West Seattle, Washington
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.
Thanks for the tips! Until 4 pm, it’s “soft open” day at Oh’s Sandwiches (3217 California SW), where the menu above is hanging over the counter and Linh is busy behind the counter:
She says their regular days will be Mondays-Saturdays, so being open today is truly a special occasion. And they’re offering a deal:
You probably recognize this now-iconic mug – known best to hold the Mai Tai at West 5.
The West Seattle Junction restaurant/bar is one of our newest WSB sponsors, and we’re officially welcoming them in this week when we all celebrate what’s local as Summer Fest approaches.
This is a big year for West 5, celebrating its 15th anniversary in the spring. Co-proprietor Dean Overton explains that the idea of opening a place grew out of the closure of the old Admiral Benbow. He and business partner Dave Montoure thought that the neighborhood needed a good bar that kept the spirit and flavor of the neighborhood alive. Since Dean and Dave are both West Seattle born and raised, they thought they were suited to bring that idea to life.
Once they secured West 5‘s location in the Junction, Dave and Dean stocked the place with items from some of the other former West Seattle establishments, such as the giant plaster ship painting, which came from the old Vann’s (now the Maha).
West 5‘s signature lighted crown in the rear of the restaurant came from the time when the space was a bowling alley.
Looking back, Dean says he and Dave were ahead of the curve in trying to bring a great establishment to the Junction. (One that happens to be TV-free!) Over time, they believe that they’ve been around this long because they let the community have a say in which direction West 5 would take. While that’s meant some changes to the menu – don’t worry, some faves like the legendary mac and cheese are still there! – and drinks, it also creates a sense of togetherness for both the patrons and staff.
As always, West 5 will have its outdoor café for Summer Fest next weekend, starting Thursday night with the Yadda Yadda Blues Band. But you are welcome to visit any time of year – 4539 California SW – lunch, dinner, drinks, and/or weekend brunch.
We thank West 5 for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
The filming was secret – aside from a telltale red car out front – but now Pizzeria Credo in The Junction has announced you’ll be able to see the restaurant’s appearance on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives next Friday (July 6th) at 9 pm. The episode title is “Playin’ Chicken” and while the online synopsis doesn’t mention the West Seattle stop, there’s a featured recipe from Credo – Tagliatelle Bolognese Sauce.
Thanks to Holly for the tip! That banner has gone up over a Revel live-work unit at 3217 California SW [map], announcing that Oh’s Sandwiches is on the way, with Vietnamese sandwiches and coffee. Checking it out after that tip, we spotted someone doing exterior work this afternoon. They told us they’re hoping to have the shop open next week; Oh’s hasn’t finalized its hours yet but for starters it’ll probably be morning through late afternoon.
By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The South Delridge area will see the arrival of a new neighborhood bar and restaurant later this summer, with Can Bar set to sail into the stretch of 17th Avenue SW between Delridge and Roxbury.
David Gradwohl says he and his partners — Josh Baymiller and James Imonti — are hoping for a mid-July open of their nautically themed bar and restaurant, with an eye toward being able to meet the community during White Center Jubilee Days (July 18-22).
The “Can” in Can Bar is a reference to the prominent role canned beer will play in the bar’s offerings. While there will be six taps for draft beer and a full bar, there will be no bottled beer available.
This is both a closure and coming-soon tidbit from White Center: CTO, aka “Chinese Takeout,” has closed in the Beer Star/Lil’ Woody’s building at 16th SW/SW 98th – but the space won’t be empty for long. The CTO webpage announces, “Beginning on Monday, June 25th, we will be opening Southside Pizza, featuring whole pies, slices, and pizza joint classics that will have something for the whole family. Chef Manny is bringing his years of working with pizza to White Center and we’re excited about this new beginning.” Southside has menu info (minus pricing) on its in-progress website.
Admiral McDonald’s owner/operator Alia Abboud got to show off her newly remodeled restaurant to special visitors today. With her above is King County Council chair – and Admiral resident – Joe McDermott, there in honor of the official grand re-opening celebrating completion of the project we first told you about back in April. First the exterior work was done, including the drive-thru, and then the interior, so the restaurant could stay open throughout the project.
