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BIZNOTES: Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday treats in West Seattle

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday – if you’re looking for tasty ways to celebrate here on the peninsula, here’s what we have so far:

CIRCA FESTIVITIES: The owners of this Admiral restaurant/bar (2605 California SW) have strong ties to New Orleans, so it’s a big day. We asked co-proprietor Gretchen what’s planned – her reply: “Big special menu for Tuesday, plus Hurricanes will be flying. Music and decor.” Reminder, Circa is now open earlier, as reported here three weeks ago – 9 am, seven days a week.

BAKERY NOUVEAU ‘POP-UP’: The beloved bakery‘s locations (including 4737 California SW in The Junction) are all Fat Tuesday-focused tomorrow. Here’s the announcement:

March 1, 2022 will be our 2nd Fat Tuesday Pop-Up Shop! All 3 cafés will be open from 7:00am – 1:00pm on Tuesday, selling exclusively Mardi Gras products.

You can stop by any of the 3 shops and pick up the following items:

– Pączki (chocolate, raspberry, lemon, vanilla & apple caramel)
– King Cake
– Muffuletta
– Twice-Baked Croissant


Anyplace else? Please let us know so we can add!

On White Center Now: Vegan pizza, from the founder of Full Tilt Ice Cream

Even more food news tonight – Justin Cline, who founded Full Tilt Ice Cream in downtown White Center 14 years ago, just announced he’s adding something new at the same storefront: Elder Gods Pizza, which will serve vegan pizza, Detroit pan style. Pre-ordering starts tomorrow. The story’s on our partner site White Center Now.

BIZNOTES: TACOntainer changing; No-Name Diner no more; West 5 auction

Three food-biz notes:

(WSB photo, January 2021)

TACONTAINER CHANGING: Thanks to Kathy for the tip. After 13 months, TACOntainer – the taco stand in a small repurposed shipping container at 2530 Alki Avenue SW – is closing. But the container is staying. Proprietor Victor explains, “We’re concluding our TACOntainer operations due to family reasons, unfortunately. This will be our last week for now. We might open a few more times before mid-March but that is uncertain at the moment. Our friends (another Mexican food vendor) will take over our spot and the name will change and the concept will change, but the container will stay.” Victor says there should be more news on that in mid-March, and if his family situation allows, “We hope to be able to come back in a year or so.”

NO-NAME DINER NO MORE: Just down the street, at 2738 Alki Avenue SW, the No-Name Diner has closed. We noticed a sign on the door recently that said “closed for remodeling.” But according to a social-media post, the restaurant closed at the end of January, with proprietor Renae explaining, “A good friend named Vittor and our chef Shawn, along with a small team, will be starting up a whole new concept for a restaurant, and The No-Name Diner will be no more.” The location has gone through a long list of concepts since the sudden closure of Alki Bakery there in late 2010 – before No-Name, it was It’s BBQ Time in the Kitchen, which followed Alki Chicken and Waffles, which was preceded by B’s Po Boy, and before that Fatburger from fall 2013 to early 2017, following Bada Bistro‘s less-than-five-month run, after two years for the Beachside Café.

3 MORE DAYS IN WEST 5 AUCTION: When West 5 in The Junction announced its closure, there was mention of an auction. That auction is happening online right now and has three days to go – with items including its most-famous signage, indoors and outdoors:

Dozens of other items too, as shown here, where you can bid until 8 pm Friday.

BIZNOTE: Lee’s Asian Restaurant has a closing date too

With the redevelopment project at 4508 California SW getting ready for construction, both restaurants on the site now have closing dates. We’ve already reported on the impending closure of Kamei Japanese Restaurant – which set March 15th as the date a few days ago – and now we’ve confirmed the plan for Lee’s Asian Restaurant next door. It, like Kamei, has been in The Junction for 20 years, and Lee’s tells us they’ll be closing at the end of March. (Thanks to Tom for the tip; we went by to confirm today.) The future mixed-use building also includes the vacant storefront that previously held Naked Crepe. The new development finished going through Design Review more than two years ago; it was described at the time as a project with 58 apartments, 12 lodging units, 17 underground parking spaces, and ground-floor retail space. City permit files indicate demolition and construction could start as soon as April. It’ll be the first major construction project on California in the heart of The Junction since Junction 47 and 4730 California were built 7+ years ago. (Image: Google Maps Street View)

BIZNOTES: Of closures past and future

Three quick notes:

NO MORE SEE’S CANDIES: The temporary See’s Candies shop at Jefferson Square extended its stay until Valentine’s Day, but tonight we noticed that it’s officially gone, with a thank-you note on the door.

