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Before Luc and Loulay, There Was Rover's

Remembering dearly departed Seattle restaurants.

Steven Santiago/Flickr

Rover's, which looks like a modest house in a Madison Valley courtyard, got its start as an amateur chef's weekend hobby; his day job was headmaster of the nearby Bush School, and the trustees finally pressured him to pay more attention to his schoolwork. Enter Thierry Rautureau, a Frenchman from Los Angeles looking for a new adventure, and for the next two decades Rovers became Seattle's temple of foie gras and formal French dining.

Thierry (who goes by the nickname The Chef in the Hat) eventually opened Luc, a less formal bistro around the corner, then succumbed to the siren song of downtown Seattle: he opened Loulay, a dazzling cafe in the Sheraton Hotel. Rover's passed into history; it is now home to Ayala, Seattle's only vegan Thai restaurant.