BIZNOTE: Sushi Samurai shutters Alki location

Don’t know how recently this happened, but Sushi Samurai has permanently closed on Alki – just noticed the note in the window while walking by for the first time in a while. (Likely relatively recently, as the restaurant’s most recent online review was posted a week and a half ago.) The original Queen Anne location remains in operation, and its website says, “Chef Ray has returned home to Queen Anne!” It’s only been 14 months since the Alki location opened at 2758 Alki SW, which Subway had vacated six months before that.

P.S. As discussed in comments, this now means five spaces are vacant in the heart of the Alki business district – the spaces formerly home to Tully’s, Alki Cleaners, Marée Bistro, Alki Urban Market, and now Sushi Samurai.

42 Replies to "BIZNOTE: Sushi Samurai shutters Alki location"

  • H July 18, 2018 (12:05 pm)

    What is going on in Alki? It seems like quite a few businesses are closing but perhaps thins kind of turnover is normal?? Of course, I’m wondering if there’s some big development being planned for the area.

    • WSB July 18, 2018 (12:35 pm)

      I was just going to add that to the story – this is the fifth now-empty storefront.

    • Swede. July 18, 2018 (1:10 pm)

      It’s rent increase. Just a ‘wild’ guess! 

    • RayWest July 18, 2018 (2:00 pm)

      I’d say high rents, competition with the other eateries, and relying on seasonal tourists does not make for a prosperous  year-round business district.  There’s also few nearby (non-restaurant) businesses to supply a steady lunchtime customer base. Parking is also an issue.

      • ACG July 18, 2018 (3:00 pm)

        RW-didnt you read the Times article from not too long ago?  It said there was plenty of parking in Seattle- you just need to find one of those magical hidden undergound parking garages that the article describes. ;-)

      • Alex July 18, 2018 (3:04 pm)

        Yep. I know it’s unpopular to say anything pro-car, but there’s not enough parking to justify going to Alki for a random weeknight dinner. And that problem has only gotten worse lately with the recent bike lane expansions on Alki Ave. I don’t have time to drag my family down there in public transit between getting home from work and bedtime. Alki just isn’t that great a place for a business, unless you can make an absolute ton of money in the summer, then go into hibernation mode all winter.Maybe some day the landlords down there will get tired of empty storefronts and lower rents.

        • Jon Wright July 18, 2018 (4:36 pm)

          There is never going to be enough parking in Alki for people who are going just to visit a specific restaurant. Lots of residents + people hanging out at the beach are going to absorb it all. Restaurants need to rely upon residents and those beach visitors who decide to get something to eat while they are there.

        • alki_2008 July 18, 2018 (11:27 pm)

          @alex, what are these “recent bike lane expansions on Alki Ave” that you speak of?  I haven’t noticed any changes in the past 10 years.

          • Clear July 19, 2018 (3:49 pm)

            There have been no bike lane expansions on Alki, it’s just easier to make stuff up and blame people riding bikes than it is to realize that the plain as day fact that there is no free parking at the beach in summer is due to rampant unchecked automobile use. 

          • WSB July 19, 2018 (3:59 pm)

            I apologize for not catching that – I suspect the commenter was referring to the Admiral Way Safety Project.

  • Alki Expat July 18, 2018 (2:19 pm)

    It’s hard to keep your restaurant open when it’s dead completely dead down in that area 6 months out of the year. The Po Boy place right now, has been 3 other restaurants in the last 5 or so years.

    • WSB July 18, 2018 (2:37 pm)

      I checked the timeline. Alki Bakery closed there in November 2010 after many years in business. Its successor Beachside Cafe opened in spring 2011, changed “concepts” to the short-lived Bada Bistro two years later. Then Fatburger opened in October 2013. It closed in January 2017, and that’s when B’s opened.

      • ACG July 18, 2018 (2:56 pm)

        I miss Alki Bakery. 

        • sw July 18, 2018 (4:13 pm)

          Alki Bakery is open M-F in SoDo.  Not the same as eating on Alki, but you can get your fix there.  And they have a parking lot.

  • Rob July 18, 2018 (2:27 pm)

    Tully’s =Legal issues and cash flow.  Alki Cleaners = owners father is sick. Moving home. Marée Bistro = Rent consessons ended after Poll died.  Alki Urban Market = Lease was up. Not renewed. Sushi Samurai Rent and cash flow. 

  • about last night July 18, 2018 (2:54 pm)

    So weird. Just last night, I walked by someone sitting out side of the Queen Anne location, talking on the phone. As I walked past, the person said (something like) ‘ The Alki one? no, that’s closed’  and at the time I thought, ‘wait, something closed and I didn’t hear about first on WSB !?!?!? ‘Sad the Alki location is closed :(

    • WSB July 18, 2018 (3:20 pm)

      Embarrassing but … not a soul mentioned it. We drive Alki daily (among other main streets) looking for such things but this was a small-enough note I might have missed it. Meantime, after spotting it today before walking into Top Pot for coffee after dropping co-publisher Patrick at the Seacrest paddle-safely event, I searched thoroughly … no posts elsewhere online (including social media) either. I noticed the alluded-to 7/8 Yelp review only because Yelp often has a notation such as “readers report this restaurant has closed” – its page had no such indicator. A few months back, someone did message us saying they thought Sushi Samurai LOOKED closed and at the time we messaged its ownership, who promptly replied, no, they were just making a few changes for the busy summer months. Oh well. – TR

  • Onion July 18, 2018 (3:08 pm)

    Were they any good? Never ever thought of eating there, which is odd since I am almost always eager to give our new restaurants a try. Wrong location for sushi, perhaps?

