BIZNOTE: West Seattle Papa John’s Pizza closing

ORIGINAL OCTOBER 25TH REPORT: After a reader tip, we just confirmed this with a staffer at the West Seattle Papa John’s Pizza: It’s closing as of the end of the week – last day Sunday, October 29th. We’re also told they’re closing earlier each night until then, at 9 pm.

ADDED OCTOBER 30TH: As of today, the location is indeed closed, with this note on the door:

No word yet what’s next for the building/site at 5252 California SW.

64 Replies to "BIZNOTE: West Seattle Papa John's Pizza closing"

  • ArborHeightsRes October 25, 2017 (4:09 pm)

    Luckily there are plenty of locally owned and operated pizza restaurants in West Seattle that offer a higher quality product. The loss of Papa John’s should be minimal.

    • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (3:36 pm)

      Other than to the employees.
      That being stated, I doubt any were making a career with this POS corporation.

  • Spokant October 25, 2017 (4:12 pm)

    Damn, now only 63 places to get pizza in West Seattle instead of 64.

  • WS Taxpayer October 25, 2017 (4:33 pm)

    I for one will miss Papa Johns.  While the quality of numerous local establishments was subjectively “better” the beauty of Papa Johns was the consistency, value, and ease of doing business with them.  I would rather have a consistently good $10 pizza in 30 min  than slightly better $20 pizza in an hour (especially when feeding kids).  

    Having spoken with several affected parties, the $15 minimum wage is a significant factor in this decision.  Businesses that operate in the Value space are feeling the pressure of these broad brush legislations.  The Kids that made and delivered pizza and made decent $$ are now out beating the street for fewer jobs making $15 and hour.  And, on a selfish note, I will be paying significantly more for only slightly better pizza.    

    I’ll Miss You Papa John’s – Here’s hoping Domino’s can weather the storm.  

    • The King October 25, 2017 (7:33 pm)

      Totally agree. I won’t mention any business names but I almost started choking on the phone the last time I ordered a couple of large pizzas from other local establishments and it was almost $60. 

    • Natalie Novak October 26, 2017 (3:26 pm)

      I agree with WS TAXPAYER. I love being able to use their app and they always had great deals. We have some great pizza places, but I’m not willing to spending $20-$30 a pizza all the time. 

    • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (3:48 pm)

      Despite your hand-wringing over businesses being required to pay a still too low minimum wage, the Seattle restaurant industry is hardly suffering. The workers trying to find housing they can pay for on those wages? That’s another story. You can trust me when I tell you that most restaurant workers in our city aren’t kids making a little folding money on the side while their parents pay the bills.
      PJ’s was at no competitive disadvantage with other businesses in the area, other than in the quality/price ratio.
      How much would you like to bet that their lease was up and the rent was going to be jacked, or the property owners are already looking at the plans for the next set of California Ave. apartments and weren’t going to renew their lease anyway?

  • Peel & Press October 25, 2017 (4:54 pm)

    That’s lame,

    I started managing stores for this ownership group in 2003.  Yes it is a national chain but this franchise is owned and operated by a really good local ownership group.  They always took good care of their people and did some really cool things in the Puget Sound area for the community.  I hope that they can keep the higher volume Seattle locations going.  I actually spent a little time at this location and it was my first exposure to West Seattle.  I hope all the effected team are able to relocate to other stores if possible.  I think they have a driver that has been working there for over 15 years.  


  • Jort October 25, 2017 (5:08 pm)

    But where — oh where — will I go now for garbage pizza?!?!

    Total. Garbage. Pizza.

  • Morgan October 25, 2017 (5:14 pm)

    Town home development watch?

    • WSB October 25, 2017 (6:06 pm)

      I of course checked the permit files. Nothing there so far.

      • Eric1 October 25, 2017 (8:31 pm)

        LOL…  That is classic…  Sadly a new development is often the first thing that comes to people’s mind in West Seattle these days.  But on a happy note, only the WSB will answer your question within the hour.  

