BIZNOTE: Ephesus closes in West Seattle

Thanks to the readers who emailed in recent days about the closure of Ephesus, the Turkish-turned-Greek restaurant at 5245 California SW. Via email, Aydin from Ephesus confirmed the closure and said they didn’t renew their lease because “Our landlord wanted to increase rent 100% and we didn’t accept.” You can find the same Greek food and beverages at 210 Occidental Ave. S. in Pioneer Square.

Property records show the West Seattle building has had the same ownership for 30 years; they sold off the long-stalled building site next door last year. (The new project for that site, first noted here last year – again, under different ownership from the now-closed restaurant – is still making its way through the city permit process; here’s the new design packet for the 9 townhouses planned there.)

60 Replies to "BIZNOTE: Ephesus closes in West Seattle"

  • Rick August 28, 2023 (12:28 pm)

    Iwas in the spot next door for 15 years and several other locatons since 1978  but had to move for the same reasons  when the new corporation raised my rent  by a billion.  Been a barber in West Seattle since 1978, maybe it’s time to move back to Kansas. Kinda “Oh well”. Thanks ya’ll.

    • W$ Neighbor. August 28, 2023 (4:11 pm)

      I grew up in  rural Kansas. It’s a great state, KU Jayhawk!  Very open minded folks and even though the majority are Republican they make rational decisions. 

    • Jamie Brewer August 28, 2023 (9:52 pm)

      I am starting to feel the same way only for me it’s back to East Tennessee.. I don’t want to leave..! But it’s coming down to that or starve because I can’t pay rent and buy food.. it’s so sad to lose a home to greed . 

    • RayWest August 29, 2023 (10:56 am)

      Rick – It’s situations like yours that really highlights what’s gone wrong with West Seattle. All the unique, small businesses once tucked away in little storefronts along California Ave. have mostly disappeared, pushed out by development and high rents. West Seattle’s eclectic quality has vanished.

  • Julian August 28, 2023 (12:47 pm)

    Sad to see it go; they made great food.

  • Jay August 28, 2023 (12:50 pm)

    Doubling the rent for a long-term small local business seems like one of those things that shouldn’t be legal.

    • Joe August 28, 2023 (1:14 pm)

      Jay –  you realize that the landlord is a person and they have bills to pay too, right? My guess is that they were charging below market rent before, and now they want to get it back up to where it should be.

      • Mr J August 28, 2023 (3:04 pm)

        Landlords are people too! Wow! Daily dose of propaganda and broad assumptions. I choose to use my empathy for the business. 

        • junctioneer August 28, 2023 (3:51 pm)

          A landlord is a business, isn’t it?

          • SpencerGT August 28, 2023 (6:41 pm)

            I think a landlord is an entity.

        • Rick August 29, 2023 (10:42 am)

          Hey P, when and where was your last business in Seattle?

      • Ben August 29, 2023 (6:37 am)

        Joe, this type of ignorance should be illegal. 

      • Rick August 29, 2023 (11:22 am)

        So joe, I just bought your house and am more than doubling your rent. Cool with that?

      • Landlord isn't a real job August 29, 2023 (1:22 pm)

        Plot twist Joe is the landlord

    • WeatSeattleBadTakes August 28, 2023 (1:18 pm)

      We have business and business assigned voters to thank. Give them around of applause! You did it!

    • Jason August 28, 2023 (5:30 pm)

      Agreed, more civilized cities and nations around the world limit the percentage of rent increases a landlord can make in a year.

  • Cid August 28, 2023 (1:01 pm)

    This makes me sad, but it wasn’t the same after Hussan left. Great memories for our many dinners there when he was serving great Turkish food.

    • WS Neighbor August 28, 2023 (2:24 pm)

      I totally agree!  Food wasn’t that great after this new owner took over. 

    • John August 28, 2023 (2:33 pm)

      Completely agree! I had taken my mother there for a birthday dinner not realizing that the ownership had changed and was absolutely

  • Missing Hussan August 28, 2023 (1:25 pm)

    Honestly I am surprised it lasted this long after Hussan left. Used to be family favorite. It’s where I took my now wife on our first date. Where is Hussan and his amazing food 

    • Ed August 28, 2023 (3:06 pm)

      100% agree! When Hasan owned the place there was a special charm about it. He would always greet people with a smile no matter how busy he was which is a strong contrast to how the new owner treated customers. 

  • Brian Feusagach August 28, 2023 (1:40 pm)

    I suspect the landlord’s raising of the rent is just a way to have a tenant leave prior to the location being sold. Be ready for another half dozen (or more) of the WS boxes on this property – with no parking of course.I’m going to miss Ephesus and am sad to see the loss of another restaurant in this area – glad that Box Bar is still here!!

