BIZNOTE: Portage Bay Café planning to expand to West Seattle

Thanks for the tips! The renowned breakfast/lunch/brunch restaurant mini-chain Portage Bay Café is expanding to West Seattle. In the past few days, we’ve heard from multiple readers who were dining at one of their existing locations (Ballard, South Lake Union, on Roosevelt, on 65th) and saw printed evidence (one example above) of the plan to come here. However, nothing indicated where in West Seattle they’d be opening. So this morning we reached Portage Bay Café president/co-founder John Gunnar by phone. He confirmed the West Seattle plan and said they’re not ready to announce the location – though he had a hint: The Junction area. They could go public with the location in a week or so, and if all goes well, they could be open in October. Gunnar said customers have long been suggesting they expand to West Seattle, and with the bridge expected to reopen soon, the time is right. If you haven’t been to Portage Bay Café, here’s the current menu. Their motto is “Eat like you give a damn” and they opened their first location (Roosevelt) 25 years ago.

54 Replies to "BIZNOTE: Portage Bay Café planning to expand to West Seattle"

  • Rlv August 15, 2022 (1:00 pm)

    Very excited! 

  • Reed August 15, 2022 (1:49 pm)

    This is fantastic.

  • Anne August 15, 2022 (1:50 pm)

    Swedish Pancakes!!! Yum!

  • Mel August 15, 2022 (1:52 pm)

    Yes!!!!! So excited 

  • Andrea August 15, 2022 (1:55 pm)

    This is fantastic!!!

  • Rocky Raccoon August 15, 2022 (2:03 pm)

    This is a good thing.

  • Will August 15, 2022 (2:03 pm)

    It’s gotta be the Ma’ono spot, right?

    • WSB August 15, 2022 (2:05 pm)

      We’ve already reported on what’s going there:

    • Neighbor August 15, 2022 (2:26 pm)

      What a dream. This is exactly the kind of place we’ve been missing in WS. Please say they’re moving into the old laundromat on California and Admiral! The only place I can think of in the Alaska Junction is the Pho Than space…? Can’t wait.

      • Mr J August 15, 2022 (2:48 pm)

        Origins is moving to the old pho place off California. 

      • max34 August 16, 2022 (3:22 pm)

        Missing?  How is this place better than Harry’s, Circa, or Shadowland, or Arthurs?   Those are great local brunch spots.   not to mention we have  sporto places that do brunch like the Westy and the Bridge.   i know there are many others – Lily’s Salvadoran does breakfast too.  nothing against Portage, but we definitely have a strong bench of brunch spots across west seattle.  

  • Yaaaas August 15, 2022 (2:09 pm)

    Omg LOVE Portage Bay breakfast! Maybe they’ll go in where the Hydrant space has been sitting vacant forever. Regardless looking forward to more great breakfast options. 

    • Genessee5Points August 15, 2022 (5:06 pm)

      Hydrant is the storage area for the pet shop… It’s never going to be anything else while the pet shop is still open. 

      • HTB August 16, 2022 (9:03 am)

        Hope that’s not true, but if so, I’m genuinely curious as to the thought process here. Do they pay rent for that storage space? Seems expensive! Do they own the building? Is there any sense of obligation to the community going on here?WSB – sounds like a deep dive feature waiting to happen!

        • WSB August 16, 2022 (9:47 am)

          We have wasted too much time and money on Hydrant stories over the years. Next story, if and when something actually happens.

  • Peter August 15, 2022 (2:25 pm)

    Great news!

  • local August 15, 2022 (2:26 pm)


  • Torso McTeague August 15, 2022 (2:28 pm)

    Such great news; bring on the bourbon banana french toast! 

  • None August 15, 2022 (2:46 pm)

    I saw the Agave Cocina business was for sale a few months back, that space seems like the only one near the junction with an east facing patio, which would probably be on their must-have list. 

    • CeeJay August 15, 2022 (3:13 pm)

      Agave is absolutely dreadful. Completely flavorless. I hope Portage is replacing them.

  • Brad Knife August 15, 2022 (2:51 pm)

    Ive heard from multiple folks that Agave on 42nd  (inside Mural) is closing, and Portage Bay is taking the spot.

    • sw August 15, 2022 (3:47 pm)

      If true, that would be ideal.  I’ve always loved the Agave QA location, but their WS spot has never measured up with either food or service.  Not surprised they may be closing, and super stoked that Portage Bay will be coming in.

  • Lincoln Park Mom August 15, 2022 (3:06 pm)

    Best news ever!  

  • Old WS Neighbor August 15, 2022 (3:16 pm)

    Oh, my goodness!  I stopped at Agave a couple hours ago and ordered a take out lunch!  Agave is  wonderful …….And I certainly remember Portage Bay Cafe, way, way, way  many years ago (I’m really old!).   I used to have breakfast there on the ship canal location. …..My goodness, brings back wonderful memories!  

  • waughtown August 15, 2022 (3:17 pm)

    Hell yes!  Great news!

  • KG August 15, 2022 (3:55 pm)

    HOORAY! Have loved Portage Bay for years but it’s a long way to SLU/Ballard/UDistrict. Will be great to have one in the ‘hood. 

