West Seattle restaurants: Athena’s taking over ex-Zippy’s space

By Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

The foreclosure more than a year ago of the Seamart building in Highland Park had neighborhood folks wondering whether this “food desert” area would ever again see the life-giving sustenance and high-voltage energy of the previous tenants Zippy’s Giant Burgers (WSB sponsor) – since owners Blaine and Rahel Cook ended up moving to a larger space in White Center.

A bank took over the property at 16th/Holden, and for the year-plus since, anxious eyes have kept watch, wondering, hoping, waiting. Then, last weekend, eagle-eyed tipsters scrambled to let WSB know that apparent tenants were actively on site, so, we were asked, WHAT did we know? We dashed over and were lucky to meet one of two future tenants who will split a three-way triple-net on the property: Athena’s owner Nick Parisi.

Nick, his wife, and their two kids are Highland Park residents, and are stepping up to bat at the charmed former Zippy’s location to bring his road-proven, Greek-themed venture home to the people of West Seattle and beyond – and you will be able to get food there sooner than you think.

He and his wife’s family have years of restaurant and food experience, Nick says, but most recently, he is the owner of Athena’s Gyros food truck. You might have spotted them around town at regional biking events, or at food booths for Bumbershoot or Folklife Festival. His wife’s family also has a number of Korean soup shops around the area, so they are all busy food entrepreneurs in this clan. Nick is excited about getting the Highland Park shop built out and running, hopefully around April 15. He is also equally excited about the emerging food truck industry in Seattle and the opportunities there. “Summers are extremely crazy for us, so I want to get this place up and running before the season begins, “ he explains.

The Greek-themed menu for the brick and mortar shop (which will also serve as the commissary for their truck) will include gyros – lamb and field roast, amongst others – falafel, burgers, gelato AND soft serve. “It’s good food. It is going to be a good restaurant,” Nick said with a big smile. “This is a good neighborhood; we see the growth happening here. I love to think about people walking down here and hanging out this summer eating some gelato here on our benches. I hope we are [loved on] on here.”

Just so you know, prices will be in the $5-$10 range, but there’s no need to wait until the April 15 grand opening to check it out, because their food truck will be open for business at the site this Friday, February 17 at 1:00 PM and every day thereafter from 1:00 – 8:00 PM, if all goes according to a slightly uncertain schedule.

The hard-working truck, a custom-design of efficiency in falafel vending, is at the time of publication in the masterful hands of Glenn Case. He is the muralist for both Easy Street Records stores and many other well-loved West Seattle windows and walls. Nick says the art Glenn is creating on the truck panels is “insane”, depicting the epic contest between Athena and Poseidon for the patronage of the city-state of Athens. For those of you who might have slept through Greek mythology classes, this is the competition ordained by the gods, wherein Athena impressed the judges by planting an olive tree and Poseidon had a major fail by merely providing salty water to the city. The wonders of olive oil and olive branches defeated salty water and so Athena won and the city was named after her; and, she got the Acropolis too, but that’s another story. Nick says he may have to ask Glenn to do another wall mural down the road, but for now, it’s all about the truck, the build-out, and the opening.

When the truck arrives in Highland Park, we’ll check it out and let you know when they are customer-ready. Nick says a website should be up by the Grand Opening.

Meantime, as for the rest of the space, a new grocery store business will be taking over; Nick tells us the owners (who we’re still working to contact) are also very experienced in the convenience-store business and will be specializing in Northwest beers. He thinks they will likely be opening up sometime in the next couple of months. He also mentioned that the owner might be looking for the third and final enterprise – perhaps a coffee stand in the former Jojo’s slot – and that the entire parking lot will be resurfaced, as well as other building improvements. More to come as this all unfolds!

30 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: Athena's taking over ex-Zippy's space"

  • datamuse February 14, 2012 (4:46 pm)

    A Greek place in my own neighborhood? OH YES PLEASE.

  • Debbie February 14, 2012 (4:58 pm)

    Wooohooo! Great Valentine’s Day news. I live 2 blocks from there, and the 7-11 food just wasn’t cutting it for super close.

  • cjp February 14, 2012 (5:02 pm)

    Fantastic news! Not just food, but actually worthwhile and interesting food for our neighborhood. Wonderful!

  • Seattle February 14, 2012 (5:16 pm)

    Love this! Can’t wait to go and support them.

  • Todd February 14, 2012 (5:26 pm)

    So good to hear!

