West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Drawings by kids, from planes to pigs, cover the wall by the front door at The Swinery.
Kim Leveille says drawings don’t come down until they fall down. Some are by kids who’ve become adults in her 13+ years at The Swinery: “I’ve seen entire families grow up.”
The Swinery’s a family thing for her too – she owns it with her husband Danny Rogers; her father-in-law comes in and helps out on weekends. The little shop at 3207 California SW is wall-to-wall memories, hopes, dreams.
“I’m just not ready to let it go.”
But she might have to if a new round of crowdfunding doesn’t help.
They tried it in the heart of the pandemic and West Seattle Bridge closure, an agonizing time for so many local small independent businesses. In that 2021 crowdfunding, Kim says, fans raised $17,000 in two days. But they’ve had equipment breakdowns and thefts since then, and are looking for help again to catch up. They started a new crowdfunding campaign a month ago but, Kim says, “It didn’t work.” So they’re trying again – this time, more directly declaring they’re in danger of having to close.
“We may not make it until spring,” Kim said in her email to us, which we decided to follow up on by visiting the shop. In addition to cooler/freezer repairs, they have a simple need: More staff, beyond their longtime part-time helper and a “very part-time dishwasher.” “It’s a Catch-22 – we need enough money to hire a fulltime person so the grill can do more volume.”
Right now, it’s Danny on the grill, which is an ever-increasingly important part of The Swinery’s business. Kim has worked there since just months after its original ownership opened the shop to much fanfare in 2009; she and Danny bought it in 2018. The shop was founded as “more of a butcher shop with a few things on the side.” But then one of those “things” drew extra acclaim: “Once we got ‘Best Burger in Seattle’ …” demand soared. The shop also was featured on the Food Network and the Travel Network. “Now the grill is much more important.” Tons of takeout/delivery orders, since The Swinery’s only seating is a small courtyard by the grill.
Along with all that grilling, their other offerings are labor-intensive too – “since we do everything in-house.” The meat case is full of sausages, chops, smoked meats, and more.
Popular items include ribs and beef bacon. For Thanksgiving, they smoke turkeys; for Christmas, ribeye roasts. No nitrites. No allergens. “I just want everyone to be able to eat,” says Kim.
She’s hopeful this time they’ll get the boost they need to stay in business and up the output so revenue isn’t an issue again. What if somebody would rather buy a few pounds of sausage, for example, than just give money? “Anything would help,” Kim says. That includes more patronage.
Thanks to Lynn Hall for the photo of tonight’s layered pink sunset. It gives us the chance to mention something heartening if you’re not a fan of the short, dark days of early winter … Thursday is the first day this year that the sun will set after 5 pm (5:01 to be exact). Only eight weeks until spring!
We’ve been reporting on the Morgan Junction Park Addition site, bought by the city in 2014, planned for park development until the pandemic led Parks to put this and other projects on hold. In the short run, the former dry-cleaner/mini-mart site is supposed to get soil cleanup, but even that plan’s been dragging on. So community members set up an unofficial skatepark on the site – and that got relatively swift Parks action, shutting it down. We updated the situation in coverage of this past week’s Morgan Community Association meeting. That’s one of three “landbanked” future park sites in West Seattle. Today, an update on another:
Development of that park-to-be site on 40th SW between SW Edmunds and SW Alaska is also on indefinite hold but getting interim use as an unofficial dog park. As explained in a recent West Seattle Junction Association newsletter:
The Parks Department has this space slated to be turned into a beautiful park several years from now, so it has been fenced for some time. The fence is now down. We are asking that everyone who uses the green space clean up after themselves so we can continue to use it. We will have monthly cleaning crews of volunteers the first Saturday of each month at 10 am. Just show up and pitch in! Keeping the space looking good ensures the fence does not go back up. It will be a great place to walk your dog – just remember to clean up after your pooch, and take that doggy bag with you. The city is not supplying garbage cans right now. We are hoping with a lot of active use we can prevent any negative use of the space.
This one’s been owned by the city even longer, more than a decade; it was purchased even as the city asked for feedback on whether the site “made sense” as a park. Hundreds of apartments have since been built around it – Broadstone Sky to the south, The Whittaker across 40th to the east. There are many dog owners among their residents, noted WSJA executive director Chris Mackay in a conversation about this interim use for the site. She stresses that the city will put the fence back up if the site’s not kept clean. She also notes it’s irrigated and has lighting.
