[Photos: S. Pratt]
Brad's Swingside Cafe, the venerable Italian restaurant that opened its doors in 1990, will close early next year. Rebekah Denn at The Seattle Times broke the news, reporting that owner Brad Inserra is finalizing the sale of the Fremont Ave. building. The decision to sell comes after Inserra, "faced too many financial pressures to keep resisting offers to buy the property, between aftereffects of the recession, a near-fatal case of H1N1 a few years ago that left him hospitalized for a month, and a divorce."
Eater checked in with Inserra last year. Before Brad's, he says the space housed several short-lived restaurants, including a "country French peasant place" owned by two women:
I came to have lunch, I sat in the corner, and for about 15-20 minutes I wasn't getting served. I finally asked the people next to me if you got service here, because it was lunch — you gotta eat it and beat it pretty much — and they said, "No, you have to get it yourself." You basically had to go in the kitchen and cook it yourself.
Inserra took over the space in 1990 and lives above the cafe, putting in 70 hour (minimum) work weeks.
You have to have a love and a passion for [this business] and I do, and that's what keeps me going. That's my ticket to success. I care immensely about what I do here. As much as I did when I opened this place, maybe more so because I don't take it for granted as much. If you feel burned out [on this business], get out of it.
Brad's will close for the final time in February and be replaced with apartments or condos. After the new building with ground floor retail is complete, Inserra will have an option to reopen, telling Denn, "There's a chance, a couple years down the road if I choose to, I can come back with another new business, with a spiffy new space."
· Brad's Swingside Cafe counting down its final months [ST]
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