    • Jeff August 28, 2023 (3:06 pm)

      You say this as if more housing is…bad. We need housing. 

      • Azimuth August 28, 2023 (5:16 pm)

        Eh… I live next to more housing. It’s not that great.

        • BigB August 28, 2023 (7:37 pm)


          • First time townhouse buyer August 29, 2023 (9:18 am)

            I’m sure ya’ll gained amazing equity on your properties in the last few years. The rest of us are struggling to buy our first property in the neighborhood with these prices. More townhomes are great. 

  • Ed August 28, 2023 (2:00 pm)

    Unfortunately, we saw the writing on the wall after the current owner of Ephesus took over from the previous owner, and tried to reinvent the wheel of an already well-functioning Turkish restaurant. The new owner ended up changing up the menu that irked long-time customers and also alienating the Turkish community by switching to a Greek themed restaurant because he didn’t feel supported by his own Turkish community. 

  • Jim August 28, 2023 (2:32 pm)

    Very unfortunate but it had SIGNIFICANTLY gone down in quality in food, service, and atmosphere since the new owners took over. They absolutely ran it into the ground

  • Abyk August 28, 2023 (2:51 pm)

    Loads of memories from the old Ephesus with Hassan. I took my boyfriend (now husband of 22 years) out to dinner all the time in exchange for yard/house work. We had our rehearsal dinner there and our kids ended up loving it too. We went twice to the new ephesus and didn’t care for the food. Still, very sad to see it go. 

  • Anne August 28, 2023 (3:10 pm)

    Unfortunate-but bashing owner/landlord for raising rent without knowing all the reasons behind it ( perhaps because property taxes have risen?)is pointless. 

    • Jason August 28, 2023 (5:33 pm)

      @Anne The increases in property taxes don’t justify a 100% increase in rent in just one year. 100% is just ridiculous and calls the ethics of the landlord into question. 

      • Pietro August 28, 2023 (8:00 pm)

        Do we have evidence of a 100% rent increase?  Or is this just the unsubstantiated claim of a disgruntled tenant?  I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that they had a rent increase of some sort, but the downfall of their business is due to poor food, service and other choices they made.  The truth usually lies somewhere in between. 

        • rpo August 29, 2023 (9:40 am)

          Or maybe rent had not been increased in many, many years, and raising it 100% in a single year just brought it back up to market rent….

        • Rick August 29, 2023 (11:46 am)

          Well. when you’re the one who writes  the checks and they’re more than double than last year whatcha gonna do? Try using your liberal ideology on people who most likely pay your bills. That would piss them off. Tell me about truth. Then prove it.  I’ve  owned businesses, houses and rented in West Seattle for almost 50 years  . Bring it, sister.

          • rpo August 29, 2023 (2:35 pm)

            My first thought would be remembering the lack of rent increases (assuming my hypothetical is correct) and then researching market rents to see if the increased rent amount is reasonable or not. If the new rent is reasonable in that area, and the business cannot survive because it is not profitable enough to afford that, then the blame lies on the operation of the business and not the landlord.  And I own multiple businesses, pay commercial rent, and have a ton of real estate investments (residential only), so there….it’s been brought.Supporting every business with below market rents just because they are not profitable to afford market rent is not a solution.

    • WS Res August 28, 2023 (6:02 pm)

      Who is “bashing” anyone?

  • East Coast Cynic August 28, 2023 (4:01 pm)

    I suspect the reasons behind the rent raise is the landlord believes he can get a business that can give him that massive raise in rent revenue (a corporate chain) or maybe buy the property outright for Fort Knox $$$.

  • aa August 28, 2023 (4:40 pm)

    i was there recently and as we were leaving I saw an empty box of tiramisu at the host station.   Most likely from Costco or Cash & Carry.  Doesn’t bode well for a restaurants success.  I imagine they had trouble keeping qualified staff to cook everything like a lot of places.   

    • A September 3, 2023 (11:30 pm)

      I interviewed there for a server position recently and they wanted me to work a day for free before deciding whether or not to hire me. I didn’t get a call back from the interview to work my free day, but if they had called I wouldn’t have shown up as that is illegal. So yes I imagine that was just the tip of the iceberg and they probably did have trouble keeping staff, not going to speculate on how much wage theft occurred there

  • Observer August 28, 2023 (4:45 pm)

    It’s funny to see people praising the original owner of Ephesus and than being negative to the landlord for raising the rent on the current owner. They are the same person, the original owner and the landlord!

  • RayWest August 28, 2023 (4:59 pm)

    Sorry to see it close, but the last time I went, which was the first time under the new ownership, it was disappointing. Not bad, but nothing special. I loved the original Ephesus, not just for the good food, but the warm, cozy, comfortable atmosphere and hospitable staff.  That is what I miss. I hope this doesn’t become a tear-down for a new housing development, but that is what appears to be in the cards. Oh well.