New ordering kiosks are part of the interior, but they haven’t replaced the human touch – you can order at the counter if you prefer. If you’re dining in, your order will be brought to the table, joining other fast-food restaurants in that service-delivery mode.
Other visitors there for the grand opening included McDonald’s government-relations manager Ian Tolleson and regional brand-reputation manager Lindsay Kirsh-Rainey. Abboud also owns the Morgan Junction McDonald’s, which eventually will get an overhaul too; no specific timeline yet. (The White Center McDonald’s, which has different ownership, also recently got the high-tech revamp, but in that case, the entire restaurant was rebuilt from the ground up, not just remodeled.)
When we stopped by Vine & Spoon on Thursday to confirm the plan to open tonight, they were in last-minute prep mode and suggested we return for photos once they were open. So we did. Above, the wide view, a dining area with a garden vibe, including trees. That’s carried forward in some of the cocktails, including the “watering can” pitchers for the table to share, accompanied by flower-pot-style mugs:
Counting the bar – the only 21+ area in Vine & Spoon – and the “raw bar,” there’s room for about 112 people, we’re told by Matt Mead of F2T Hospitality, parent company for Vine & Spoon and nearby Alchemy (WSB sponsor).
But the two are offering completely different atmosphere and menus – as Mead puts it, while Alchemy is “dark and moody,” Vine & Spoon is “light and airy.” It’s open until 10 tonight at 4706 California SW [map] – and will be open only for dinner for a few weeks, then adding lunch and brunch.
Almost two years after we first told you Vine & Spoon was on the way to The Junction – it’s finally about to open. 5 pm tomorrow (Friday, June 1st), the restaurant on the west side of Junction 47 at California/Alaska will serve its first patrons. We just confirmed this by stopping in after a tip that the paper was off the windows after all these months; we had noticed recently that they were hiring, which suggested opening was imminent. Vine & Spoon will be “serving fresh farm-to-table cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails.” Opening night is by reservation only; preview the dinner menu here.
We just confirmed – after getting a tip late last night (thanks!) – that the West Seattle KFC (3501 SW Avalon Way) is shutting down. Staff there told us this morning that next Saturday (June 1st) is scheduled to be their final day. While the quarter-acre site is zoned for potential mixed-use development – NC3-65 – city files show another fast-food franchise is planning to take over: The Habit Burger Grill, which has 200+ locations nationwide. The Southern California-rooted chain announced four years ago that it had signed a Seattle-area franchisee to add more than two dozen restaurants in this area; so far, the closest one is in Tukwila. The West Seattle site plan shows a renovation on what appears to be the same footprint as the KFC, with the drive-thru staying (the company’s recent quarterly report mentioned an increasing interest in drive-thrus). No timeline or other details, but we’ll do our best to track down the franchisees. Meantime, if you are a KFC fan, starting Sunday, your nearest one will be in White Center (10050 16th SW).
(UPDATED FRIDAY AFTERNOON with tally, vote winners)
THURSDAY NIGHT: Dozens of West Seattle food and beverage providers provided bites and sips tonight to help the West Seattle Helpline keep up its work, centering on preventing homelessness and other emergency assistance. It’s work that warms the hearts of those who do it:
Above are First Lutheran Church of West Seattle‘s Rev. Ron Marshall from the Helpline board, with Judi Yazzolino (right) from the West Seattle Food Bank and Judi’s niece Amie Edmondson. Among the taste providers, many WSB sponsors, including Leslie Thomson from Dream Dinners in The Junction (where you put together meals and take them home for cooking later):
The team from Metropolitan Market:
Pecos Pit was offering tastes of their “sticky sauce”:
From Mission Cantina, mango salsa:
The sign said it all for Salty’s on Alki:
West 5 is famous for its mac-and-cheese, which Dean and Sidney were serving up out on the patio:
Circa is known for its gumbo:
And what’s a repast without wine? Viscon Cellars was pouring:
The Westy was on the event’s lineup card too! We’ll be following up with the Helpline for the Taste tally tomorrow.
ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Fundraising total was $70,000, reports Layla Al-Jamal Judkins from the Helpline. And the winners of the voting by attendees:
Best Sip: Cafe Osita
Best Sweet: Bakery Nouveau
Best Pour: Beveridge Place
Best Taste: Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes
Thanks for the tips. We just confirmed that West Seattle Junction restaurant Fresh Bistro has closed after nine years. Proprietor BJ Duft talked with WSB by phone. He opened Fresh Bistro on the ground floor of Mural (on 42nd SW across from Jefferson Square) almost exactly nine years ago. He said there are multiple reasons they decided to close – last night was their final night – but didn’t elaborate; he said he’s grateful for “nine fantastic years” and that they appreciate the community support. Since the building was new when Fresh Bistro opened, they were the first restaurant in the space; what’s next? That’s up to the building’s owners, Duft said.
Thanks for the tip. Luna Park Café confirms they’re unexpectedly closed for the rest of the day/night because of water trouble. They explain that Seattle Fire was doing some hydrant testing nearby and that left them with brown water that’s not expected to clear for some hours, so they had no choice but to close. They hope to reopen for regular hours at 7 tomorrow morning.
Thanks to Pamela Rogers for the photo and report:
Longtime Manager/Head Chef Kim Anne Leveille and lifelong West Seattle resident (WSHS 2007) Sous Chef/Butcher Danny Rogers are ecstatic to announce West Seattle Swinery is now employee-owned!
Kim has managed and run the front of the store for over seven years, while Danny has been behind the scenes butchering, smoking and grilling some of the neighborhood’s favorite meats. On the corner of California and Hanford, the West Seattle Swinery is a one-stop shop offering a meat market, grilled burgers, specialty sandwiches, and deli products. The Food Network’s Grill Dads recently featured the Double B (bacon and belly) sandwich and Danger Fries.
Kim and Danny are looking forward to continuing to provide West Seattle with the family environment that is at the heart of our community, celebrating good food and good friends! Stop by and say hello (or Bonjour to Kim).
Today we’re welcoming one of our newest WSB sponsors, Whisky West in Morgan Junction! Here’s what they would like you to know about their business:
Whisky West is a local, family-owned business, operated by Colin and Donna Pickering, who have called West Seattle home for years. After owning and running the Whisky Bar in Seattle’s Belltown, they decided to open a new location a little closer to home.
Whisky West, conveniently located just north of the corner of Fauntleroy Way and California Avenue SW, specializes in whisky, craft cocktails, and good bar food. Colin hails from northern England, where the cuisine has a distinct British flair. Fish & chips, scotch eggs, and meat pies are all standard fare. Whisky is by far not the only standard; the bar boasts 20 rotating beer taps and an exquisite bottle program. Whisky West is proud to feature trivia, whisky tastings, and the occasional music.
As a family-owned place so close to home, the Pickerings’ main goal is to have a comfortable, laid-back place for anyone to hang out and unwind. While there are well-executed craft cocktails on the menu, the bar and staff are not pretentious; it’s the perfect place to stay, and have fun with old friends and new.
The space has changed a lot over the years, from its humble beginnings as a local hardware store to the more recent Feedback Lounge. Since the Pickerings took over the spot, opening in July 2016, the inside has changed considerably, adding lots of light, large windows that can open to the great outdoors in summer, to the warm wood covering the bar, perfect for cozying up in winter. With a local charm and down-home feel, we hope to make you part of the family for years to come!
We thank Whisky West for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Quick note about the overhaul at the Admiral McDonald’s (3003 California SW) – when we first reported on the project a week and a half ago, when the drive-thru was closed and the lobby was open, owner/operator Alia Abboud told WSB the situation would reverse when the exterior work was done. She confirms that started today – so the lobby is closed, the drive-thru back open. They’re still also offering mobile and delivery orders.
Thanks to Andrea for the tip about a sign on the door at Zaw Pizza announcing its closure – we went over to check, and that indeed is what we found, as you can see above. The take-and-bake pizza shop opened its West Seattle location in the 35th/Fauntleroy strip mall in October 2013.
