West Seattle restaurants: Porterhouse has apparently closed

After 2 years in business at 2329 California SW, it appears the restaurant/bar Porterhouse is closed. Over the past week-plus, several WSB’ers e-mailed to say they had been told by restaurant staff that Porterhouse would shut down its West Seattle restaurant/pub after Saturday night, but management/ownership did not confirm this when we asked. However, all signs point to the closure having indeed happened. For one, it was dark on Sunday during what would have been operating hours (no note on the door when we went by, though); for two, its West Seattle website at westcoastales.com switched Saturday night to an error page; for three, its West Seattle Facebook page no longer exists. No one answered the phone Sunday during what would have been prime dinnertime.

Porterhouse opened in August 2009, eleven months after Blackbird Bistro closed in that same space. Last July, it closed briefly for an “extreme makeover” and reopened with a new menu focused on burgers. The original Porterhouse in the Skagit County town of Mount Vernon appears to still be open. As for the West Seattle space’s fate – looks like it’s up for sale. (Addendum: Confirmed later Monday, when a “BUSINESS FOR SALE” sign went up in the window.)

46 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: Porterhouse has <strike>apparently</strike> closed"

  • Hilari December 5, 2011 (5:37 am)

    Any news on Cafe Aroma, the pho place on Delridge? We call, and the number has been disconnected.

    • WSB December 5, 2011 (9:15 am)

      Hilari, re Pho Aroma .. I just tried the number and it’s not disconnected, it goes to a fax. Common for small businesses to have a multitasking line if they need to use fax at all. Also drove by and it looks normal (including Christmas lights still lit outside around 8:30 am). I’d suggest going by during their open hours (Mon-Sats lunch thru dinner) – TR

  • DavidP December 5, 2011 (5:37 am)

    It’s a shame they changed the menu. My wife and I regularly went to the porterhouse before they switched to a basically all burger line up. Since my wife is only a cider drinker, their great tap selection wasn’t as big of a draw for her as it was for me.

  • Nic December 5, 2011 (6:31 am)

    While I hate to see empty store fronts, and I hate seeing local businesses fail, I can’t say I’m surprised, my wife and I gave them chance after chance and every time we went there the service had somehow gotten even worse than the last time…

  • Momof3 December 5, 2011 (6:34 am)

    That’s a shame, I always hate to hear of businesses closing.
    I found your list of 3 signs of closure particularly endearing. Way to check all signs and not call it a day at any of of those 3 signs. Thanks, it made my early morning.

    • WSB December 5, 2011 (7:49 am)

      Momof3 – If not for the multiple, apparently unrelated people having e-mailed to say “they say they’re going to close” – over the course of a week-plus, as I wrote – the “three signs” still might not have been enough. Almost always, there’s an e-mail announcement to a list, either before or after the fact, or at least something on the door, though certainly a businessperson has the right to not pre-announce or explain a closure decision, painful as it must be (even if ultimately it’s perhaps a relief) – please be mindful of that in comments.
      In recent West Seattle restaurant history, Table 35 (which used to be in the space where Terrible Beauty is now) closed the same way:
      their Facebook page is up, albeit unattended, to this day: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Table-35/221221057913 though the webpage has now gone to a sort of generic spamblog.

  • jack12 December 5, 2011 (6:44 am)

    Good. Have to say, the burgers weren’t bad, but the placed smelled from beer, the tables were sticky, and the prices were a tad bit too high. Not disappointed.

  • Courtney December 5, 2011 (6:52 am)

    What a bummer, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. Last time we ate there our $10 burger (the size of a $.99 mcdonalds burger) was raw…..

  • Junctionite December 5, 2011 (8:03 am)

    Too bad, only place in West Seattle I knew of where you could get Hales cream ale on tap, unless anyone knows of another?

  • Ah December 5, 2011 (8:13 am)

    somewhere along the line this once tasty restaurant seemed to have lost their focus. sad to see them go, early on they were one of the only places we knew of in w. seattle to have tasty gluten free buns for their burgers.

  • Mac J December 5, 2011 (8:15 am)

    Too bad. I’m not terribly surprised, unfortunately. While the beer was always good, the food was always disappointing.

  • AM December 5, 2011 (8:32 am)

    I know a waitress there and she told me the owners only gave the staff two weeks notice they were closing so they could find other jobs. I thought that was a bit lame. Two weeks in this job market isn’t really a lot… Thankfully the girl i know got picked up by another west seattle business. Hopefully the rest of the staff isn’t searching too long. Personally not that sad to see it go, and am excited for what will come next there!

  • Peter on Fauntleroy December 5, 2011 (8:37 am)

    Closing is no loss. The real loss was when they changed their menu and abandoned any pretense of serving quality food. It was just gross after the change.

  • JoanE December 5, 2011 (9:13 am)

    It truly seems some locations are cursed, although in our experience, Porterhouse never did work out some issues. We always hope Circa will expand when this space becomes available every year or so – but I think they are happy with their working formula for success. Just wish it were easier to get a table there …

  • CB December 5, 2011 (9:39 am)

    This location appears to be cursed.

