eric and his father, Yvonne, Denise, etc… have built from the ground up and been a hub for over the past decade. We will be there to show our gratitude for every fin, hood, hat, etc… they held for us in the lost and found corner (there is a purple fin there now if you are missing it), every coat we forgot and Yvonne chased after us with and gave to our friends to drop off… Every note or item we needed to get to one of our diving friends and asked if we could leave it at the register for so and so, and could rest assured it would be delivered.

    it will be divers, and fishermen, and hopefully anyone else who has enjoyed the opportunity to sit back and relax with a cup of chowder, ice cream, or brew or even just the view…
    Never once were we made to feel unwelcome despite the fact that we took up seats (and parking places) for hours on end with our diving classes and groups who convene from all over. For these and so many other reasons… WE LOVE YOU ACF!!!

    If you love ACF, the people, the community, please join us…

  • Westseattle lover December 9, 2011 (2:39 pm)

    There appears to be an uproar brewing regarding the City of Seattle Parks & Recreation Department’s recent Request for Proposal for the concessionaire of the Seacrest Boat House facility.  Whether you’re a loyal fan of traditional fish and chip restaurant Alki Crab & Fish, or you’re a food truck junkie for Korean/Hawaiian fusion food operator Marination, you may have an opinion as a consumer or patron of the park.  There’s a larger issue beyond just the food, however.  This issue is the blatant irresponsibility of the Parks and Rec department in its Request for Proposal (RFP) design.  While both concessionaires have fans, and those fans may or may not be in equal numbers, the two companies are not.  The Park and Rec’s RFP was woefully remiss in its fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Seattle.  There were two very important attributes that were never considered in the process.  And, the attributes are of vital concern to the city and its citizens.
    When it come to awarding agreements to subcontractors to provide services to the city, why is the financial impact of the decision completely ignored?  The Seacrest Boat House RFP never measured either the financial return to the city nor the financial history of the proposed concessionaires.  Financial return to the city comes in the form of Gross Sales Payments from the concessionaire–how much of the potential profits are “shared” with the city.  Financial history of the proposed concessionaires looks at the track record of the companies.  How long have they been in business, and are they “newbies” or do they have a long history of success in the business?  Both of these factors are critical to ensure that the partnership created at the Seacrest Boat House is lucrative, and will stand the test of time.  After reviewing the responses to the proposals, I was astounded that these questions were not asked.  The Parks & Rec department is discontinuing a lucrative, historically sound relationship (Alki Crab and Fish) and signing on for a far-less-lucrative and far more risky one (Marination) which has been in business for only two years and as a food truck.  The City of Seattle needs to take another look at the process before it makes a potentially costly mistake.  As far as the Parks & Rec’s Request for Proposal process goes, if you don’t ask the right questions, you certainly won’t get the right answers.

  • sinky December 9, 2011 (3:03 pm)

    I’m a bit sad, that’s all.

    I have no negative feelings against the Marination people. To be honest, I don’t have any feelings about them at all.

    I’m just sad because I like AFC.
    I like the people and the environment. I like that it is unassuming and casual; it’s an old park building with the bathroom around the side (which i think is nice for divers in suits, or taxi riders or shy kids who just need to pee).
    I think that actually keeps a neat flow (sorry for the pun) and makes it a neat hub where different people intersect…it’s part of a park after all

    I like that I see an AED (ie “heart shocker”)plaque.
    Yes, I’m a diver and I’m glad that AFC is so welcoming and supportive (and they are)and that it’s OK for me to come in wearing a fuzzy onsie – BUT what I really like is when a 5 year old who just got an ice cream points and yells “look SCUBA people!” or that someone feels welcome to ask “so what do you see down there?” (and they are welcome to).

    I like that AFC helps that along.

    Not saying that another biz might not be able to do that, but I would like to thank AFC for doing that.

    Regardless, I wish all the parties involved good fortune.

  • WSwalker December 11, 2011 (2:16 pm)

    Honestly how much can a deck and a couple bars cost?

  • Gonefishing December 11, 2011 (8:13 pm)

    Well WSalker. When’s the last time you opened one or put one in? I’m thinking never !!! Over 1000 plus people want them to stay 180 for the truck still saying it’s risky with so with this many people agenst this ( not them) be smart find another spot. It’s crazy to think they even want to try with all the support for ACF

  • Pfft. December 11, 2011 (11:18 pm)

    Hey how did the “non-protest” go on Saturday? 20 ppl? WOWWWW you West Seattleites sure know how to kinda jump on a bandwagon. Here’s what will happen: a rad new business that cares about WS is gonna back out due to incredibly ignorant hostility from micro-locals, and then AC&F is gonna GO OUT OF BUSINESS ALL ON ITS OWN and a really cool & important location will SIT EMPTY. Aside from all of the feel good warm fuzzies you keep citing — have you EATEN THERE?? It’s NOT. GOOD. QUALITY.
    I am so embarrassed to be a part of this community right now. Fools abound.
    Who cares about the lame online petitions numbers (700 vs 180)? Have you followed Marination at all? That haven’t even mentioned this crap once! They aren’t out trolling for online signatures — they’re too busy running a truck & a popular restaurant! And do you know who makes them popular?? SEATTLEITES. Are we so different from non W Seattleites??
    And lastly, the truck comments are so off base. Did you read the proposals (the one AFC didn’t fill out all the way but is crying bc they didn’t get the contract)? They don’t want to park a truck at Seacrest. If you are going to show up here and argue your point please RESEARCH YOUR POINT first. Most of the “arguments” here are totally uniformed and embarrassing.
    And in case you haven’t figured it out yet — Marination’s food is DELICIOUS and CHEAP and FRESH and we would be LUCKY TO HAVE THEM. But I’ll bet you fools anything they back out because of the sh-t you’ve all stirred up, and then AFC will close because it’s gross and they’re hemmoraging (sp?) money…….. Then who are you going to attack? Hopefully your own foreheads with big time face-palms.


  • Gonefishing December 13, 2011 (8:08 am)

    Research! Really 10 years in biz making that area great for all. And as far as there food it’s fine I h did go try it but as far as a restaurant, seating 12 or less . Is that a restaurant? ( really) btw it’s over 1000 people that want alki to stay ,also don’t forget about the tours there out too. So pfft you eat at marination as much as you like but calling all us west Seattle people names doesn’t look too good for your favorite mobile truck . Let’s hope all there customers are not as bitter as you ,,,,

  • Frank December 13, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    It’s one thing to support a local business that may potentially leave due to a lost contract. It’s completely another thing to heap anger, ignorance, and threats of boycott at whoever comes in next.

    If my neighbor loses their home to foreclosure and has to move – I’m sad. Maybe I’ll petition the bank to stop the foreclosure. However, I will not ignore the new neighbor or make fun of his/her culture/personality/style or send them non-invites to block parties.

    Many ACF supporters have shown their sadness about them potentially losing out but many others have also spouted a lot of anger towards Marination by attacking their food, culture, longevity and business model.

    Please take a moment to think about why that is.

Sorry, comment time is over.