Thanks for the tips about remodeling under way at the McDonald’s in Admiral (3003 California SW). This is the first week of a six-week overhaul, inside and out, owner/operator Alia Abboud told WSB during an interview at the restaurant this afternoon.
First – the drive-through is closed right now but the lobby is open (and if you don’t want to go in, you can still order via mobile – it’ll be brought out to you in the parking lot – or home/office delivery via Uber Eats). In a few weeks, depending on how things go, the partial closure will be reversed – the drive-through will reopen when the exterior work is done, and the lobby will close for a few weeks, Abboud told us.
If you’ve seen the recently rebuilt McDonald’s in White Center – this will be a lot like that, though this site is getting a remodel, not a rebuild. It’s part of the corporation’s Experience of the Future initiative, and will include a two-sided ordering kiosk inside, similar to these:
No, that won’t mean job cuts, says Abboud, who employs “close to 40 people” at this location – she says she’s actually adding people, so that there will be an employee to assist people with the kiosk. The seating area and restrooms will get “extensive” upgrades, too, as will the lighting – energy-saving conversion to LED, inside and out – and the menu boards for the drive-through. Since the site is small, it will continue to have a single drive-through lane, with no revision of traffic patterns planned.
“We hope the neighborhood will like it,” says Abboud, who also runs the Morgan Junction McDonald’s, which she says is in line for the overhaul within the next two years. Other aspects of the restaurant already have been evolving, not the least of which includes the chain’s move to use fresh beef, which, Abboud points out, required a change in various procedures. The modern-look remodel also will be accompanied by new uniforms, a “brand-new experience for everybody” – workers as well as customers.
McDonald’s regional media liaison tells WSB that 155 restaurants in the Pacific Northwest region (which also includes Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana) have upgraded to the Experience of the Future, and almost 200 more will do so before year’s end. Six of the overhauled locations are in the Seattle area.
Today we’re welcoming Admiral District restaurant Circa as a new West Seattle Blog sponsor! Here’s what proprietors Gretchen and Bill would like you to know about their restaurant, now celebrating 20 years in business:
We are the perfect microcosm of West Seattle. We’ve been in the Admiral District for 20 years! We have plenty of regulars who have been here since year 1. We have 6 amazing servers who have been at Circa well over 10 years and plenty of new, wonderful staff. But, people aren’t eating at Circa because of its longevity – they keep coming back because our food is consistently great.
We make just about everything in house – sauces, gnocchis, cake, gumbo, and hand-formed burger patties. Everything we source is of the highest quality: Painted Hills beef, all-natural chicken and lamb, fresh produce. We are a “New American” restaurant so we have a little something for everyone. Some of our house favorites over the years are our killer meatloaf with veal demi-glace and red potato mashers, steak salad, pork mole enchiladas, 8 oz. hamburger on Macrina brioche. We have casual food (great fish and chips) to upscale regional (shrimp grits with caviar butter). I could go on and on.
We have also always been very kid-friendly with a variety of kid meals and a small library and toy box for kids to raid when they arrive. Circa was my 3 boys’ favorite restaurant growing up and I’ve loved that they felt welcome there. You should have seen the look on their faces when we told them we were buying it 2 years ago! That being said, we also have a beautiful bar to sit at. 14 beers on tap, a good wine selection, and full cocktail bar. All bias aside, Circa is the perfect neighborhood bar and grill. You will feel welcome and leave very satisfied.
Repeat Circa patrons say: Don’t EVER change your steak salad, meatloaf, or chocolate cake. Seriously, we hear it all the time! Trust me, I wouldn’t touch those recipes with a 10 foot pole. Having been a server here for over a decade before becoming an owner, I know what NOT to touch :) I also can’t tell you how often over the years we have customers tell us about a big life event that Circa reminds them of, whether it’s a chance meeting with a future spouse, an oasis during a tough time in life, an aging grandparent’s favorite meal, even a new mom’s water breaking! Our bar and longtime bartenders are a favorite draw for those looking to just slip out of the house and feel welcomed and relax. These small things in life are what so many of us need to recharge. Circa has provided that for so many, for so long. It is a great source of pride for all of us who turn Circa‘s wheels.