The Jefferson Square website lists the 1,400-square-foot space as “available.”

BED BATH BEYOND’S FINAL DAY: When the Westwood Village store’s closure was announced after Christmas, no date was given. But now the countdown is on, and posters in the windows are even announcing how many days are left. We stopped in today to ask; February 26th is the last day, they told us.

KAMEI STILL OPEN: You might recall that the Japanese restaurant at 4512 California SW announced back in October that it would close “early this year.” But so far, into the second half of the second month of 2022, they’re still open. So we asked this week if they have a date yet. Short answer, no – they’re awaiting an update on the development plan for the site. (The most recent construction plan in city files suggests that work could start as soon as April.)

(FRIDAY UPDATE: Commenter Michelle C. posted a photo of a sign that’s gone up since our conversation earlier this week – it now says the closing date will be March 15th.)

BIZNOTE: West Seattle restaurant for Lily’s Salvadorean

2940 SW Avalon Way, until recently the home of Allyum, has a new tenant – someone you might already know from the West Seattle Farmers’ Market: A liquor-license application this week revealed that Lily’s Salvadorean is taking over the space. A note on the window confirms it:

The note promises Mexican food as well as Salvadorean. Founder Lilian Anaya Quintanilla‘s business is more than a decade old. We briefly made contact at the market today, where Lily’s booth was very busy as usual, and we’re working on a followup conversation for details.

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: West 5’s final days

Gary Potter (proprietor of longtime WSB sponsor Potter Construction) sent the photo, suggesting West 5 fans might need a reminder that the Junction restaurant/bar is about to close after 19 years. As reported here on January 31st, tomorrow (Saturday, February 12) is its last announced day/night. In the photo, from earlier this week, is, L-R, Gary with West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s board president Dawn Leverett, West 5 co-founder Dave Montoure, Josh Sutton from the Greater Seattle YMCA, and Todd Carden of Elliott Bay Brewing. If you’re planning to visit before it closes, hours are 11 am-10 pm.

FOOD BIZNOTES: Ezell’s opens, Circa adds breakfast, Gigi’s Café progress

Three biznotes from the West Seattle food world:

EZELL’S OPENS: Can’t miss the balloons all around the newly opened fried-chicken restaurant at California/Fauntleroy. After more trial runs over the weekend (as covered here), they’re open for business today.

CIRCA EXPANDS HOURS: As Circa (2605 California SW) celebrates 24 years in business, they’ve sent word they’re expanding hours: “To celebrated, we are opening for dine-in breakfast and brunch at 9 am 7 days a week for the first time in our history. We’ve had weekend brunch forever, but not weekday breakfast. This week we have $5 Bloody Marys to celebrate the occasion.”

GIGI’S CAFE: Chef Gino Williamson says his plan for a restaurant in the current Super 24 at Delridge/Findlay is moving along and he expects to be in the building in about two weeks. As we’ve reported previously, he’s naming it after his daughter Gianna. He’s continuing to sell food from his mobile business TheHomeSkillit.com until then at 5441 Delridge Way SW and says he’ll be there afternoons/evenings daily through Friday.

BIZNOTE: Ezell’s Famous Chicken West Seattle ‘soft opens’ Monday (and, intermittently, sooner)

Thanks to Troy for the photo. The new West Seattle location of Ezell’s Famous Chicken is on track for the “early-to-mid-February” opening they told us about two weeks ago. The note on the door describes Monday (February 7th) as the “official” opening; a company spokesperson tells WSB they’re considering it a “soft open,” so hours etc. may vary. Whatever you call it, they’ll be selling chicken in two days, 13 months after we first told you about the plan to take over the space on the southeast corner of California/Fauntleroy (official address = 4205 SW Morgan), and a month-plus after the New Year’s Eve “sneak peek.” It’ll be the first fried-chicken-chain restaurant to open in West Seattle since KFC closed at 35th/Avalon in 2018.

ADDED 2:14 PM: They’re apparently having unannounced soft-open bursts before then, too. Kersti reports in comments that the next one is at 4 pm today.

4:05 PM: Big line, report Kersti and others. (photo added)

4:40 PM: Regular hours, once they’re officially open, will be 10:30 am-9 pm weekdays, 10:30 am-10 pm weekends. (Sunday update: What’s now posted online since then is slightly different.)

BIZNOTE: Sunfish is open again on Alki

Thanks to Tom Trulin for the tip and photo! Sunfish has reopened on Alki after an extended hiatus, usually an annual tradition for the fish-n-chips-and-more restaurant. Haven’t been there before? 2800 Alki SW.

