West Seattle restaurants: Blackboard Bistro for sale

Blackboard Bistro chef/owner Jacob Wiegner confirms his restaurant at 3247 California SW is for sale. The listing’s been online at least a few weeks at websites including commercialmls.com and Craigslist, where a few WSB’ers noticed it (and where the listing says “Seller training available, or seller may stay on as chef”). We contacted Wiegner to ask if he had any comment, and he replied simply, “At this time we can confirm that we are on the market, but that we are business as usual.” Blackboard Bistro opened almost two years ago, in a space that has proven a challenge in recent years – even the original BB-is-opening news release alluded to that – the restaurant that preceded it in the space, Eness, lasted only a few months; it followed Beato, which was there almost two years. But again, BB’s owner says his restaurant will remain open.

30 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: Blackboard Bistro for sale"

  • NW Momma July 6, 2012 (12:53 pm)

    Dang! I was worried about this. I was hoping the old bohemian would open soon to get some more dinner traffic in the area.

  • Nick July 6, 2012 (12:59 pm)

    I think there food is really original a bit pricey but I thought it was a good place

  • Diane July 6, 2012 (1:00 pm)

    Jacob and his “Blackboard Bistro” were featured on “Check Please NW”, last Sunday, July 1, on pbs, ch 9; they review 3 local restaurants each week

  • Matthew July 6, 2012 (1:07 pm)

    In my opinion Jacob is an amazing Chef and Blackboard Bistro is one of my favorite Restaurants in Seattle. We recently took our Parents from out of town there, they have eaten food all over the world and they were impressed with the food, service, etc. I hope it all works out. Hate to see this place go away or for Jacob to go away.

  • vraxvalhalla July 6, 2012 (1:18 pm)

    Isn’t WSB being a tad bit nosey here? Sounds like you put the guy on the spot at the risk of hurting his business even more.

    • WSB July 6, 2012 (1:35 pm)

      Vrax – Asking a business owner for comment on something they have announced publicly – Craigslist in particular is the equivalent of putting up a big neon sign – is not “nosy,” unless you consider news in general to be nosy (during 30-plus years in journalism, we’ve certainly run into a few people who feel that way). We check the commercial listings multiple times a week, as do other journalists who cover business at the neighborhood, city, and regional levels. Some businesses choose to list without identifying themselves, and we don’t usually pursue those, though it’s often pretty simple to make an ID. If anything, we have heard from people who say they wish they had known sooner that something might change at their favorite business/restaurant/whatever, so they could have shown their support (although there are also those who point out “if you love a place, just keep going to it, don’t wait for a reason”) … TR

  • coffee July 6, 2012 (1:36 pm)

    vraxvalhalla, no, if its publicly listed, it is mainly a story to explain what is happening. I suspect the blog was contacted by people who saw the listing asking if they knew anything. I know I have forwarded things like that in the past because I was wondering about what ever was for sale or changing.

  • rw July 6, 2012 (1:37 pm)

    We really enjoy Blackboard Bistro and have never considered them overpriced for what they offer. Offering their level of quality at a reasonable price in a small-to-moderate-sized space and maintaining healthy profitability would be a fair challenge. They’ve been making a go of it for two years now, which is a real credit to Jacob, his wife, and their team. They are extremely talented and don’t necessarily need the overhead or headaches of running their own place. I wish them, and whoever assumes control of Blackboard Bistro, well.

    By the way, what is happening with the Bohemian replacement?

  • Anne July 6, 2012 (1:37 pm)

    Nosey-really? The listing has been online for a few weeks-trying to get some more information from the person with the correct details is exactly what I would expect WSB to do. Maybe it will encourage all those that already love Blackboard & those that have been meaning to try it-to patronize it as much as possible.I also saw the segment on ..Check Please.. & planned on a visit-now I will get there asap!
    Thanks WSB!

  • sna July 6, 2012 (1:40 pm)

    Too bad it can’t relocate to the old Porterhouse location.

  • Marie M July 6, 2012 (1:58 pm)

    I’ve eaten at Blackboard Bistro and love the food – wonderful combinations of flavor! Everything is fresh, well prepared and presented beautifully. When I’ve brought friends there for dinner, they’ve raved about their meals. The service is great, too. I hope they can stay in business.

  • NotMe July 6, 2012 (2:10 pm)

    Holy Moly… that is one very expensive space! Maybe instead of trying to sell it, the chef/owner should re-negotiate his lease!

  • margaritaville July 6, 2012 (2:28 pm)

    Understand the kitchen is small – though they still manage to serve some fabulous food. Unfortunately, we’ve noticed a disconnect between front of the house and back of the house – the food is usually yummy but the service doesn’t back it up. Perhaps it’s just too diffult to sustain a quality restaurant with only 50 seats and no guest parking. I wish them well.
    As for being an expensive space, most rental space is expensive and Blackboard Bistro must charge accordingly.

  • Irukandji July 6, 2012 (2:31 pm)


  • mrsmoy July 6, 2012 (2:45 pm)

    I sincerely hope that Blackboard Bistro will remain open. I love the restaurant and its creative and delicious food. I do not feel that it is overpriced when compared with other restaurants of its caliber.

  • squareeyes July 6, 2012 (2:52 pm)

    Oh man, this is so sad, we were just there on Tuesday for another fabulous meal, and it was a full house. Best of luck to Jacob and family. Such a creative, talented chef!

  • T July 6, 2012 (3:06 pm)

    We absolutely love Jacob and his team. WS needs more restaurants and talented chefs like this. The food is super creative…the combinations create umami in every bite. The menu items rotate regularly with what’s fresh, so it never gets boring. The prices are generous, frankly too low for the level of quality Jacob produces on every plate. It would be a real shame to lose him in WS. People, support our talented, small restaurants as regularly as possible…this is what makes WS and our neighborhoods so wonderful!

