Cantina Leña has closed just one month after residents of the Martin Apartments where the Tom Douglas restaurant is located complained about poor ventilation from the cantina's 16-foot roasting pit. Douglas tells Eater:
We have paused the Cantina to try and solve the exhaust issues rather than continuing to have the residents of the Martin Building deal with it. If we were a small restaurant group we might not have been able to do that but we are not. It was the right decision while we work to fix the problem.
Our Neighbors have been very patient while we tried all the fixes we and the exhaust scrubber manufacturer could think of. We think the food and beverages are delicious and hope to reopen asap.
The roasting pit is similar to what's used at Miller's Guild and other restaurants. Nikki Sprinkle at Seattle Weekly spoke with Tom Douglas's assistant Brittany Pollard about the quick closure:
Though no lawsuit was pressed, the tenants, she said, were "complaining loudly" and felt like "there was a fire going on all the time." As a result, "We chose to shut down now because we have no interest in making anyone's home uncomfortable or making anyone sick, especially at the holiday."
Pollard says staff made the call to shutter Leña and open a new concept in the space in spring of 2015. Plans are also in the works to re-open Lena in a "non-residential space."