West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to Marisa for the tip. After a days-long closure, Baja Taco has reopened in Jefferson Square, under new ownership (but apparently the same staff). We don’t know exactly how long it was closed after the planned shutdown at the end of November – Marisa’s tip came in yesterday; we went right over to check but it was closed, so we went back today, and found it open.
Thanks for the tip that activity’s been sighted in the empty-almost-7-months ex-Fresh Bistro space on the ground floor of Mural (4727 42nd SW). That’s led to a discovery in city permit files: A site plan for a new restaurant called Agave. Same company that has Mexican restaurants on Queen Anne and on the Eastside? The city file says yes. We’ll be following up to find out more.
Thanks for the tips. We’ve confirmed that Baja Taco in Jefferson Square is closing – as of 4 pm Friday (November 30th). After confirming that, we went over to check on Baja Taco in Westwood Village, where staff told us that their restaurant is NOT closing. (Both Baja Tacos were originally part of the Taco del Mar chain.) This is the second Jefferson Square eatery closure in less than a year, after Subway last January.
If you’re tired of turkey by Saturday, you’ll have a new West Seattle restaurant option: That will be opening day for Gyro Heroes in the former Baskin-Robbins at 4111 SW Admiral Way. We first reported back in April that this eatery was on the way. At the time, they hoped to be open in mid-summer, but invariably, remodeling and permitting take longer, and we finally heard from proprietor Tareq that they are ready to open Saturday (November 24th). He was there a bit earlier this afternoon as they finished up work, so we stopped in for a quick peek. He says Gyro Heroes will be open 10 am-9 pm, seven days a week. No website yet; we’re awaiting a copy of the menu and will add it when we get it.
By request, we call West Seattle restaurants every year to find out who will be open Thanksgiving, for those who just don’t want to cook. Here’s the first take of our list. As always, some caveats – an establishment might change its plan; also, some didn’t pick up the phone and/or return our message. So we expect updates, and we appreciate tips if you find omissions or changes – 206-293-6302 text or voice, or email@example.com. (This is linked on our Event Calendar and in our Holiday Guide, too, for quick ways to find it later. Our guide also includes info on non-restaurant venues with free community dinners on the holiday.)
More than five months after we broke the news that KFC was moving out of 3501 SW Avalon Way and The Habit Burger Grill was moving in, work at the site is finally beginning in earnest. If you pass by the busy 35th and Avalon corner frequently (which we do), you know the building was repainted in the chain’s trademark taupe fairly soon after the KFC closure, but it’s been idle in the months since, even drawing some vandalism. However, city permit files show the project has remained in the works, with a raft of filings in mid-September. We are attempting again to reach the company to see if there’s a projected opening date. The California-based Habit Burger chain opened its first within-city-limits Seattle store in Ballard back in August.
The long-shuttered Morgan Junction restaurant Kokoras now has a notice hanging on the door. (Thanks for the tip!) It’s a letter from an attorney for the building’s owner, to the tenants who took over the restaurant two years ago, alleging they are in violation of the lease. Not a matter of nonpayment, according to the notice, which says the violation is that the building’s been closed and empty and allowed to deteriorate into what the notice describes as “deplorable conditions.” The notice mentions “pest droppings” found recently as well as a gallon of old cooking grease that’s allegedly been left to sit in there for a year. As reported here a year ago, the restaurant abruptly closed, first posting a notice attributing the shutdown to “employee conflict,” then undergoing what a worker we found at the site told us was “remodeling.” The newly posted notice alleges that work was unauthorized. Last January, we noted that a banner appeared outside the restaurant (top photo) with word of a “grand opening” for TeriFresh, the name by which the tenant operated an eatery in Maple Valley, according to what Kokoras’s then-manager told us in 2016. But no opening ensued, and the banner eventually vanished; this week’s notice says the building’s owner also was told of a reopening plan last January that didn’t happen. The notice – dated October 25th – says it’s giving the tenant 10 days to “cure” (fix the problems) or vacate; we’ve checked court files and aren’t seeing anything there yet.