    • Just wondering August 28, 2023 (8:18 pm)

      I agree.  I miss the old Ephesus.  But also Lee’s Asian and Spiros. :(

      • RayWest August 29, 2023 (6:50 am)

        I also miss Lee’s and Spiro’s. I don’t understand why the vacated Spiro’s building is still empty (at least the last time I drove by). Hate to say it, but I also miss Pegasus Pizza, even though how they treated their employees was less than sterling. They had great pizza, though. So many other places are missed as well. 

  • Jason August 28, 2023 (5:26 pm)

    Holy goodness! A 100% rent increase?! That really shouldn’t be legal. Are you listening representatives? There needs to be a reasonable limit on the percentage of rent increases in a year. 

  • Tired of Delridge August 28, 2023 (6:11 pm)

    Went there once, about a year ago.Terrible service.  

  • GreekedOut August 28, 2023 (6:25 pm)

    Agreed. The praise for this place is misdirected. Had one of the worst experiences there ever at a restaurant. The dining room was nearly empty. Ordered and served a sad looking appetizer, then told after half an hour that a rooftop party was using all the resources and the cook forgot to start our meal. We left, and weren’t even comped the un-appetizer.

  • Duwamesque August 28, 2023 (7:05 pm)

    210 Occidental Ave S is a vacant storefront next to Mod Pizza in the Weyerhauser building. Are they planning to open something there?

    • WSB August 28, 2023 (8:35 pm)

      According to one online review, they opened there in May. It’s the address on their website, Google, Yelp, everywhere I can find. Google Street View’s newest view is from last September but shows that address as in a row of café-type storefronts (including one that appears to have been posted as for lease at the time). The aforementioned online review includes this exterior photo.

    • Chris August 29, 2023 (12:37 am)

      Ephesus has been open for weeks on Occidental Park right next to Mod Pizza. They are doing great business and it is an easy walk from the C and H and many other frequent buses. 

  • JP August 28, 2023 (8:26 pm)

    Apparently I am the only one who preferred Epehesus after they shifted to Greek cuisine. Really enjoyed the branzino and moussaka. Great tirokafteri, really all the dips were solid. Spanikopita was so so. Enjoyed their selection of dry Greek whites and the staff was generally friendly. Another sad casualty of a dwindling West Seattle restaurant scene.

    • WS Res August 28, 2023 (9:06 pm)

      We went one time this spring, and really enjoyed the food. The garlicky greens were fantastic. I was hoping to take my folks there when they visited – I’m sorry that rent-seeking has claimed another victim.

    • datamuse August 29, 2023 (6:28 pm)

      I liked the new menu all right–and a friend and I enjoyed an ouzo flight there once which was really fun–but must admit I preferred the old.

  • Christine August 29, 2023 (8:17 am)

    Another ugly unimaginative building to replace a small business. 

    • WSB August 29, 2023 (8:44 am)

      There is no development proposal currently for the Ephesus building – I checked the records before writing this story. The site next door has been vacant for more than a decade – its original owner (still the Ephesus site’s owner) demolished the small commercial building with plans of putting up a small mixed-use building but never completed it, then sold that site (NOT including the restaurant site), where nine townhouses are planned (as linked).

      • Christine August 29, 2023 (9:53 am)

        Thank you for making that clear. 

  • April August 29, 2023 (9:23 am)

    I wish Hassan would reopen the old Ephesus! It was the best. We use to go at least once a week. Tried the new place a couple of times and it was awful! The staff, the food, the service was never up to any good standard. Here is to the old Ephesus!!! 

  • Jason August 29, 2023 (12:19 pm)

    We had some pretty terrible food there at Ephesus last time my friends went (last month). New chef I guess. No seasoning on the meat and lots of raw onion that was off putting. The waiter didn’t understand requests for customizing the dish. It wasn’t the same place at all. The did ask for feedback for the new chef, and we provided a couple of helpful tips, but basically it seemed too far gone for hope. Gyro Heroes on Admiral near Starbucks makes a much tastier meal and though it’s super busy and they can be gruff about fixing mistakes, it’s a better deal and amazing seasoning. I’d rather go there any day. The atmosphere can’t compare to Ephesus though. Maybe they’ll move! 

  • CMT August 29, 2023 (3:42 pm)

    Great memories for 20+ years of the old Ephesus as a Turkish restaurant owned by Hassan, who was always gracious.  We hadn’t made it to the restaurant under new ownership and after reading the comments, am glad to preserve my memories.  

  • MacGyver August 29, 2023 (7:43 pm)

    Raise rent, longtime (and reliable) tenant leaves, empty for years, repeat.

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