BIZNOTE: Lily’s Salvadorean Restaurant closes, but Farmers’ Market booth will sizzle on

Thanks to Frank for the tip. Lily’s Salvadorean Restaurant in Luna Park has closed, but Lily’s will continue serving fresh-cooked food at Farmers’ Markets, including West Seattle, and is launching a food truck, potentially based here too, according to the announcement. Proprietor Lily Anaya opened the restaurant at 2940 SW Avalon Way a year and a half ago. The building (owned by someone else) was on the market earlier this year but the listing now has the notation “withdrawn.” Before Lily’s, the building was home to Allyum, which closed after less than a year.

38 Replies to "BIZNOTE: Lily's Salvadorean Restaurant closes, but Farmers' Market booth will sizzle on"

  • Jeff September 20, 2023 (12:56 pm)

    So so so sad!! They were so good. I feel like this building is cursed because I loved Lily’s as well as Chef Ally’s old vegan restaurant that was there. I think a bar would fit well here. Close to transit and the foot bridge. Would nice to get another neighborhood watering hole! Need a late night spot for south Admiral/South Junction/Avalon folks for sure! 

  • JustJedSaid September 20, 2023 (1:00 pm)

    I stopped by 3 times to try this place after it opened, but had no luck. I was too early the 1st time and it was closed during business hours the last two. I gave up. 

    • sam-c September 20, 2023 (2:38 pm)

      Same, tried to get there a couple times, and were turned away.   (tried to go around 7:45p or so, after extra-curricular games had ended and we could make it over there).  Bummed since we heard it was good.  We will have to keep an eye out for the food truck.

  • West Seattle Commuter September 20, 2023 (1:35 pm)

    Very sad, such a tough spot to make work.

    • Harvey September 20, 2023 (3:37 pm)

      I agree. But I’ve been here so long I remember when it was a retro upholstery store. 

  • TJ September 20, 2023 (2:27 pm)

    That’s too bad. Part of what makes this location difficult is that there is no dedicated parking lot and the parking on streets nearby is limited. It’s a difficult spot for people to get to if they can’t walk or take the bus.

  • cat September 20, 2023 (2:27 pm)

    For what it was, their food was way overpriced, and I believe that’s the reason they could not survive.

    • precios altos September 20, 2023 (5:26 pm)

      completely agree!i went the first week they opened in avalon and what they tried to charge me for four pupusas would make any person selling them on the street in el salvador go into shock.

      • Mamasuze September 20, 2023 (6:25 pm)

        Totally agree! We went for brunch and had the chilliquillas and some papusas…..I was shocked by both the prices and how incredibly bland the food was, in particular the papusas. We usually go to the Salvadorean bakery on Roxbury for papusas…..their slaw and spicy hot sauce are spot on. Hopefully Lily’s food truck has better luck! 

        • Gg September 20, 2023 (9:57 pm)

          Totally thought it was bland, too. Where was the seasoning?!

      • KBear September 20, 2023 (7:01 pm)

        Don’t forget to factor in the cost of airfare to San Salvador to pick up your cheap papusas.

      • grocerylist September 21, 2023 (8:14 am)

        I wonder how the rent for a Salvadoran street cart compares to Seattle brick & mortar shop?

    • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy September 20, 2023 (8:40 pm)

      Agreed. The price, and the fact that they were never open when they were supposed to be. And that when I would go in when they were open no one would be in the front of house (just one person to cook and take orders it seemed?). I did go in the early days though. They might not have been full swing yet. Best of luck with your continued farmers market presence all the same! 

  • MK September 20, 2023 (2:53 pm)

    So glad they will live on at the Farmer’s Market where everyone can support them.Hope next tenant will ask the Duwamish to do some kind of cleansing ceremony (given the building’s long history) before proceeding.

  • gingersnap September 20, 2023 (6:09 pm)

    To the folks that think Lily’s was too expensive, folks need to stop assuming that “ethnic” food should be cheap. Salvadoran, Chinese, Mexican, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, whatever foodways, are just as sophisticated and have an equally rich history as French food, they just happen to come from non-white cultures. Rent costs the same, ingredients cost the same, labor costs the same no matter what kind of food is being made. Sorry, but no one can live in Seattle selling food at El Salvador prices. These restaurants should be pricing their food accordingly like any other restaurant and I suggest you consider why you think “cheap” is such an important metric.

    • Josh B. September 20, 2023 (7:15 pm)

      That spot does seem to be somewhat cursed for restaurants though. It’s just a tough location especially for its large size. Maybe another commissary type kitchen space would work better.. I’d love something like Spice Bridge in Tukwila that features ethnic cuisines from multiple vendors all under the same roof but in a more sit down restaurant style. Just a thought…

    • winniegirl September 20, 2023 (7:41 pm)

      thank you! I never see people complaining of prices of italian restaurants and pasta is literally flour and water (sometimes egg).  I’ve worked in restaurants for almost 20 years and it never ceases to amaze me.