    • datamuse July 18, 2018 (7:14 pm)

      I honestly forgot it existed. When I want sushi I go to Mashiko.

  • Lola July 18, 2018 (3:51 pm)

    I go to Spuds as I can always find parking in their parking lot.  One of the only ones on Alki that has a parking lot.  Otherwise we usually pickup our Pegasus while the other circles the block to pick us back up.  

    • Bonnie July 18, 2018 (4:40 pm)

      I always forget that Spuds has a lot!

  • Miles July 18, 2018 (4:39 pm)

    Really funny all the comments are “agenda” related and dont ever mention the product. this was simply bad Luke warm sushi served on paper plates ( when I ate there).  people will go there if the food is great, end of story.we are lucky to live in a city where food has to be great, not mediocre and the service has to be great not mediocre. I am a loyal west seattlite who spends lots of cash on food and we never thought of going back after our first visit. Mashiko, now that’s another story…go there over and over and over again and don’t say it’s price because this place wasn’t cheap.  Just saying …all you high rent and parking folks….

    • zoe July 19, 2018 (3:53 pm)

      Yes! Duke’s will be full with a line out the door, while other restaurants are empty.

      • dawsonct July 26, 2018 (3:57 pm)

        And Dukes hasn’t been anything “special” since sometime in the early 80’s.Unfortunately, the favorite Seattle restaurant of a dear friend who visits about once a year.On the other hand, I’m only forced to eat at Duke’s once a year!

  • Bonnie July 18, 2018 (4:40 pm)

    I had wanted to try Sushi Samurai but every time I went they were closed.

  • BAS July 18, 2018 (4:51 pm)

    I’m also so someone who tried it once and never went back. My sushi standards are somewhat high since I regularly make my own, but Sushi Samurai was mediocre. The fish was excellent quality, which I appreciated. However, prices were beyond reasonable. I have better sushi for lunch at Columbia Center for half the price. Maybe I should just open up my own sushi bar. 

    • RayWest July 20, 2018 (6:49 am)

      BAS – Presumably the menu prices on Alki are higher in order to pay the rent in a high-priced rental district. (Also, quality and portion sizes often start to suffer in an effort to cut costs.)  Key Alki businesses (Cactus, Pegasus, Dukes, Spuds, and others) are so well established and have a regular-enough clientele  that they can operate profitably, but the newer ones struggle before going under in a year or two.

  • ScubaFrog July 18, 2018 (5:14 pm)

    Small business is tough.  With  lack of public transportation (peninsula-wide), and not enough parking, small business sustainability is becoming much harder.  All of these condos going up, but no inherent parking attached.  It’s a dynamic problem that’s causing small businesses to shutter up.A quick inquiry to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce will enlighten anyone who’s wondering “what’s hurting small businesses in West Seattle?”.   They’re extremely kind and communicative.

    • WSB July 18, 2018 (5:17 pm)

      Alki actually has a parking requirement – 1 1/2 spaces per unit.

      • ScubaFrog July 18, 2018 (9:00 pm)

        That’s awesome, thanks for that note WSB.  I think that’s quite appropriate.  

      • Julia July 18, 2018 (10:02 pm)

        Is that a rule for newer apartments or from a certain year on? Our rental in Alki is 2 spaces short! 

        • WSB July 18, 2018 (10:12 pm)

          It’s a minimum. I don’t know how many years the overlay goes back.

          • Will o Wisp July 20, 2018 (1:35 pm)

            I went down to speak in favor of the Alki overlay – I believe it was the 1989-1992 time frame.  

    • Michael July 18, 2018 (8:55 pm)

      So are these condos empty or do the people who live in them just not eat food?

  • pdid July 18, 2018 (7:21 pm)

    Slices was one of my favs too.. all to common story at this urban hub. I wonder how Wheel Fun Rentals and Alki Kayak are doing with all the bikeshare competition. 

    • alki_2008 July 18, 2018 (11:34 pm)

      Slices did not close because of rent.  Other factors were involved in that decision.

  • genesseehill July 18, 2018 (11:07 pm)

    Way to go Tasos!May your drives be long, with a slight draw!

  • Cami MacNamara July 19, 2018 (7:15 am)

    I could never get over that they were serving the sushi ‘Subway’ style.  Good restaurants always make it on Alki. The key is to win over the locals to keep it going in the off season.  If a restaurant is empty, it’s not because of parking.  Sorry it didn’t work out for them. 

  • momosmom July 19, 2018 (11:16 am)

    @Cami…exactly, look at Sunfish, Spuds, Dukes…

  • Frog July 21, 2018 (11:19 pm)

    Welcome to the high rent desert.  Residents are being frog-boiled by relentless rent increases, and most don’t have any cash left over to eat at restaurants.  Most are barely surviving.

Sorry, comment time is over.