  • katy October 25, 2017 (5:51 pm)

    I’ll miss Papa Johns.  Reasonable priced, good tasting pizza!  I understand not everyone likes it since it isn’t trendy, expensive pizza, but I’ll miss it!

    • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (3:53 pm)

      That’s not what I base my tastes on, personally. I don’t like the sugary sweet sauce, the low quality over-salty ingredients (despite whatever Schnatter contends), and the flavorless crust. Other than those three components, they are okay, I guess.

  • Chris October 25, 2017 (6:01 pm)

    Actually this was the one place we could order pizza that we knew was clean of any types of MSG and we would not get sick.   This is very sad for us to lose them.   It would be a special treat to order their pizza.   Now we make our own, or do some searching.

    We are heartbroken on this one.   Will place our last order before they close.

    • Jon October 25, 2017 (7:57 pm)

      Just a reminder that “Evil MSG” in is probably 90% of the foods you eat; including any tomatoes or tomato products and cheese. So, just by virtue of eating a “cheese pizza” from Papa Johns, you are definitely consuming MSG (and seem to be fine and looking forward to the next one). In fact, MSG is recognized as the “fifth taste” — savory / “umami”.

      Even breast milk contains the same compounds.

      In fact, there is no scientific, peer-reviewed evidence which even suggests it’s possible to have a “sensitivity” to MSG, let alone a full allergy.

      Also, (assuming you go a step further, but for the benefit of anyone reading) probably 100% of the “non-GMO” foods you eat are genetically-modified organisms. Otherwise, you would be eating nothing but low-yield, not-very-flavorful, fibrous, bug-infested produce with gigantic seeds. You also wouldn’t have bananas at all.

      Food Creationism – which is so popular in Seattle for some reason – isn’t at all sustainable and it’s entirely marketing (brought to you by the ironically fundamentalist religious companies who control most of the “Natural / Organic” food brands).

      • dsa October 25, 2017 (10:35 pm)

        Jon here is a randomized, double-blinded study on the ill effects of MSG for you.  MSG is bad news.

      • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:03 pm)

        Well, you’re right about some things in your post. Certainly about MSG, though to suggest that a person can’t be sensitive to a common component of many foods is simply not logical. No pizza restaurant I have ever been in or worked in ever uses MSG. In fact, I’ve never seen MSG in any restaurant I have ever worked in, including a few that had a focus on Asian cuisines.
        A selectively bred crop is not a GMO. GMO’s require a laboratory and forced genetic modifications. While I laugh at those who are fearful that eating a GMO food will somehow alter their genes, I would like there to be a bit more study before one is released, so we know what it’s affects will be on the environment (GMO wind pollinators? Bad idea!) and whether or not the human body can properly figure out how to metabolize this new organism that is entering it’s digestive tract.

  • TJ October 25, 2017 (6:24 pm)

    ?I agree WS Taxpayer. Pizza was consistently good at a good price. Maybe not great, but I really enjoyed it more than most other places. Call it in, pick it up in 20 minutes. And I think the “locally owned” banter is overblown. Lots of these chains are franchises, and not like the employees are flown in from out of town every day or something. And the dust hasn’t started to settle yet on the $15 minimum wage. Thst will once ALL businesses are at $15. There are lots more coming up that will be bailing (I know of 1 for sure that will be a big surprise). Thats what we get with grandstanding, social engineering politicians who put their special interests over normal city functions that are lacking now (roads, police staffing, garbage all over)

    • Dan October 26, 2017 (8:11 am)

      Here is a story. Zippy’s is for sale.  Let that sink in…

      • WSB October 26, 2017 (8:28 am)

        The Georgetown location. Someone called it to our attention a while back and we checked it out.

        • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:19 pm)

          Looks to me like they are wanting to franchise it, rather than close it down.
          Franchising a concept can be lucrative, and help you keep your hands out of the onerous task of staffing your business with reliable workers at the very lowest wages you can legally get away with.
          “Be A Part of a Well Known Iconic Seattle Burger Restaurant Chain Family.” 
          I don’t think we’re in danger of losing Zippy’s. We MAY finally get one in our part of West Seattle.
          I happen to know a restaurant space that’s opening up soon.

          It’s a shame that the constituents of politicians in our representative democratic republic would be looked upon by anyone, especially one of my fellow citizens, I assume, as a “special interest.”
          Whose interests SHOULD our elected representatives represent?

          • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:43 pm)
            More from the ad on bizbuysell:
            Reason for Selling:
            Owner Looking to Expand Concept Through New Operators Growing Chain.

            That gosh darned soshul engineerin’! Ruining everything, isn’t it?

    • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:11 pm)

      Wouldn’t you consider it a form of social engineering, if businesses were allowed to operate at artificially low pay rates for their lowest paid employees because their poverty-level wages were backed up by (quickly shrinking, but still available) taxpayer funded social programs?

      Since the late 70’s, about when the Nixon recession was ending, wages and productivity no longer mirrored each other. The productivity continued to rise while wages of the producer class stagnated, as they have to this day.

      The fruits of that productivity accumulated somewhere. DO you ever ask where that is, who are the beneficiaries, or is it just simpler to blame the victims of today’s economic realities for not having the foresight to take advantage of this drain on the American economy? 

  • Peyton October 25, 2017 (6:46 pm)

    Take & bake pizza concept wasn’t going to succeed.

    • ACG October 25, 2017 (7:19 pm)

      Papa John’s was take and bake??  I think you might be confused. Papa Murphy’s is take and bake. And Zaw is pretty darn good for take and bake type pizza. 

    • Me October 25, 2017 (7:32 pm)

      I don’t get it. 

      • P October 25, 2017 (8:33 pm)

        ACG is right Papa Murphys is take and bake & any way you look at it take and bake has been around for a while so your comment is ignorance at its finest. 

        Said to see the owner of that local franchise close shop. 

        • TakeNBaked October 26, 2017 (8:42 pm)

          Oh, dudes, since now the weed is so legal, every pizza is take and bake.  You can get used to any Papa with the Rainbow Cush.

    • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:32 pm)

      Yee-ah, right.
      Please warn me if I ever ask you for business advice. 
      Papa Murphy’s is actually one of the fastest growing franchise concepts in the nation,  Canada, and it’s growing in the Middle East. Few equipment costs, no in-store dining, they’re test-marketing delivery this year. I’d say things are looking pretty rosy for them. I wish I had the money to invest.

  • tm7302 October 25, 2017 (6:49 pm)

    There are some pretty elitist points of view of here, celebrating a business closing and the loss of jobs in our community.

    • Terri October 25, 2017 (8:04 pm)

      Saying that you don’t like someone’s pizza or business model is not “elitist.”  And of the 15 comments, only 3 are critical (not counting the person who was obviously confused with Papa Murphy’s).

    • Jort October 25, 2017 (8:56 pm)

      There’s nothing elitist about recognizing that Papa John’s is the worst pizza ever produced by humankind.

  • chemist October 25, 2017 (7:15 pm)

    Wow, good to know.  I’ve still got some reward points to use there.

  • A. October 25, 2017 (7:16 pm)

    It will either be Pho or Thai. I am voting Pho.

  • Marty McFly October 25, 2017 (7:19 pm)

    Bring back Bison Creek Pizza.

    • Rick October 25, 2017 (8:01 pm)

      If we could only get Tim and Rod to kiss and make up!

      • HelperMonkey October 26, 2017 (8:42 am)

        pretty sure both Tim and Rod have both shrugged off this mortal coil, but maybe there’s a Bison Creek in the afterlife. FYI The one in Burien is still pretty dang good, although nothing like the WS location. 