  • JS July 6, 2012 (4:37 pm)

    NO!!! This is terrible news! Their food is amazing! I hope they can work something out. It would be a HUGE loss for us “foodies” in W Seattle.

  • NotMe July 6, 2012 (5:04 pm)

    The spaces in the Junction aren’t this high. Nearly $5k per month is way too high for this area. I don’t know how he keeps the prices as low as he does.

  • dawsonct July 6, 2012 (6:18 pm)

    Folks, eating OUT is expensive. Sure, you can fill your tank on dollar menu mystery meat, but you won’t live long, and you won’t live well. Dining out SHOULD be an indulgence, you SHOULD enjoy having a dedicated professional prepare and serve your meal every once in a while. It is relaxing and gratifying to be served good food in a well run restaurant, but unless you are a very wealthy individual, it doesn’t make sense to complain about a restaurant experience being “too expensive.” I can understand if the food doesn’t meet expectations, but know what you are getting into. If someone is coming to your table and taking your order and pouring your drinks for you (serving), and the chef or their sous is in the kitchen cooking from scratch, and you aren’t sitting in a national chain, then you should expect to pay more than if you made it at home, or are having a fast-food facsimile of the real thing.
    The fact is, what Jacob and his crew do at BB is really very impressive, and I’ve never had problems with the service. My bill average, including a beer for menu browsing, food, split bottle of wine, tax, and tip (I can’t eat dinner and dessert at the same time. This place is worth a dedicated dessert visit, though) is always around $50, which is fine for me on occasion, but certainly not sustainable if I were to try to eat there every night.
    Sorry about the rant, I just get tired of hearing people complain about prices when they have absolutely NO idea what we in the culinary profession are doing for them so they won’t have to break a sweat, or wash a single dish. If all you do is look at the prices, stay home. You aren’t doing us a favor with your business or your opinion.

  • West Seattle Since 1979 July 6, 2012 (6:35 pm)

    dawsonct, I think only one person mentioned that it was ‘a bit pricey”. The others were commenting on the rent being really high in that space, not that the restaurant charged too much. At least one person said that they didn’t know how he kept his prices as low as they are when he has to pay such a high rent.

    Anyway, it’s really a shame that he’s having to sell.

  • KatieK July 6, 2012 (7:07 pm)

    What a terrible piece of news! This is my favorite restaurant! I have really enjoyed the delicious and innovative food and personal service. We went usually around birthdays and anniversarys and it was the perfect relaxed unpretentious place! Sorry to see you go!

  • FabulousEm July 6, 2012 (7:10 pm)

    Blackboard is quite simply the best restaurant in West Seattle. Maybe the whole city. I’ve never had such creative food, things I would have never thought to put together, but now want to eat all the time.

    I hope this all works out for them.

    Side note, Chef Jacob should go on Chopped.

  • Mary July 6, 2012 (8:39 pm)

    Wah! We were just in last week for a “damn, we’ve dealt with plumbing, let’s have a decent meal” outing and talking about how much we like that Blackboard is in the neighborhood. It’s a nice place to take out of town guests to impress them, too. I join those hoping that they don’t go under and also thinking that we’ll have to try to make it there more often.

  • Chelsea July 6, 2012 (9:22 pm)

    I echo the ‘NOOoooooo!’

    Blackboard Bistro has been amazing every time we’ve been. I love that they are in the neighborhood. And now I am motivated to go again soon before it changes hands! I hope lots of other people are too.

  • grr July 7, 2012 (7:03 am)

    BB is our GoTo for any time we need adult food and a great night. We’ve always thought they’d be better off in the Junction or up on Cap Hill, but thought it was less expensive where they are.. wow. We’ll continue to support them as long as they’re open, and whereever else they may end up!! Chef Jacob is brilliant.

  • seattlej July 7, 2012 (9:29 am)

    I’ve been hearing the rumours, sad to see them confirmed. Jacob is an outstanding chef and the place is so warm and friendly.

  • seattlej July 7, 2012 (9:30 am)

    Dawson – I think you’re preaching to the choir here.

  • Kat July 9, 2012 (3:18 am)

    Wow! I just ate there last night for the first time and had no clue. The service was great and the food was creative and fantastic. Weather was perfect for outside dining. Found out that inside would have been nice too, when I went to the restroom. I think BB’s location makes it easy to just pass by and forget about it. I had been doing that for two years! My recent purchase of a Bloomsot deal helped me remember to try it out. So glad I did and so glad I found out about the sale. I will be dining there again real soon. Everyone else should too.

  • westendgirl July 9, 2012 (3:05 pm)

    Keep in mind that a business can be on the market for many months, even years in this economy. Seeing a restaurant listed for sale doesn’t mean it’s all over, it can happen for numerous reasons (partnership relationships change, owners may just be curious to see if there’s buyers out there, etc). Also, I’ve seen at least two restaurants on the market within the last year where the owner changed their mind and decided to make another go of it. You never know.

    “Seller may stay on as chef.” Blackboard might not go away but just have new money coming in (not all owners are hands on after all) to keep it afloat.

    My point in posting all this is to echo what others have said…if you love the place go support them soon. Even if they do change hands eventually, steady business will help them out a lot in that process! The reason so many places list anonymously is because customers sometimes tend to avoid places with that whiff of “failure,” whether it is warranted or not (and also not to panic their staff, see my “sometimes it can take years” comment above).

    All that said I will have to prioritize a trip to Blackboard since I’ve never been there, it sounds like everyone loves the food so I better give it a try! Usually these kind of postings bring out the haters so it’s even more impressive! :)

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