Here’s how else Circa supports the community: Having 3 kids in this community we donate considerably to nearly all of the schools in the immediate area. We’ve also done fund drives for different causes, including staff. If anyone has a group we could contribute to or benefit from … give me a ring! (206-923-1102)
Circa is at 2605 California SW, open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
We thank Circa for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Two followup food-related notes this afternoon:
WHAT’S GOING IN AT THE EX-BASKIN ROBBINS: Since noting the disappearance of Admiral Baskin-Robbins 3 months ago, and the fact it had been on the market, we’ve been watching for signs of something new. Finally those signs emerged recently – work crews, equipment removal, window-papering, reader tips. No permit filings on record but after going by daily and talking to workers there today, we have a bit of info: They say it’s going to be a restaurant with Mediterranean food, to be called Gyros Heroes, and that they hope to be open in about three months. More details when we get them.
WEST SEATTLE PRODUCE: 3+ months after the much-loved produce-and-more business closed at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW, forced out by impending redevelopment, it has yet to find a new location. We checked in this week after noting that they had hoped to announce a new location by spring, and we are now two weeks into that season. WSP’s reply: “We have not found a home yet. It’s been tough trying to find a place that will work for us in the area but we have not given up.”
After a little over two years, Marée Bistro and Bar (2820 Alki SW) says it’s closing in eight days. Thanks to Travis, a patron who is saddened by the news, for forwarding the restaurant’s e-mail announcement:
With heavy hearts, we are announcing the closure of Marée Bistro. Our last night of service will be March 31st. We want to thank everyone for all their support over the last 2+ years. West Seattle is truly an amazing community!! Please come in and see us off in the next week. Enjoy some food and libations and say goodbye to Marée with all of us!
As a few of you know, we cook all our dishes on induction and do not have a hood. Through growth of the business, we feel that we cannot sustain, expand or elevate the quality of Chef Andy’s cuisine. We hope to serve and see all of you again in another venture.
Andy & Megan
Marée opened in February 2016 in the space that had been vacated two months earlier by Cassis, where Marée co-proprietor Andy Dekle had been executive chef. Before the two restaurants, the space had housed the Alki Arts gallery/event venue for three years.
Three anniversaries in biznotes tonight:
WEST 5 CELEBRATES FIFTEEN YEARS: Tonight’s West Seattle Chamber of Commerce After Hours event was held at West 5 in The Junction to honor the popular restaurant/bar for turning 15 years old recently. That’s co-proprietor Dave Montoure at center, who co-founded West 5 with Dean Overton; also in our photo are Chamber board chair Pete Spalding and CEO Lynn Dennis. Dave is a past board chair and West 5 (4539 California SW) is a longtime chamber member.
LUNA PARK CAFE TURNS 29: It’s a week of celebrating at Luna Park Café (2918 SW Avalon Way) – if you haven’t seen the marquee yet, they’ve added birthday-cake shakes to the menu for the occasion:
You can read the café’s backstory here.
ARTHUR’S TURNS 1: The Admiral restaurant/bar will celebrate its first anniversary next Wednesday, and shares this announcement:
It is with great pleasure that Arthur’s announces their first anniversary of business here in the North Admiral district of West Seattle! We have been overwhelmed by the support of our neighbors, friends, and family and to celebrate we’ve organized a day of giving back. Please join us on Wednesday, March 28th as we celebrate the exact date one year ago that we opened our doors — with $3.28 house red and white wines, $3.28 lamb and vegetarian sandwiches, and $3.28 Lagunitas beers. AND, Aussie meat pies! As we give back to the neighborhood and family that has been so kind to us over the past year, we would ask to extend that giving spirit to our neighbors who may need it more than us. Please bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank—food, diapers, clothes, et cetera — and Arthur’s will match the donations in cash.
Thank you so much for all the wonderful kindness and support over the past year—we are so happy to contribute to the amazing network of bars, restaurants, and retail spaces that make up the North Admiral district of West Seattle.
Arthur’s is at 2311 California SW.