  • 4thGenWestSide October 25, 2017 (9:12 pm)

    JON appears to be food-angry, but I appreciate his info.  Will Google it.

    • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:37 pm)

      No kidding. He may have to cut back a little on the fertilizer he uses on his private golf course. Maybe go with a lower quality toilet paper in his mansion-sized guest house.

      If he can only figure out some way to hold on just a little bit longer. The Republicans are working diligently to give him and his ilk a massive tax break they don’t need.

  • Chris October 26, 2017 (7:32 am)

    True MSG is in many foods and under a variety of names.   We have learned over the years what to look for and Papa John’s was good for us.   When one of us went to a restaurant a few years ago with a group and gave them our MSG alert card, which has many of the names of MSG on it, they told us there was nothing we could eat there.   We asked about just a simple salad.   No, they soaked the greens in MSG to keep them crisp.  So sat there with a glass of water as everyone ate.     Thank you Papa John’s for providing safe pizzas for us over the years.   We are sad to see you go.

  • Tony S October 26, 2017 (7:52 am)

    for petesakes, if you want cheap and quick there’s always Dominos.

  • Elle Nell October 26, 2017 (7:59 am)

    This is sad news, that yet another small business that was helpful to our commmunity is being closed down… they have donated plenty of pizzas over the years for school fundraising events and for that I say…

    Thank you Papa Johns for always helping with a big smile and warm heart!!!! 

  • newnative October 26, 2017 (8:13 am)

    If they blame the $15/hour minimum wage, they’re either lying or grossly misinformed. Not only has this been slowly introduced, it is not even the actual minimum wage for everyone.

    • AMD October 26, 2017 (8:52 am)

      The delivery guy we talked to said it was because business was slow.  I don’t know why that guy brought up wages; that’s not what people who work there are saying.

      • hj October 26, 2017 (2:42 pm)

        Because opponents of the minimum wage are desperate to promulgate examples of how it kills business, true or not. 

        • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:49 pm)

          Yep, and they are wrong, every single time.
          And when examples are shown of how they have been wrong, using the same arguments every single time, they respond that it will somehow magically be different this time.
          And they know that because some over-paid talking-head from the investor-class (read: only desire is to shave operating expenses at any cost, short of ever-increasing profits of course) on some business channel said it was so.

  • Bob Loblaw October 26, 2017 (8:29 am)

    2 words sum up this loss:  garlic butter.

    • DingDong October 26, 2017 (11:33 am)


    • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:49 pm)

      I have a recipe. It’s relatively simple.

  • nonny October 26, 2017 (9:39 am)

    Proposal for 18–yes, 18– townhomes in the works for the adjacent lot, at 5242 Calif SW. Maybe Papa John’s lot will provide the necessary parking??

    • WSB October 26, 2017 (9:55 am)

      Ah, I see what they did there – lot split, 9 townhouses per lot, addresses 5242 and 5248. An early version of the packet for next month’s Design Review packet is already in city files. But no, the Papa John’s lot is not involved. While these townhouses likely wouldn’t have to have parking at all, since they’re on the RapidRide line, they are proposed with 18 underground parking spaces (in the 18-townhouse option, from the three to be presented at Early Design Guidance).

  • Chuck Bisbee October 26, 2017 (2:13 pm)

    When I first moved to W. Seattle in 2008, Papa John’s was right up the block from my apartment. They had a special for 2 pizzas w/3 toppings each $7.99. Not fully set up in the kitchen this made sense to me to get some food I could reheat the next day and avoid cooking. I brought the pizzas home and ate what I could but they were just bland tasting, like someone forgot the herbs and spices in the sauce. They were so bad they sat in the refrigerator for several days uneaten until I threw them away.

    In my 60+ years I have never thrown pizza away, even if all the toppings and sauce had slid to one side but Papa John’s was the exception. I never ate there again in the 9 years down the street from them. Pizza doesn’t have to taste bad to be low cost. My only regret is that when I was 22 years old I didn’t have a brainstorming idea to start a business with so-so quality and make a fortune doing it.