  • NFiorentini December 5, 2011 (10:30 am)

    I *am* disappointed. This was my favorite place in the Admiral area. Even before the menu change, I opted for burgers anyway…I’m just a burger and beer kind of guy. The Porterhouse was the only non-Jack-In-the-Box burger joint in the area. Also, each time that I went, the service was consistently excellent. It was also within walking distance for me, so I’m on the verge of tears here.

  • sg December 5, 2011 (10:45 am)

    Porterhouse was our favorite place in West Seattle so I’m surprised to see so many haters on here. Best beer selection in W.S. and always great tunes. The had a great menu which was very reasonable priced. I must admit I was disappointed when they changed the menu but the burgers were still worthy (lamb burger was amazing). Sad to see one of our regular haunts gone.

  • yarncore December 5, 2011 (10:50 am)

    I don’t think the location is cursed, I think what’s been in there has sucked. Sorry to be blunt, but seriously. I never had a very good experience there. Yes, delicious beers and cider, but bleh on the food and service. Same with Blackbird before it. We had one good meal there when it was a Valentine’s prefix, but any other time we went there it wasn’t great. Just average. Which is pretty much the MO for Admiral restaurants other than Circa.

  • rick December 5, 2011 (11:22 am)

    Tried it once, and the food was just fair, they were understaffed, and the service was poor. I had no desire to go back. Sounds like that was the majority speaking.

  • James December 5, 2011 (11:38 am)

    Not surprized…lousy service the last time we went and we swore we wouldn’t go back. Which really bummed us out. That was 2 weeks ago. Our bartender/waitress appeared to be stoned… I am saddened the service was so lacking, because we did really like the place, the menu the location etc… It was only a couple blocks from our new house and we would have probably spent $2-3K a year there. Once a week with a $50 tab average. The ownship and staff didn’t seem to get it. Looking forward to what comes in there. Maybe Elliot Bay will put another store in. It is good space. I don’t think it cursed.

  • Mike B December 5, 2011 (11:39 am)

    It was a fantastic place – great beer selection!! very friendly staff. I was a fan – sad to see it go

  • Cait December 5, 2011 (11:54 am)

    Pho Aroma is still open – was just there on Saturday. LOVE that place.

  • pjmanley December 5, 2011 (12:01 pm)

    Ate their once. Bad experience after a guy from the bar fired up his Harley out front, and let it warm up, gassing out the entire restaurant (the door was open), and not one staff person had the sense to tell the dude to beat it.

    Our waiter was a good guy once he got to us, but it took him a solid 10 minutes to say his first hello. Not necessarily his fault if he was swamped. Management has to own that. But, Seattle’s restaurant service, in general, just isn’t nearly what it used to be. Lots of clueless entitlement attitudes.

    Hard to enjoy my meal with a dude shouting contest results from a bar drawing or something. In a place called “Porterhouse?” And the, well, let’s say “average” food didn’t live up to the name either. Nothing special about it.

    Surf & Turf, or Steakhouse? Pick one. You can’t be both. Maybe therein lies the problem.

  • DonS December 5, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    Not a hater on the (former) P-House, but it did show signs of being on a downtrend, so I’m not surprised. Burger-lovers, Circa still does a great job. The Cask across the street still kills it. Wish for the best.

  • golfer December 5, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    Junctionite, I believe Celtic Swell on Alki had Hale’s Cream Ale last time I was there.

  • JeffS December 5, 2011 (12:43 pm)

    We had a terrible experience with our to-go order on Friday night (12/02/2011). Both our ordered “Medium Rare” burgers came “Well Done” and my bacon burger came without bacon. The fries were greasy and tasteless. I called to complain and ended my call with; “if you call yourselves a gastropub but you can’t do a burger right, you have no business being in business”. I swear I didn’t mean for them to close 2 nights later…

    The bad thing is, I always loved their beer selection…I honestly wanted them to do well in this space after Blackbird closed. I hope the next place does better.

  • Westseattlemom December 5, 2011 (12:51 pm)

    I’m sad to see this place go. Although, I was sadder when the menu changed and they took out all the booths facing the street. My husband and I loved the original menu and had our favorite booth, & loved the Cobb salad. We considered it our got to place; until the bad menu make over! Can someone reopen it as it was before the menu change?

  • NFiorentini December 5, 2011 (2:08 pm)

    DonS-Perhaps I’ll give The Cask a try, but my experience with the customer service at Circa was not good. We went there during lunch about eight months ago and, after being seated, it took 20 minutes for the ONE waitress to take our order and another 45+ minutes to get our food, which I don’t recall as anything special. I haven’t been back since. And I don’t remember Circa’s beer selection or even if they have one.

  • Guy December 5, 2011 (2:08 pm)

    I heard over the weekend that they were closing. I went in for a beer or three a few times. I’m an avid Admiral Junction fan, and I love the diversity. I’m sorry to hear it closed. You gotta listen to your employees, they have a better barometer on things than you might think.