It’s official grand-opening night for Can Bar in South Delridge. We caught up with its owners this afternoon, four months after reporting on what they had planned.
David Gradwohl and James Imonti (along with Joshua Baymiller, not shown) opened the bar/restaurant in what most recently was a bakery at 9427 17th SW.
Take a look at the menu here. The bar is half of the top deck of a 26-foot, half-century-plus-old Owens. Its old steering wheel is part of the decor, too.
Can Bar has hallway photos of what it took to get the old boat in place for the build-out.
Can Bar is adults only, open 3 to midnight Sundays-Thursdays, 3 pm to 2 am Fridays and Saturdays. They plan to add weekend brunch in a few weeks.
Just received from Nadia Khazaal – her family has announced that their acclaimed Alki restaurant Phoenecia will close in two months but is hoping to reopen at a new location, preferably in The Junction. Here’s the announcement in its entirety:
Dear West Seattle Community,
After 25 amazing years on Alki, the Phoenecia family is deeply sad to announce that we must soon close our doors. Our landlords have decided to sell the building to developers, due to some very expensive but necessary building upgrades.
Rather than dwell on sadness, we have chosen to revel in gratitude for the last 25 years of support from our many friends in West Seattle and beyond.
Because it is not over yet…
Many of you remember our late father Hussein Khazaal, who opened Phoenecia in the West Seattle Junction in the early 1970s, not long after moving here from Lebanon. Our father’s love of food, community, and family was the foundation that helped him persevere through countless obstacles—including those that come with running a successful restaurant, as well as two location moves—the last of which brought us these many wonderful years on Alki.
Drawing from his example, we too have decided to persevere. It may take us a while to find the perfect location, but with a little luck, we hope to come full circle and return to the neighborhood where Phoenecia first began: the West Seattle Junction.
Something special just for you…
In honor and memory of our father’s passion, generosity, and perseverance, we would like to offer the following gifts from our family to yours, during the next 9 weeks:
Sundays – half price bottles of our house red wine all day long
Mondays – purchase one bottle of wine, get your second bottle for half price Tuesdays – purchase Mama’s Lamb Shank entrée, get one complimentary pizza Wednesday – purchase any bottle of wine, get one complimentary pizza
Every Day – 30% discount for take-out bottles of wine
Our last day of service will be Monday the 24th — Christmas Eve — with a celebration of gratitude, great food, wine, and the community we love. Be sure to make your reservations soon, as you know how limited our space is.
We look forward to seeing you all over the next 9 weeks. Although we are sad to say goodbye to Alki, we look forward to what the future has in store for Phoenecia.
For updates, follow us on:
Instagram: @phoeneciawestseattle Facebook: @phoeneciarestaurantwestseattle
With love and gratitude, The Khazaal Family
We’ve checked the files and there’s nothing on record yet regarding a development proposal for, or sale of, the building, where Phoenecia’s longtime neighbor Alki Cleaners closed in July, one of a lengthening list of Alki closures.
Six months after we reported Gyro Heroes was coming to the ex-Baskin Robbins at 4111 SW Admiral Way, it’s not open yet, though signage has been up a while. After weeks of going by almost daily in hopes of finding someone to ask “what’s up?” we finally happened onto someone there today. They’re currently awaiting inspections, we’re told, and hope to finally open within a month.
Ever since the first tip that Saigon Pho (2632 Alki SW) had apparently closed, we’ve been checking on it; more than a week has gone by, and it hasn’t reopened. No explanatory/farewell sign, and we haven’t been able to reach the restaurant’s proprietor, but a peek through the window shows furnishings and other items stacked and boxed. While that building’s site has long had a mixed-use redevelopment proposal, newer documents in city files show a plan to expand the neighboring preschool/day care into the building.