    If I still lived down the street Papa John’s would not be missed.

    • steve October 26, 2017 (3:34 pm)

      In 2017 you can get two mediums 2 tops for $7.99 each at PJs. What a deal.

      I enjoyed the papa johns. Like most cheap pies they are best fresh. I don’t think you should be eating papa johns at 60+ years old anyways, unless you have a strong gut.

      • JanS October 27, 2017 (12:29 am)

        Dear Steve. I’m 70 and I indulge in pizza every now and then. Not often, but it does happen. And I have lived through it just fine. However, Papa John’s was not on my radar, not because of the pizza, but because of  the big guy’s politics…oh, well. There are other cheap pizzas around…Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Luciano’s.  There’s that old saying “pizza is like sex. Even when it’s bad, it’s good”.  

        Everyone have a great weekend :)

        • Steve Jones October 27, 2017 (8:26 am)

          Must be so sad to limit your life (and food choices??) to one’s “politics”.

          Should probably broaden your horizons a bit….

          • dawsonct October 27, 2017 (4:55 pm)

            I certainly don’t, and I doubt most do despite having easy access to that information on, unless someone is as loud and proud of it as Schnatter. In that case, he reaps what he sows.
            Plus, the pizza is quite frankly very substandard. I would avoid the stuff if my own Mom owned the place. Though if she did, the pizza would be much better.

  • Jim P. October 26, 2017 (10:46 pm)

    I wish to heck Round Table would open up here as they were rumored to be planning to a few years back.  I like good basic pizzas and RT in the place I used to live was pretty consistent.

    There’s a pizza place close to me in Westwood Village (I walk with a cane so I prefer food come to me when I order it.) but they don’t deliver and the one time we bought from them they managed to provide a pizza that was both burned *and* soggy. Impressive in its own ugly way

    So eight years on, we’ve never been back.

    • West Seattle Hipster October 27, 2017 (5:19 pm)

      Same here.  I go to the Round Table in Burien from time to time and it tastes good to me, and is affordable.

  • ScubaFrog October 27, 2017 (11:40 am)

    Papa John = known GOP’er/trumpanzee.   Not welcome IMHO.

    I’m very sad for the employees however.  I hope they find employment asap.

  • Westside Life November 1, 2017 (1:13 pm)

    The last time I talked to them on the phone hey said ” Too keyed” and hung up. It happened twice before I could cancel my online order due to the wait being 120+ minutes. This was way overdue since the last few months have been very low quality. That being said I did like the pizza and will miss the price.

    I don’t believe for a second the minimum wage is why they closed. 

  • WSanon November 1, 2017 (4:07 pm)

    I was a manager here for a long time; I quit this year. The main reason we ended up closing was that we weren’t making enough money to offset the costs of increasing rent, and increasing food costs set by our Commissary. We had ridiculous order times because things in that restaurant were complete chaos- we had the slowest ovens in the franchise, we never had any consistent employees except for a small few (causing slowdowns on the makeline, on the oven, etc.),  and we had THE SAME MAKELINE SINCE 1999 (I mean, really??), which did not hold as much product (meaning constantly having to leave and restock, leading to further delays). Basically, everything was very outdated and highly unsustainable. All of this lead to us losing more revenue, as we would lose customers over things like wait time (understandably). 

    It was not minimum wage that drove us out. It was Corporate’s refusal to listen to the people who were witnessing what changes would need to occur to keep us in operation. I don’t know how many times I told them we needed a new location- we were the only one in the whole franchise that had its own building. All other locations are part of strip malls, so they have lower rents. If Corporate had listened to us when we told them what customers were requesting, what changes would be beneficial, etc., we would still be open. 

    Just thought it would be helpful to get clarification from someone who worked there :)

Sorry, comment time is over.