BIZNOTE: West 5 closing after 19 years

1:34 PM: Thanks to the many people who emailed and texted about this: West 5, the beloved restaurant/bar in the West Seattle Junction, is closing after 19 years. From the email West 5 sent out at midday today:

Last Call
Closing Saturday, February 12th

Until then: Mon-Sat 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Fixtures & Auction Preview 2/13 Fruit Cocktail Collectables

Thank you, West Seattle
The uncomplicated story is, we lost our lease and after eighteen years we must say farewell to the old Speedway and Hobby Shop on California Avenue. Covid and omicron brought haste to our closure and sadly took away options for future revival. Thank you West Seattle, and beyond, for your support of this modest venture. It’s been a ride.

Looking Back
West 5 Opened as a “Non Smoking Cocktail Lounge”, the first of its kind in Seattle, Feb 8th 2003.

Our only televised event was West Seattle Little League’s appearance in the 2018 LL World Series Regionals.

Since opening, we’ve served up (give or take) 24,738 Mai Tais, 31,968 orders of Mac N Cheese and 17,298 BLTs.

Through the years we’ve tried to remain true, through trend and folly, as a “great place to meet,” a quaint conceit, badly bruised by two years of unpredictability.

Thank you for gathering under our crown to create and provide memories.

Great Neighbors and Partners
We are thankful for our deep community partnerships: WS Senior Center, WS Food Bank & Helpline, Chamber, Historical Society, ArtsWest, our local schools and many others. Thank you for continuing to make WS special.

And to our five-star peers in the WS indie restaurant community – you know who you are – thank you. Keep serving it up and signing those checks. The end to perpetual pivot is right around the corner.

The email goes on to thank current and past employees, and then continues:

We have some fun old and new school stuff to sell off. Much of it will be available via Online Order as well as in-store starting 1/31. You will see a few blasts from the past, get ‘em while they last.

Grab a tee shirt or two when you’re in for that final Mai Tai or picking up a To Go order of Mac N Cheese. We could really use the revenue (hint, all tips go to employees).

Memories, Tall Tales, Lost & Found
Got something to say? We’ll do it old-school. Here’s a place to drop a memory, share a story or settle a score. We may or may not reply, connect you to that “I Saw You” crush from 2005, or find a way to stitch together a storybook. But not a podcast, we promise. Never a podcast.

WEST 5 Memory Hotline

(recorded messages only)

West 5 was founded by West Seattle natives Dave Montoure and Dean Overton. We featured some of the backstory in this 2011 report about the establishment’s 8th anniversary.

5:56 PM: Commenters asked about the lease situation and the space’s future. The building is owned by Tom Henry, former proprietor of JF Henry & Co. retail store (which was at 4445 California SW). Reached by email, he told us:

(We) heard about this the same time everyone else did. His current lease option is actually up in August and since he chose not to renew, we were not surprised about his announcement. West 5 has been an incredible tenant and a long-time loved business. We firmly believe that vacancies are not good for the business community, so we have plans for a great new tenant coming this year.

BIZNOTE: Reopening night for Dumplings of Fury

(WSB photos)

Tonight is the official reopening night for Dumplings Of Fury in The Junction! Thanks to Morgan for the tip after DOF soft-opened last night – proprietor Ben Jenkins then told us that after continuing the soft-open into lunchtime today, they would officially reopen for dinner tonight. Three weeks ago, he told WSB that DOF was “super close” to reopening in its expanded space at California/Oregon – months after closing for what at the time was expected to only be a matter of weeks.

Tonight the restaurant will likely stay open a bit later, until 10ish, and then they’ll decide when to open tomorrow, but by Sunday they’re expecting to settle into the regular 11 am-9
pm hours (closed Mondays). What’s new, besides the expanded space? Potstickers and a gluten-free Szechuan sauce, we’re told. (Added) Here’s the menu:

BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Checking in on West Seattle Ezell’s

(WSB photo, last month)

Three and a half weeks have passed since the “sneak peek” day at the future Ezell’s Famous Chicken location in Morgan Junction, but it still hasn’t opened. “Late January” was the likely timeframe mentioned then, so since that’s arrived, we asked the company for a status. Reply: “At this point, our timeline has shifted and early-mid February is our new target.” So in case you were wondering too, now you know. We first reported a year ago that the regional fried-chicken chain was headed this way.

P.S. As listed on our West Seattle Jobs Offered page, they’re still hiring.