  • Sara December 5, 2011 (2:09 pm)

    So sad to see any local business. To the owners and employees good luck with your future endeavors! I have always had a wonderful experience with your food, beer, and staff! Best of luck!

  • Todd December 5, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    Not glad to see a local small business close, but we had similar experiences to some of the posts above. They had a great beer selection and a dedicated buyer who went to local festivals and breweries and I always thought the bar needed to be much bigger (often hard to find a seat).
    I’m dating myself a bit, but it used to be the Admiral Theater was packed and showing first-run movies and the Caddyshack Tavern was always busy as well (it was where Mission is now, I think)! The nightlife is much more diverse now, but I think sometimes when there’s so many options, no one place can stay really busy (?)
    We went to a movie at the Admiral on Friday and ! you can buy a beer and sit in a special section! So cool! Problem – only 6 people in the theater. Then, afterward, went to pop into Porterhouse and the bar was full (which meant 10 people) so we headed across to Cask. Luckily, they decided to stay open just for us – they were about to close at 11:30 pm (no customers).
    I hope all of the businesses survive – let’s get out and support ’em!

  • karen December 5, 2011 (4:52 pm)

    Agreed that another failure in that location is a loss for our neighborhood. We have really hoped that someone would try a simple steak house format. We were encouraged by the name Porterhouse – but one visit and one experience with thier menu was enough for us. We still remember when Jak’s started in the Admiral Junction :)

  • Kristine December 5, 2011 (6:26 pm)

    I’m surprised to read all the negative comments. I live in the area and have been to Porterhouse many times. I’ve always had a good experience. The staff was friendly and attentive, the food was good, and the beer selection fantastic. A big loss for the neighborhood!

  • Ryan December 5, 2011 (6:34 pm)

    Porterhouse was in reference to porter styled beer, not porterhouse steaks. It was meant to be a gastropub with a large beer selection, not a steakhouse.

  • bleeblah December 5, 2011 (9:07 pm)

    We LOVE the steak salad at Circa and other items on the menu bring us back time after time — I have an out of town friend who always wants to go to Circa when she’s in town to eat the steak salad and chocolate cake. Blackbird and Porterhouse never cut it for me or my husband.

  • Jehu December 5, 2011 (9:49 pm)

    Sorry to hear they closed, but I’m not surprised. The tap selection and staff were wonderful and the food started out great. Unfortunately food quality continually declined while prices increased and I found myself eating there less and less. I was still rooting for them and hoping they could turn things around. I hope the staff lands on their feet soon.

  • MaryCooks December 6, 2011 (11:11 am)

    Aw, man. I read the blog every day but somehow missed this. I’m sorry to see this happen. It’s freaking tough to operate a restaurant right now.

  • Missy December 6, 2011 (12:59 pm)

    Not a surprise at all! Once Libby was bought out and Greg was let go…the place went to $h!+. THEN they changed their menu.And on top of all that, the staff pretty much sucked after Greg and Libby left…with the exception of a couple.

  • KA December 7, 2011 (7:05 am)

    Please Circa don’t move to the PH space. It has had a serious ventilation problem that has continued since the Italian place way back when. Eat there and you are guaranteed to come out smelling like the restaurant kitchen–and not in a good way! A Circa regular.

  • Micah December 7, 2011 (5:06 pm)

    Sad to hear about a restaurant closing, no matter whether we loved them or not. Must be heart breaking for the owners. Going through such a tough time and on top of that, people coming out of the woodwork and bashing on the place. Wish I had tried their burger. My fav burger in West Seattle is at The Bridge. Have never been disappointed by the food or service there. Had great service the one time we went to the P-house, but never had a chance to try their food. Circa moving there would be great! More room!

  • Bunnyfer December 7, 2011 (6:29 pm)

    It’s too bad the owners didn’t realize that West Seattlites are willing to pay for really good food and a great experience. After they changed the menu the first time, our server told us to Yelp it, that the owners would respond to their Yelp score. We did that, and they brought back the lamb burgers, but started cutting back on portions, quality of product, and service. Unfortunately they put profits and prices above their quality, and it showed with the loss of customers. May that be a lesson to other restauranteurs.

  • Joe December 7, 2011 (7:42 pm)

    Any chance anyone knows what they will do with their stuff? Would love to pick up one of their neon signs if auctioned.

  • diane December 8, 2011 (8:03 pm)

    I can’t feel sorry for a restaurant if the food is not great. Too much competition for mediocrity. Furthermore Circa is OK. Always smells of bleached cleaning rags when we go and the menu is o.k. I would love to see some restaurants the caliber of those opening in Ballard. Hey, I’d be thrilled with just a Red Mill Burger joint!

  • Paul December 9, 2011 (6:24 pm)

    We loved it before the renovation. After it was terrible, with a lousy service. Suddenly they were getting one stars on yelp.

  • george December 13, 2011 (10:50 pm)

    Oh yeah, we definitely need more Ballard here.

  • JG January 3, 2012 (2:15 pm)

    We knew they were in trouble when my wife ordered an Irish Coffee and they brought a cup of coffee and glass of Baileys to the table.

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