West Seattle restaurants: Cassis closes on Alki

ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:57 AM: After almost 2 years, the bistro Cassis has suddenly closed on Alki. Thanks to those who messaged us with tips about this, learning of the closure while trying this morning to reach the restaurant for dinner reservations. Here’s the message on the front page of the restaurant’s website:

Cassis Closes For Now.

Dear beloved patrons, due to unexpected events – we have closed our doors after service, Friday, December 18. We will see you soon in a new location.

We just talked briefly to proprietor Jef Fike, who confirmed his restaurant is closed and will not be reopening in West Seattle.

Cassis’s opening at 2820 Alki SW in February 2014 generated much excitement, as the revival of a popular bistro Fike had operated on Capitol Hill almost a decade earlier. He had just sent a newsletter to patrons a few weeks ago, saying he planned to take a holiday vacation this year for the first time in eight years, but said in the newsletter that he would be leaving the restaurant in the hands of his staff. Then this morning, readers alerted us to the closure news they had discovered while seeking reservations.

Before Cassis, the space had been “temporary” home to the Alki Arts gallery/event space (now located downtown) for three years; for two years in 2007-2009, All The Best Pet Care preceded the gallery.

1:21 PM UPDATE: New twist: We received a call from a man identifying himself as Andy Dekle, Cassis’s chef, saying he’s a member of the ownership group and that this is a “temporary” closure resulting from a “disagreement” and that he plans to reopen in this space and is hoping to do so by New Year’s Eve. We pointed out that when we stopped by Cassis to confirm the closure with Fike this morning, things were being boxed up and moved out. He said he’s aware of that. Stay tuned.

44 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: Cassis closes on Alki "

  • Gini Johnson December 19, 2015 (12:05 pm)

    The news makes me so sad. I go often, I buy gift certificates for friends and clients and have 2 in my wallet right now! Boo, huge loss for West Seattle. The food was so wonderful.

  • Junctionite December 19, 2015 (12:14 pm)

    Received an email yesterday from Open Table that our New Years Eve reservation had been cancelled by the restaurant, so I called the restaurant an they told me, no that this was only a computer glitch, that our reservation was still valid. Nobody knew the restaurant was closing, WTF??? Sounds like a poorly managed operation that failed!

  • Bea December 19, 2015 (12:18 pm)

    When will somebody open a Chinese or Korean restaurant on Alki? That would be a sure money maker year round.

  • Dawn December 19, 2015 (12:21 pm)

    No. Way. Why??? I don’t get it. : (

  • Wooldle December 19, 2015 (12:32 pm)

    I’m kind of not surprised. I live a block away and made reservations via opentable one night. There was a technical issue where it never actually went through to the restaurant but I had the confirmation. It was a really early reservation and the restaurant was EMPTY. I was a party of 2, not a huge group that would push any kitchen over the top in a pinch and we had someplace to be in an hour anyway. The manager/ owner (?) made a huge deal about not being able to seat us. I told him our time constraints and said we would sit anywhere and willing to leave as soon as the restaurant filled up and the table was needed. After 15 minutes of bargaining, even with the reservation confirmation, he sat us at a sidewalk table. The entire hour we were there, only one person walked in. Making the restaurant *full* by his standards at 3 guests. The server and food were outstanding so I was willing to try it again but it was severely mismanaged on this particular day. Hope he finds luck in his new location and hoping a sushi or lighter fare option takes over the space! Enough Mexican, pizza, fried fish and burgers in a 3 block strip on the beach!

  • Maris December 19, 2015 (12:40 pm)

    My neighborhood quality of life just took a small hit. :-(

  • Heath December 19, 2015 (1:01 pm)

    Not surprising. It was underwhelming when I dined there. To be honest, that’s not the type of place that will thrive at Alki. Alki is, for the most part, young people, families, joggers, mommies with strollers, cyclists and people on motorcycles. An upper end art gallery didn’t make it there either. Whatever business is there needs to target the right audience for that market. Having lived there for quite a while winter is tough, the potential customers goes way down. Even Alki Bakery gave up and the space that Top Pot leased was vacant forever. The economics of Alki are not easy.

  • Nw mama December 19, 2015 (1:43 pm)

    Love cassis! Hope it reopens soon!!! Great food and happy hour. Perfect escape from the little tots.

  • Diane December 19, 2015 (1:44 pm)

    yep, Alki Arts is doing fabulous in their prime downtown location, just as they did during their 3 yr temp lease on Alki
    Heath; Alki is NOT just “young people”; there are many many many older people who have lived there for decades; and have a sh-t-load of money

  • JanS December 19, 2015 (1:50 pm)

    sounds like internal drama…:-\

  • Foodie December 19, 2015 (1:51 pm)

    Disappointing news. We enjoyed their food. I hope they re-open soon. If there is any menu change, I hope they keep the steak frites.

  • Kathleen December 19, 2015 (1:56 pm)

    I love you Diane! I miss the Alki parent happy hours you used to do and need to come visit you in your new downtown location!