BIZNOTE: Why West Seattle’s Taco Time closed early and might have to do that again

From health to hiring, various challenges have kept some businesses from being able to stay open all their regular days/hours lately. That even goes for chains. Last night we got a couple questions about why West Seattle’s Taco Time was closed much earlier than usual. So today we asked parent company Taco Time NW, whose spokesperson Gretchen Weidemann replied: “Unfortunately, our manager in charge yesterday evening cut themselves and required medical attention. We could not quickly find a replacement, so we chose to close for evening so they could be taken care of. They are doing much better today! We may be closing earlier than usual tonight and Sunday night, but should be back to our regular hours starting on Monday. We appreciate everyone’s patience!”

GRATITUDE: Chef Gino says thanks. Plus, a bit more on his restaurant plan

(WSB photo)

As previewed here, today was the day Chef Gino Williamson of The Home Skillit served up lunch/dinner to the community to help raise money for his plan to open a restaurant. We stopped by for a quick photo before his event wrapped up – he was busy! But he emailed late tonight with this message: “Please thank everyone that came out today and supported. I haven’t felt that good in a long time. It is awesome and reassuring that our community is also a caring community. I’m happy to live here.” He’s raising money for rent and renovations to open Gigi’s Café – named for his daughter – just south of where he was serving food today/tonight, in the building that’s currently the Super 24. (That building has a new owner as of this month.) He has 45 days to amass the funding. If you missed the chance to try his food and support his plan, Chef Gino will be back at 5441 Delridge Way SW to do it again next Thursday (January 27th), 2-7 pm.

BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Gyros on Alki Avenue now open

Six weeks after we first mentioned Gyros on Alki Avenue was on the way, it’s open. After a tip from Tina (thank you!), we went down to verify.

The space at 2716 Alki Avenue SW was home to Phoenecia until December 2018 (they of course are now in The Junction). Gyros on Alki Avenue will be open 10 am-9 pm daily, seven days a week. No website but here’s the menu board – click the photos for a closer look – note they have coffee, too:

(There’s also a delivery-site version of the menu online.) The former Alki Cleaners site next door is still vacant; our followup inquiries to the people who had tentative plans for a market have gone unanswered.

SCHOOLS: 2 ways to participate in ‘dine-out’ benefit for Genesee Hill Elementary

We continue to spotlight school fundraisers, and the next one is coming up Sunday – with a pre-ordering option too. Here’s the announcement sent to us:

We are inviting the community to join the Genesee Hill Elementary Dine-Out fundraiser hosted by Lady Jaye this January 23 from 2 to 7:30 pm. If you are interested in a $50 Take and Bake special serving 4, order here by Friday, January 21 at 5 pm. If you’d rather be in person, reserve a table on the heated patio or indoors before it’s too late!

Online ordering/reservations are strongly recommended. 20% of all sales on this day will go to Genesee Hill. This includes takeout, dine-in, gift cards, drinks, the Take and Bake special, and even a one-of-a-kind Genesee Hill special to-go cocktail!

Lady Jaye is at 4523 California SW in The Junction.

BIZNOTE: Delridge chef is serving up lunch/dinner Thursday to help realize his dream

The gas station/mini-mart at 5441 Delridge Way SW is where you can get lunch/dinner tomorrow (Thursday, January 20th) and help a chef get closer to making his dream come true. Gino Williamson runs The Home Skillit, catering and selling dinner, from a local commissary kitchen but is working toward his own restaurant – Gigi’s Café, named after his daughter Gianna. To raise money for expenses including renovations and rent, he plans a “community feed” 2-7 pm Thursday. He says he’s been giving to the community, donating meals to people in need (as noted on his flyer for this event and his website), and now he needs a boost.

BIZNOTE: Yes, Dumplings Of Fury will reopen

It’s the #1 question we’ve gotten lately – when is West Seattle Junction restaurant Dumplings Of Fury reopening? They’ve been closed for eight months while working on an expansion into the California/Oregon corner spot next to their original space. Paper is off the windows in the expansion space, further sparking passerbys’ curiosity. So we checked in with co-proprietor Ben Jenkins, who replied that they’re “super close – have one more permit hurdle to pass.” But he doesn’t have a firm reopening date yet “because in this biz it’s tough to predict.” Nonetheless, he adds, they’re “excited to open!” (The expansion space at 4461 California SW was formerly Many Moons Consignment.)

BIZNOTE: ‘Sneak peek’ day for Ezell’s Famous Chicken in West Seattle

(WSB photos)

Ezell’s Famous Chicken CEO and co-founder Lewis Rudd is at the new Morgan Junction location today as they open their doors – briefly – for a community “sneak peek.”