      • Morgan September 20, 2023 (8:27 pm)

        This doesn’t counter your point—but I make my own pasta and complain about the cost. $20 for pasta is insane.

      • SlimJim September 20, 2023 (9:01 pm)

        Yo Winniegirl, come to almost any Italian place with me and you will see and hear me complain about the prices. I’m an equal opportunity whiner. It’s sad to see how the price of food, both in restaurant in groceries has skyrocketed. Yes, I understand there are reasons, but that won’t stop me whining – though it has slowed down my dining (out).

        • winniegirl September 20, 2023 (9:27 pm)

          I must have missed all of the posts about the prices at La Rustica and Raccolto…..I would encourage people to think about what Gingersnap said instead of having a defensive response.

          • Whoozya September 21, 2023 (9:25 am)

            Well since LaRustica and Raccolto haven’t gone out of business there haven’t been posts and comments about them. It’s actually *not* a plot in favor of Italian restaurants. 

      • JS September 21, 2023 (5:44 am)

        I am in Italy right now, and the food here is half the price it would be back home. In fact, it seems like we are being overcharged for darn near everything in the states when compared to Europe. 

      • Due Cucina fan September 21, 2023 (8:53 am)

        Yo there. Have you heard of Due Cucina? Their pastas are like $11-15 per plate. Affordable pasta and food can be done. 2 papusas for over $20 is a rip off. In LA  they’re $10.

        • Pasta girl September 22, 2023 (2:22 am)

          GH Pasta opening soon on 35th!!!! So happy to finally have my 2 fave downtown pasta spots -Due and GH – here in WS:)

    • Sam September 20, 2023 (8:14 pm)

      I agree in principle, but lunch at Lily’s, while delicious, was just not enough food and I left hungry. That’s why it felt expensive.  It was priced as a full lunch plate but the amount of food served was not commensurate. 

      • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy September 20, 2023 (8:42 pm)

        Same. It wasn’t the cost. It was the amount of food for the cost. I don’t assume ethnic food is cheaper btw gingersnap.  Bad assumption.

    • flimflam September 20, 2023 (8:18 pm)

      Gingersnap, well said.

      • JS September 21, 2023 (5:46 am)

        Not really. They just made an up an argument about a bunch of baseless assumptions from a short comment. Seems to me they were just looking for a fight.

    • AlkiDreamin September 21, 2023 (10:59 pm)

      well said. 

  • CarDriver September 20, 2023 (6:20 pm)

    To those saying prices were too high. YOU open a restaurant and charge cheap prices and see if you survive.

    • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy September 20, 2023 (8:44 pm)

      That most definitely is the problem. I might not eat at places that are too much money for the food, but I don’t assume the proprietors are necessarily gouging. Things are definitely uncomfortably out of balance for now with the cost of food, space, and labor inflating so fast in a few years. (before folks get it twisted I’m not arguing against wage hikes)

    • SlimJim September 20, 2023 (9:03 pm)

      Food can be expensive, we get that. But there’s reasonable expensive and unreasonably expensive. I never went to Lily’s so I can’t comment on them specifically but there are quite a few places in that 2nd category these days.

      • JS September 21, 2023 (5:48 am)

        And it only gets worse if you order it delivered. 

  • aa September 20, 2023 (9:32 pm)

    Its sad that this announcement of a business closing has turned into an opportunity to lodge complaints. How about some compassion for the owners who worked hard, invested their money, time, and energy into creating  a business and then having to decide to close. People need to remember all the expenses that go into running a business. Recognize that if the food is cheap, the ingredients are too. And the employees are most likely not paid well.  Its like going to a cheap nail salon, if your manicure is $10 how much do you think the person doing it is paid?

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul September 21, 2023 (9:00 am)

    If you want amazing Salvadorian food go to the bakery on Roxbury 

  • Jeff September 21, 2023 (9:09 am)

    Gingersnap is SPOT ON! Wow great post. Non-white culture food should be appreciated as much as French, Italian, etc. and costs should be equal. 

  • Al September 21, 2023 (9:59 am)

    It’s the parking. Not everyone wants to spend a half hour piling the whole family onto a bus or ride bicycles up and down a huge hill in order to get to a restaurant that’s a 4 minute drive from home, and parking there is simply not possible. I’m taking my kids to places that are more accessible for families. It’s just not feasible to run a restaurant in a location that is neither walkable nor drivable. 

  • Sue September 21, 2023 (4:24 pm)

    As a fairly regular customer of papusas from the Liky’s stand in the Sunday Farmers Market, I applaud their diligence and hard work! Most places charge more than $12 for a good lunch. I highly recommend them on Sundays.

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