Saigon Pho, which opened in early 2010, would be the sixth Alki business to close in a little over a year, along with:
The latter three spaces are all posted with FOR LEASE signs. At the ex-sushi spot (2758 Alki SW), an application is in the city system to add second-floor apartments to the building, as was proposed in 2009.
One of our newest WSB sponsors is Schooner Brewing & Provisions, which is more than a brewery – it’s also a restaurant and deli. Here’s what they would like you to know about what they offer:
Located in the heart of SODO, just a 10-minute drive from West Seattle, Schooner Brewing is a neighborhood brewery serving up delicious hand-crafted beers! Most of the staff call West Seattle home, and the brewery has a long history of involvement in the West Seattle community.
Independently owned and operated for over 11 years, Schooner Brewing offers everything from classic Northwest IPA’s and Lagers, to Barrel-Aged Sours and Farmhouse Ales. House favorites include Hopvine IPA, 3 Grid IPA, King Street Brown Ale, and SODO Lager. Longtime head brewer Joel Stickney enjoys experimenting with different hops and barrel-aged sours to consistently offer new and unique options. Schooner’s commitment to the craft is unwavering, and guests can taste the time and energy that goes in to every pint.
The tap list features 20+ options ranging from Schooner beers, draft Washington wines, house-brewed spiked seltzers from San Juan Seltzers, and Timber City Ginger Beer, a non-alcoholic beverage made in the South Park neighborhood.
The dinner menu showcases a variety of large plates and shareable appetizers such as Chicken and Turkey Bahn Meatballs, Beer Cheese Dip with Giant Soft Pretzel, Chicken & Waffle Sandwich, The Schooner Burger, Asian Noodle Salad, a Build-Your-Own Dirty Fries menu, plus a variety of seasonal dishes highlighting fresh, in-season produce. Dinner and snacks are available in the brewery from 3 p.m. to close daily.
Happy hour is offered Monday-Friday 3-5 p.m. and features $3 select pints and $2.50 King Street Brown Ribs. Schooner Brewing’s weekend brunch is served Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and offers dishes such as Biscuits and Gravy, Chicken and Waffles, Fresh Veggie Scramble, and Seasonal Pastries.
Schooner Provisions, the adjacent lunch deli, offers hot and cold made-to-order sandwiches, fresh salads, fish and chips and more, Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The brewery is family-friendly, with a shaded dog-friendly patio. Guests are encouraged to enjoy their custom-made shuffleboard table, giant Jenga, Thursday night trivia starting at 7 p.m. and other various events held at the brewery. Schooner Brewing is also a great setting for your next private event or party, with up to 75 people easily accommodated. For private event inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org
Schooner Brewing and Provisions is located at 3901 1st Avenue South. Schooner Provisions is open Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The brewery is open Monday-Thursday 3-9 p.m., Friday 3-10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Weekend brunch is served Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Happy hour is Monday-Friday 3-5 p.m. To learn more, visit www.schoonerbrewingseattle.com or call 206-432-9734.
We thank Schooner Brewing and Provisions 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 4709 California SW storefront that Great Harvest Bread Co. is vacating (as reported here Tuesday) won’t be vacant for long. This morning, we spoke with one of the West Seattleites who own Flying Apron and plan to open their third bakery/café in that space.
Angela Cough and husband Jeff Silva already have two West Seattle businesses – Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (4410 California SW) and Shack Coffeehouse (2920 SW Avalon Way) – but their first business, Flying Apron, is in Fremont and Redmond. Now, they’re expanding it close to home, and Angela tells WSB they’re “very excited.” If you’re not familiar with Flying Apron, it’s a gluten-free, vegan bakery and café – sweet and savory items. Angela says they had long been looking for a West Seattle location and discovered the Great Harvest proprietors were looking for someone to take over the space. The Flying Apron café will be “casual dining,” counter-ordering with seating or takeout. They’ll offer soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, lasagna, etc. – all “100 percent gluten-free and vegan” – and when Flying Apron is up to full speed in West Seattle, they hope to have an “even more robust” variety of bread offerings. Custom cakes, too, even wedding cakes. “Our goal is food access … giving (people who have food sensitivities) the opportunity to enjoy things they loved” even before they changed their diet. Full-service coffee, too, “similar to what you’d find at Hotwire and The Shack.”