    • WSB December 19, 2015 (2:02 pm)

      FYI – While we don’t usually comment on commenters’ identities, because of the proximity to the topic here, I feel I should note that commenter Diane in this thread is *not* Diane Venti, owner of Alki Arts. Not that she was purporting to be, but just to try to keep things clear. – Tracy

  • Drew December 19, 2015 (2:02 pm)

    Please stay open Cassis! You’re one of only a handful of West Seattle restaurants for those of us who aren’t satisfied with burgers and fish and chips.

  • Diane December 19, 2015 (2:09 pm)

    ha ha ha; yep; Diane Venti and me (Diane Vincent) have often been confused; I am a HUGE fan of Diane Venti and Alki Arts; another local news (paper) even once posted a photo of me with “Diane Venti” in the caption; hilarious

  • Steve December 19, 2015 (2:47 pm)

    Ate at Cassis three times and was underwhelmed by the menu. Service was good but ventilation in the kitchen was poor. I agree…it is not a good fit for Alki Beach. Many places struggle on Alki except perhaps Dukes, Pegasus, Spuds and Cactus. Always wonder why Sunfish doesn’t clean Spud’s clock…so much better food! A nice Asian/Thai place would go over well in the Cassis space.

  • onion December 19, 2015 (3:38 pm)

    We ate at Cassis once, and with anticipation on a special occasion. The food was good but the owner’s brusque manner almost ruined the evening. There are a lot of excellent restaurants, so my repeat business goes to those whose attitude matches the quality of the food.

  • Kiliv December 19, 2015 (4:05 pm)

    Cassis is one of our favorites! Quick! Hurry! Open again!
    We will be missing you! Fab food, wonderful wine, and the Alki Fog!
    Always had excellent service too!

  • Peter December 19, 2015 (5:14 pm)

    Same chef will get my baby business if he keeps it open. Excellent food and service. But weird there are apparently disputes. It seemed very we’ll run.

  • Ryan Caple December 19, 2015 (6:50 pm)

    I hear that the restaurant next door, Cactus, is pretty delicious??!! Awesome bartender on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights ☺️. Oh wait, that’s me. I hope Cassis reopens soon! I’m a big fan of everyone that works there. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  • Kathy December 19, 2015 (8:29 pm)

    I think the menu could be written a little more appealingly. Appetizer – Macrina Bread? I can buy that at the local grocery or the Macrina Bakery on 1st in SODO and serve it at home. Delicious, sure, but I expect something a little more special when studying a menu to decide whether or not to patronize a restaurant.

    A little off topic: I am wondering if Alki could use a business like Beveridge Place. A dog friendly pub that doesn’t serve food but you can order delivery brought in from other restaurants. I think it would draw a lot of business because there are so many dog walkers on Alki that might become customers if they knew they could bring their dog inside. Maybe Alki has too many dogs for this and it would be overwhelmed. Not sure if zoning would allow it on Alki. But it works great at Beveridge Place.

  • HF December 19, 2015 (8:39 pm)

    Any word about why the police were there tonight about 7ish? Saw 3 police vehicles with lights going and a group of people standing talking to the police outside Cassis

    • WSB December 19, 2015 (8:51 pm)

      Someone texted us about that; nothing was on the scanner, so we headed to Alki, but no police in sight when we got there, so we have no idea what that was, nor even if it actually had anything to do with Cassis, which was closed & dark, no sign. – Tracy

  • Kathy December 19, 2015 (9:05 pm)

    The last meal I had at Cactus was not at all delicious, a bland fish taco with dry fish, I have had better at fast food restaurants. I am always surprised when I see Cactus packed, but I don’t buy mixed drinks. If Ryan is a great bartender, that could be the draw. It does have a lovely location, plenty of room for groups, and a nice ambiance and outdoor seating area.

  • Heather December 19, 2015 (9:27 pm)

    Hope things get sorted out. I had special memories there with my son. Service and food were always excellent.

  • Forget it December 19, 2015 (11:01 pm)

    We need a place like Cassis if they can figure out good service. And sorry, but Cactus is terrible for food. Drinks good, food bad. Not a hater on the place, really like the ambiance, but anybody that’s had decent Mexican knows this is a 3 or 4. Love me some guac at happy hour though.

  • Susan December 19, 2015 (11:12 pm)

    The owner was extremely rude the 3 times we dined there. We went back multiple times hoping it was just an off night the first time.

  • Kim December 20, 2015 (8:47 am)

    I, too, thought Cactus was second-rate. We were so excited when Cassis opened: bistro food in the neighborhood. And, sometimes Cassis got it right. The octopus was amazing, the mussels–yes! My daughter loved the pommes frites. And, sometimes, not. And, I let the owner know, because we really wanted to have this restaurant option in the neighborhood. And he was very welcoming of my comments. Not another bar, hang-out, fast-food. Elegance! That said, we ended up at Cactus last night, and it was really good. It is not a Mexican food restaurant, but it plays with the idea of being Southwest. Whatever. I’ve come to accept that it is what it is: a warm, convivial atmosphere in a chain restaurant where the chef is as creative as he can be. So, please bring back Cassis for its simple elegance, and Cactus naysayers should sample a few things on the special menu there, forgetting the authentic cuisine of Mexico.