  • O August 15, 2022 (4:58 pm)

    Hope you expand your vegan options. We haven’t been back in over 7 years due to the lack of options 

    • Really? August 16, 2022 (1:01 pm)

      Will children be allowed? Dogs? Cats?  Gluten free options? Dairy free?  Clothing optional?  

  • Joan August 15, 2022 (5:01 pm)

    Excited! Ate at Lake Union once and loved it.

  • Erin98126 August 15, 2022 (5:03 pm)

    OMG I literally JUST THE OTHER DAY thought to myself, “I wish Portage Bay Cafe would open a location in West Seattle.” Yay! Hmm…I wonder if that means I have two wishes left… 🤔

  • Sorry for the negative August 15, 2022 (5:09 pm)

    The SLU location is a mediocre cafetria for tech bros. Hope this new spot is cozy and better. I’ve received cold food at multiple locations over the years. 

    • Ly August 16, 2022 (8:40 am)

      Techies that ate there were not just bros btw. And in my opinion the SLU location was as good as all the other spots!

  • anonyme August 15, 2022 (5:23 pm)

    A great breakfast spot is always welcome.

  • MN August 15, 2022 (5:38 pm)

    I loved Fresh Bistro and was sad when it closed.  It was great having that kind of choice amongst the Mexican/Pizza (most of which I really like).  The spot is beautiful and Portage Bay is always reliable

    • WS1980 August 16, 2022 (1:59 pm)

      I too still miss Fresh Bistro… Their food was really good and we loved their Monday night steak night! I’ve never had Portage Bay, but I’ve heard it’s really good! 

      • NW Mama August 17, 2022 (6:24 pm)

        +1 Fresh Bistro was sooo good.  Looking forward to Portage Bay!

  • rb August 15, 2022 (5:43 pm)

    I love Portage Bay. i just wished they were opening anywhere else in WS but the Alaska Junction. Maybe Westwood? on 35th? Delridge? Morgan Junction? Even Alki would have been a preferred option for me. I feel the junction is saturated with restaurants, parking is hard, etc. West Seattle definetly needs more Commercial development.  

    • Delridge Bitch August 15, 2022 (7:00 pm)

      Agreed, it would be nice to get some more businesses on North Delridge. Also, you should try riding the bus or even bike ride to the junction. It’s not as scary as trying to find parking, especially for those of you who ride them big ass cars and trucks around. 🙃

    • hj August 16, 2022 (6:27 pm)

      The people who run Portage Bay don’t seem to agree that the Alaska Junction is saturated with restaurants. Their other locations indicate a preference for higher density locations with greater foot traffic, and Delridge isn’t that.

  • RayWest August 15, 2022 (5:56 pm)

    This is great news. I’ve often ate at their U-District location and loved it. I have missed going there since I retired from the UW.

  • Jw August 15, 2022 (6:35 pm)

    So excited for another place that does breakfast at 8am

  • Sara V August 15, 2022 (6:40 pm)

    Yay! So excited. We so need more options and way more outdoor and patio seating. Love Portage Bay!

  • DR August 15, 2022 (8:44 pm)

    This is really good news for WS!

  • Wsresident August 15, 2022 (9:31 pm)

    Keep them coming!

  • DJ August 15, 2022 (10:22 pm)

    Double good news I learned from this article and comments: WS getting a Portage Bay AND Dué!!! Fantastic!

  • Only Breakfast? August 16, 2022 (6:45 am)

     Never heard of them.  Their menu shows only breakfast.  Is this correct?

    • WSMOM August 20, 2022 (5:45 pm)

      Yes! It’s usually open only until 2pm and serves breakfast.

  • sgs August 16, 2022 (12:09 pm)

    I can already see the lines forming…….(love the place)

    • Jamie August 16, 2022 (5:48 pm)

      Brunch Village! 

  • dc August 16, 2022 (12:26 pm)

    i guess rumors of seattle’s demise were greatly exaggerated after all

  • Myrna Hoffman August 16, 2022 (2:07 pm)

    Love Portage Bay Cafe! 

  • HW August 16, 2022 (3:59 pm)

    This is the best news ever! We have missed Portage Bay Cafe so much since moving from North Seattle and in nearly 7 years here we still talk about how we can’t wait for one to open on this side of the bridge. I cannot wait to make this part of my family’s regular rotation. Bring on the swedish pancakes, toppings bar, and delicious lunches!

  • Deer August 17, 2022 (9:41 pm)

    This is cool. Portage Bay is a great cafe, and nice company/owners, I’ve worked for them. They will provide some good jobs in the community. However, one comment as a customer… I’ve been a customer going back to when they just had the U district location, before they expanded and demand increased. I have some wonderful memories of sitting at the bar at the window durring winter and watching snow fall while enjoying a big mug of tea and some delicious big plated breakfast, with the buzz of brunch energy and weekend music in the air. Anyway, back then their food quality was amazing.  At some point they made a decision to change their potatoes from seasoned to plain roasted potatoes which just weren’t as good. The flavor and cook on the old spicy ones was superior and I missed them. Think it could be a big hit if they went back to their original seasoned potatoes! ;);)

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