Once they open – no later than January, Angela says, though they hope to at least have part of the operation going during the holiday season (it will likely take them a little extra time to convert the space because it needs to be thoroughly cleaned for the transition away from wheat and other ingredients Flying Apron doesn’t use) – their hours will likely be similar to their current Flying Apron cafés, in the 8 am-7 pm vicinity. And they’re glad to be able to keep the Junction space in local hands: “I was born and raised here – really, never left – so for me (especially) it’s a big deal. We’re very well-rooted in this community – our kids go to Genesee Hill Elementary,” and they support local nonprofits.
They promise a community “launch party” when the West Seattle Flying Apron is ready to go. “We’re going to do our best to open as fast as possible.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Alki Homestead‘s neon sign is back atop the landmark log building by the beach.
Among those there to watch as Western Neon returned it this morning were Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive directors present and past, Jeff McCord and Clay Eals:
And the couple who just announced they will open the restaurant Il Nido at the Homestead, Chef Mike Easton and Victoria Easton:
The return of the sign – which Western Neon says it will illuminate tonight – is the latest milestone in the restoration of the former Fir Lodge since Dennis Schilling bought it in 2015. The sign came down in July 2016. SWSHS helped Schilling obtain a grant to partly fund the restoration.
Work to restore the building, which was operated as a restaurant until a fire did major damage almost 10 years ago, continues. After news that the Eastons would open a restaurant – sibling to their popular Il Corvo in Pioneer Square – we talked with him to get more details.
To be sure you’re clear, Schilling will continue to own the building – Il Nido will be its major tenant. Easton explains that he and his family have lived in West Seattle for three years, near Lincoln Park: “We are so happy to live there.” Ever since moving here, the Eastons have been looking for a WS location to open a restaurant. “There’s not a whole lot of commercial real estate [suitable for a restaurant] and whatever does come up is always sort of a handshake – none of the good spots never really hit the market. I had the good fortune of someone mentioning the Homestead was getting restored and would eventually be looking for a restaurant.”
So he found Schilling and introduced himself about a year ago, and the rest is history. It wasn’t an immediate click, though. “It initially seemed to be such a big project, just how much restoration needed to happen – I wrote it off as more than I wanted to do. But the building sort of has a haunting effect on you. Ever since the first time I looked at it, I was unable to stop thinking about doing a restaurant there.”
After meeting Schilling, Easton walked through the Homestead. “As striking as the outside was, the inside was what really struck me – the look and feel.” He’s seen some of the old photos “and the burned remnants.” As noted in the first coverage of his plan, the famous stone fireplace will be restored.
On to the restaurant itself. Since Il Corvo downtown – which has been open for seven years – is lunch only, and Il Nido will be dinner and brunch, he will be involved with both. But Il Corvo “needs less and less of my attention,” he says. “We have an incredibly good team,” led by Chef David Crutcher, and, says Easton, he primarily just checks in.
He’s looking forward to being able to do more and different things at Il Nido, since Il Corvo is so focused on chuning out “well over 300 bowls (of pasta) a day in four hours – we make almost 100 pounds of pasta every morning.” There are “handmade shapes” that he looks forward to making for dinner at Il Nido without having to hit the scale of Il Corvo; “we’ll be able to invest more” at the new restaurant, with a price point higher than Il Corvo’s “selling a bowl of pasta for just under 10 dollars … we can’t have an army of people making tortellini” at that rate.
Another difference: While Il Corvo has something different daily, Il Nido’s menu will change a little less often. As previously mentioned, seasonal produce will heavily factor into it.