  • BigRed February 14, 2012 (5:26 pm)

    Stoked!! Can’t wait to check them out!

  • westsidemegan February 14, 2012 (5:33 pm)

    I am so happy to hear all the busy work on this place lately is a sign that our little neighborhood is getting something new in this spot. I very much miss Zippy’s, JoJo’s and the Cloe’s. But this will be fantastic! ;-} Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • bertha February 14, 2012 (5:54 pm)

    Yess! Gyros in my ‘hood.

  • SeattleFoodTruck.com February 14, 2012 (6:28 pm)

    Wow! Saw them at the Seattle Center Mobile Feast but didn’t know they were regularly on the streets. Will be great to have another food truck in the hood (oh, and the brick and mortar)!

  • CandrewB February 14, 2012 (6:56 pm)

    Food desertish more like. You may have over looked the Alhadeff Grill located in central SSCC just up the road. It’s open to the public (at least for lunch, not sure about dinner)as a training instrument for finer dining under SSCC’s Culinary Program. http://www.southseattle.edu/alhadeffgrill/

  • HPMom February 14, 2012 (7:14 pm)

    Can’t Wait.

  • West Seattle edge February 14, 2012 (8:50 pm)

    Happy Valentines day West Seattle

  • SpeakLoud February 14, 2012 (9:17 pm)

    Shhhhhhhh don’t tell anyone-there’ll be no parking and then they will ‘move to a bigger spot’. Lets keep it our little secret!!!!!

  • Tinka February 14, 2012 (9:20 pm)

    This sounds great. Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • AJP February 14, 2012 (10:12 pm)

    Fantastic! I’ve had Greek cravings lately and it seems I always have to drive a while to get me some. Yum yum! I didn’t know about the Alhadeff Grill, that’s a great tip! Looks like good food at very good prices.

  • Hilari February 15, 2012 (5:37 am)

    We are so excited! This is just what our neighborhood needs!

  • rmp February 15, 2012 (8:35 am)

    So excited!!!

  • Jill February 15, 2012 (8:58 am)

    Finally! I was really hoping someone would take on that space and sell food. That area gets so much traffic going b… and I believe if you build it, they will come! Our family lives on 14th SW and can’t wait to have gyros within walking distance! Thank you Nick and family!!

  • MaryCooks February 15, 2012 (9:35 am)

    Hooray! I’m really excited! Love gyros and it sounds like there are going to be assume exciting things happening there.

  • HP Rez February 15, 2012 (10:41 am)

    Hip Hip Hooray from 12th SW! I love the fact that the owners live in the area as well.

  • highlandpark February 15, 2012 (11:31 am)

    This is fantastic news. Especially great that experienced business owners are going in. My husband will be excited to once again have a good selection of beers to buy at that location. Seamart had so many that 7-11 doesn’t carry.

  • nomothetes February 15, 2012 (12:48 pm)

    full double gyros!!! Friday can’t come soon enough. And a more convenient stop for beer. I just hope they don’t limit the beer to just NW. There are so many good beers out there. I’m hoping for a mini version of super deli mart.

  • Christine February 16, 2012 (12:38 pm)

    I am looking for work, are you hiring?

  • William February 16, 2012 (2:24 pm)

    Yes authentic Greek food in West Seattle!!!!!

  • Rockhills February 17, 2012 (4:56 pm)


  • Luap February 18, 2012 (11:05 am)

    Super Excited, but a 1pm open time for the preview seems strange.

  • Forest February 18, 2012 (6:29 pm)

    We veered into the parking lot when we saw they were open tonight! Really glad to see them taking over this spot. It was really good food…can’t wait for the gelato! Cheers!

  • Cascadianone February 20, 2012 (7:10 pm)

    Just had a delicious lamb gyro, very tasty! I will return soon, only next time I will bring friends. :D It’s cash only right now, so hit the ATM before you go!

  • Juan February 22, 2012 (1:54 pm)

    Just had the food it was okay. There were was very little meat in my gyro. Charge me another dollar or two to make sure there is enough meat in it. By the way they only take cash.

  • Jenni Watkins February 29, 2012 (7:23 am)

    Had a lamb gyro opening night, little sad to open it up once home. It had a tiny piece of feta cheese or what may have been tzaziki sauce and chunks of lamb vs the slices of lamb off that yummy twirling magic meat most gyro places serve. I will give Athenas more chances since I believe in supporting local business. Hope they step up to feedback

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