  • Lisa S. December 20, 2015 (11:09 am)

    I wanted this place to succeed so much. I’ve been a frequent patron since they opened. I did finally give up trying to have food there due to the manager’s attitude. Even when all tables were empty he would not offer a seat for dinner. I’m not sure why he was saving them, most of the time they were still empty when I left 2 hours later. I recommended the place to many friends and neighbors and they had the same experience. I hope when they re-open that the service is warmer and more welcoming. Alki needs a casual elegant atmosphere like this. As a resident, I appreciated this option very much.

  • Ray West December 20, 2015 (11:54 am)

    Ate there once with a friend. We did not have reservations, but management was very friedly and accommodating and seated us and without any problems. The chef even stopped by to chat. I thought the food was good but on the expensive side and the menu rather limited, so not a place that I would frequent often. Hope the revived version is able to improve upon what was there and make a go of it.

  • captainDave December 20, 2015 (9:41 pm)

    I don’t know what the reason is for the closure, but most people have no idea how difficult it is to run a small business in Seattle. Sans some catastrophic event, sudden closures often indicate their was no profit in the enterprise–otherwise they would be looking for new owners. The Mayor just signed new Seattle labor standards into law on Thursday, maybe there was something in it that was the last straw for the owner? I would not be surprised.

  • beachboy December 21, 2015 (6:49 am)

    @Steve (several comments ago): Why doesn’t Sunfish clean Spud’s clock? Good question, I can think of a few reasons (why Spuds does well):
    1) Good fish & chips (most of the time; sometimes the breading’s a bit salty)
    2) Private parking lot
    3) Takes credit cards (Sunfish is cash only)

    This isn’t meant to be a kick on Sunfish; I like both. The only critique I have of Sunfish (besides the ‘cash only’ policy) is that the folks behind the counter seem a little brusque sometimes, especially if you dawdle at all while ordering (kind of like the Soup Nazi).

    But there is definitely room on Alki for two chippies, maybe even a third.

  • M. P. December 21, 2015 (4:37 pm)

    Food and service always wonderful.Please stay on Alki.It’s our favorite

  • Susan December 21, 2015 (5:36 pm)

    I’m not shedding any tears. I was thrilled when I first heard they were coming, but after they opened I found the menu really limited, overpriced and a bit precious. And I lived in France for a year. Also the attitude of the manager, not seating people at open tables when nobody else comes in for hours, that just doesn’t play well in West Seattle. Cactus is consistently packed, because they have great drinks, service, ambience and for the most part food, at prices that don’t break the bank. I’ve rarely been disappointed there, my expectation isn’t a 4* authentic Mexican restaurant.

  • John December 21, 2015 (11:46 pm)

    Susan – I’m curious, what did you find “precious” about their menu?

  • Nancy December 22, 2015 (9:53 am)

    Their food was great! There aren’t too many “foodie” restaurants in W Seattle and this was/is one of them! Fresh Bistro is another…
    Please come back Cassis!

  • Alkid December 22, 2015 (10:17 pm)

    Food was good but the owner was strange and brusque. Never returned.

  • David and Tom December 24, 2015 (5:17 pm)

    Not surprising to us. The owner / manager (Jeff) was condescending and I hate to say…quite the snob. He had a tendency to provide snide remarks about his patrons. The food was good, never great or memorable. This is the beach folks, “haute cuisine” is not the order of the day. Running a small business is hard, but if you are unwelcoming and not flexible you are making it harder.

  • Annabelle December 27, 2015 (6:47 am)

    Hang tight. It is reopening with a new name but the same great chef and staff and they’re excited! Look for an even better dining experience. For those of you who loved the food but had bad experiences with the former owner, be sure to give this place another shot!

  • MFW December 28, 2015 (11:54 am)

    It was a good run. We loved being able to walk down the beach and find fine-dining. Jef was part of the charm, we loved the food, and visiting with him. We’ve moved away, but just a few weeks ago I was thrilled to be able to visit on a weeknight and enjoy the winter menu. It won’t be the same without Jef out front, out I look forward to Andy and Meagan making a go of it…Alki needs quality dining…something beyond tacos, burgers, and beer.

  • Mary January 2, 2016 (3:16 pm)

    Just walked by and saw a sign that they will reopen with chef as Bistro Maree, French food with northwest influence. I hope they lean more on the northwest influence part. I found the previous menu a little too limited. I also agree with many others regarding Jeff. The food was always good but I will look forward to a more welcoming presence in the front of the house.

  • Lacy January 7, 2016 (11:06 am)

    I worked with Jef at The Ruins. He was rude and condescending there. Sadly, it seems that his attitude negatively affected this business, too.

    Ah, well…

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