In case you were wondering about parking – the lot adjacent to the Homestead will be available for the restaurant, Easton confirms; the SWSHS Log House Museum will continue to use it too, and since its hours are noon-4 pm Thursdays-Sundays, that’s mostly a non-overlapping time, but “we’ll negotiate how to share on the weekend” when Il Nido is open for brunch.
Now, it’s on with restoration and preparation, in hopes of a spring opening. We ask what’s left to do inside. “Everything!” laughs Easton. “It’s still quite a bit of a construction site. Dennis and his son Matt are doing an outstanding job on the restoration,” which includes bringing it up to all current codes – sprinklers are included.
“My wife and I are just very excited to take this on – she is a very big part of our business. I’m not the solo talent.” She handles “everything that isn’t cooking,” he adds.
As for him – this will be the next exciting development in a restaurant-industry career that goes back to his very first job at age 16. So Chef Easton brings a long history to a new venue in a building with history.
The transformation will be chronicled on Instagram at @ilnidoseattle.
ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: The sign, lit!
(WSB photo, 2013)
Almost 10 years after a fire shut down the Alki Homestead, its food future has been announced. Not fried chicken. Just out of the WSB inbox:
Mike Easton and his wife Victoria are expanding their Italian reach to West Seattle. The couple has taken over the old Alki Homestead and is turning it into an Italian dinner destination near the shores of Elliott Bay.
Il Nido, which means “the nest” in Italian, will join the Easton flock, complementing the brisk lunch service at Pioneer Square’s Il Corvo (“the crow”) with a more substantial sit-down, family-friendly dinner experience in a historic log cabin that has been feeding the West Seattle neighborhood for generations. “It’s going to be sort of our permanent, home-base restaurant,” says Easton. “The nest just seemed to make perfect sense.”
The iconic Alki Homestead was initially built as a residence in 1903. It transitioned into a family restaurant in the 1950s and earned landmark status in 1995. In (January 2009), a fire shut down the old structure, which remained untouched until 2015 when it was purchased by Dennis Schilling, who began the long restoration process.
“We really want to try to bridge the gap between the 100-year-old feel with a little bit of the 21st century,” says Easton. That includes beautiful live edge, chunky full slab tables supplemented by more modern chairs and fixtures throughout the 3,000 square-foot space.
The signature river rock fireplace in the main dining room is getting rebuilt to its original standards. And an intimate bar with half a dozen seats will be added to the front lounge area. At Il Corvo, we tried to create a space that wasn’t stuck in any time period,” says Easton. “Il Nido should also have that timeless feel.”
In addition, the original neon art-deco Alki Homestead sign will be reinstated atop the restaurant after a successful refurb by Western Neon (this Thursday).
The menu at Il Nido will be absolutely Italian, driven by market produce. “I really like to create a menu that makes vegetables truly shine,” says Easton. It’ll also be a place that will allow Easton and his crew the opportunity to create a bit more of the delicate, intensive handmade pastas that they just haven’t had time to make. “You don’t see tortelli or ravioli on the menu at Il Corvo very often because it would take an army of people to make enough to put it on as a lunch special. Thankfully, we’re so busy, we don’t have the time to do that.”
As for when Il Nido will be open for business, Easton says it all depends on the restoration process. “I’d love to see it open in time for spring, but that’s a pretty ambitious goal.”
Il Nido will be open for dinner five nights a week, along with weekend brunch.
Our archive of Alki Homestead coverage is here. That includes coverage of the 2009 fire, the subsequent changing of ownership, celebration of the building’s history including the 2015 “group hug” photo, and the removal of the aforementioned sign for restoration two years ago.
The Swinery co-owner Kim Anne Léveillé wants to be sure you know the shop/eatery is taking a break starting this Friday: “We will be closed for vacation on August 31 and will re-open on September 7th.” The Swinery’s been open almost 9 years at 3207 California SW.
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.