5:04 PM: Thanks to Mel for the tip. Two-car collision. Possibly complicating matters, initial radio exchanges indicate one car is reported to be plateless and its occupants are reported to have bolted. Avoid the area for a while.
5:56 PM: Only one car remains at the scene, the Hyundai
Elantra Sonata whose occupant(s) ran. Police confirmed to us that the car is believed to have been stolen and believed to be linked to a robbery in North Delridge earlier in the afternoon.
2:42 PM: Sandbags and concrete blocks are in place in South Park in preparation for the return of “king tides” the next few mornings, but the good news is a calm forecast – no prediction for the kind of stormy weather that added to the predicted high tides last month, when low atmospheric pressure accompanied heavy rain. Tomorrow’s forecast is partly sunny; Tuesday brings a “slight chance of rain”; Thursday is expected to be mostly cloudy. Nonetheless, Seattle Public Utilities says it’s done what it can, just in case, as outlined here. City reps said at a briefing earlier this month that 49 homes and businesses suffered “substantial” damage from flooding in December.
9:49 PM: In an update for media tonight, SPU reiterates that the forecast doesn’t suggest flooding. But its preparations so far total “an estimated 90,000 sandbags and barriers totaling 1.4 miles.” Its update also notes that housing assistance for those affected by last month’s flooding has been extended through February 28th.
That’s one of the 93 new flower baskets you’ll see hanging in The Junction starting in late May. It’s bigger and heavier than baskets used in past years; West Seattle Junction Association executive director Chris Mackay tells WSB the company that previously grew and maintained the baskets couldn’t do that this year, so they found a new grower – Van Wingerden Greenhouses in Blaine – and a local firm to keep them watered and maintained., Though the new baskets are bigger, they’ll require less water and less fertilizer. The Junction is again covering part of the costs by offering the baskets for “adoption,” $189 per basket – if you’re interested, go here. (The Junction is a nonprofit, so it’s a tax-deductible donation.)
1989 Land Cruiser
Stolen from SW Myrtle Street near (Myrtle Reservoir) park.
Incident # 2023-020722
Around 7 am today, my vehicle was stolen. I saw the thieves driving off and jumped in another car to follow. I lost them around Roxbury Safeway. If seen, please report to Police.
(Note that this is the same general area from which we received a stolen-car report Saturday.)
Welcome to the second half of your West Seattle weekend! Here’s what’s happening:
CHURCHES WITH ONLINE SERVICES: We’re continuing to list these – see today’s lineup here.
WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: As usual, 10 am-2 pm, the market offers winter produce as well as flowers, cheese, fish, meat, baked goods, condiments, fresh-cooked food, beverages (from kombucha to beer/wine), nuts, more. Here’s today’s vendor list. (California SW between Oregon and Alaska)
FOOD FUNDRAISER: TheHomeSkillit.com will be selling food on Webster west of Delridge (by The Home Depot’s south entrance) 11 am-6 pm, raising money for Chef Gino and his daughter to move, and for their ongoing work donating food to homeless people.
VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR: Noon-3 pm, the Vietnamese Cultural Center (2236 SW Orchard) celebrates Tết with lion dancing and flag raising, all welcome.
LEARN ABOUT ORGANIC HOUSE-PLANT CARE: 1 pm workshop at West Seattle Nursery (5245 California SW).
CLASSIC NOVELS (AND MOVIES) BOOK CLUB: Monthly gathering, 3 pm at C & P Coffee (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor), this time planning to “discuss ‘The Master and Margarita,’ by Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov.”
NEED FOOD? White Center Community Dinner Church serves a free meal (take-away available) at 5 pm Sundays at the Salvation Army Center in South Delridge (9050 16th SW).
YOGA, MEDITATION, GONG BATH: Presented by Inner Alchemy, 7 pm at Move2Center (3618 SW Alaska), $35.
LATIN SUNDAY: Party to Latin American music with a DJ @ Benbow Room (4210 SW Admiral Way), starting at 9 pm.
SUNDAY NIGHT KARAOKE: 9 pm to 1:30 am at Admiral Pub (2306 California SW).
Have an event to add to our calendar? Please email email@example.com – thank you!
P.S. Happy 81st birthday, Admiral Theater!