It’s been almost a year since we broke the news of an early-stage filing for Ezell’s to move into what was then an AT&T store. Then last month, the signs went up. And now they’re almost ready to open – so they’re doing a trial run, selling food until about 4 pm today (or until they’re sold out).

That’s the West Seattle restaurant’s manager, Kristy – she and her team have some logistics to keep working on, so Ezell’s tells us that while the store may look ready to go, it won’t officially open for a few more weeks (no official date set yet).

Ezell’s is a 37-year-old Seattle-based company with 17 locations in Washington and Oregon – this one (southeast corner of California/Fauntleroy) will be its 18th. Here’s what they serve.

WEST SEATTLE HOLIDAY GUIDE: Still adding holiday dining, shopping info

Lots of questions this weekend about who’s open for Christmas Eve/Day dining. As we’ve replied, we used to make that list early, and then found out on the holiday that establishments had changed their plans since we checked. So we’re working on the list now. If you run a restaurant or coffee shop, please take a moment and let us know your plans – westseattleblog@gmail.com. What we have so far is in the CHRISTMAS EVE/DAY section of our West Seattle Holiday Guide. Also, we’re featuring last-minute shopping hours for local businesses in the SHOPPING SPOTLIGHTS section – thanks to those who’ve already sent their info – we’ll add whoever else we hear from, same email address! Christmas Eve hours in particular, but we’ll also note special days/times in the next four days, too.

Duke’s Seafood at Alki Beach: Welcoming a new West Seattle Blog sponsor, with a deal for you

Today we welcome a new WSB sponsor – locally owned Duke’s Seafood at Alki Beach. Here’s their message for you:

People often ask, why come to Duke’s Seafood over any other seafood restaurant in town and our answer is simple, because we know where nearly every ingredient in our food come from. Most restaurants can’t say that, but why should you care?

Partners and father/son, Duke Moscrip (right) and John Moscrip (left), and our Executive Chef, Wild Bill Ranniger, personally source the ingredients in the food we serve – yes, really – and it is local when possible, sustainable, free of harmful chemicals and preservatives, and gluten-free when possible.

Why do we go to this extreme? “Decades ago, I started going to Alaska and I actually fished with the fishermen, not just tour a processing plant. I actually wanted to know how they caught the fish, what they did after they caught them, like did they take care of them, bleed this fish, ice the fish, and keep them cold all the way through the processing. I found out that not every fisherman does it right. So, we only buy from the people who handle the fish the way that we want and to our strict standards, and as a result, we get the most incredible fish,” says Duke Moscrip.

“That’s when I started my quest to only buy from trusted suppliers who understood the proper way to care for fish. I didn’t know it back then, but the standards we set back then are now the industry standards for all quality commercial fishing. True story!,” he adds. “There I was, just one guy who only wanted one thing: great-tasting fish, only to end up setting the standard for the industry.”

We did not stop at fish. We go to the produce fields, the chicken farms, the wineries, even to our exclusive Bourbon supplier, Woodford Reserve. Everything we serve must meet our strict standards to be good enough for Duke’s Seafood or it doesn’t make it onto your plate – ever! Plus, every dish is so flavorful because of the ingredients and the special recipes we developed for Duke’s Seafood.

“I dream about food,” says Duke. He describes flavorful dishes made of crazy combinations: blueberries with goat cheese on grilled salmon, or tarragon and citrus in a salad, or hazelnut syrup, melted butter, and halibut encrusted with crushed macadamia nuts. “In fact, sometimes I drive my Executive Chef, Wild Bill, crazy by sending new dishes back again and again until we get it right. We spend hours and hours in the kitchen together perfecting every recipe.”

“’Wild’ Bill Ranniger is the executive chef; an amazing guy. “He puts up with all my crazy ideas. For the past 23 years, he’s made stuff happen in our kitchens. He’s inventive and creative and we get along so well from a creative standpoint as well as being good friends. But he produces amazing food,” says Duke.

Duke’s Seafood is offering a very special deal through January 22, 2022: Spend $50 and get $10 off your meal. Spend $100 and get $20 off your meal. Reserve today at www.dukesseafood.com.

We thank Duke’s Seafood 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.

FOOD NOTE: New West Seattle place for brunch

Though West Seattle recently lost a brunch place when Café Mia closed, if you’re looking for weekend brunch, you have a new option right around the corner. Seattle Fish Company has announced that it’s now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, 9 am-noon. “The menu includes Classic Eggs Benedict, Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Shrimp and Grits, Avocado Toast, Mimosas, and more!” says Sacha at Seattle Fish Company, which is at 4435 California SW.