Among a published list of enticing dining additions planned for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was a sushi bar from sustainability-minded chef Hajime Sato of West Seattle’s Mashiko restaurant. But in a strange twist, it turns out Sato is not, in fact, planning an airport outpost.
The port’s list of new restaurants includes “Kio Shi Sushi Bento – Made to order Japanese food by Seattle master sushi chef Hajime Sato.” But Sato wrote to Eater saying, “I have never heard of this restaurant and have nothing to do with it.” He added, “No, I have never been in talks with SeaTac about anything. This is completely a surprise to me. It worries me because I have worked hard for my reputation, and I am in no way involved with this restaurant.”
Eater reached out to the port for comment, and a representative says the Kio Shi Sushi Bento addition was published in error. Heartbreaking news for anyone excited about filling up on Sato’s unique brand of strictly sustainable sushi, which has landed Mashiko on the Eater 38.
Meanwhile, Ivar’s continues its battle to appeal the Port of Seattle’s decision not to renew the fish house’s restaurant in the central terminal. That movement has seen the launch of an online campaign called Keep Ivar’s at Sea-Tac that allows fans to send a form letter to port commissioners decrying the decision. So far, the petition has more than 9,000 signers.
Last week, the port commission held a meeting that included a period of public testimony. Ivar’s encouraged fans to turn out to express their displeasure with the Port’s decision not to renew, and some customers gave impassioned testimonials.
Ultimately, the Port says, Ivar’s simply didn’t submit a strong enough application to win its spot back. The Port is reviewing the appeal but indicates it’s not likely to overturn the decision.
“Winning bidders were selected through a rigorous, thorough, fair evaluation process with seven rating criteria including background/experience, concept, unit design, financial/rent proposal, management/staffing and operations, job quality/workforce development, and small business participation,” the Port’s representatives added. Anyone wishing to dive into the particulars can view the public disclosures (including winning applications) on the Port’s website.
Ivar’s many claims include a lengthy statement positing that the evaluation panel wasn’t qualified and that the scoring process was flawed. The Port says it hopes to release Ivar’s bid soon, which it says will show that Ivar’s went over well-established page limits; any information included in the overages is not eligible for review.
Taking Ivar’s place will be Lucky Louie Alaska Fish Shop, which will be operated by chef Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish. Coincidentally, Dish D’Lish’s lease, like Ivar’s, is not going to be renewed. Also, like Ivar’s, Dish D’Lish can compete for a new space elsewhere in the airport. The Lucky Louie application, and its scoring rubric, are available here.
Among the other newcomers headed to the airport are Li’l Woody’s, Good Bar, Macrina Bakery, and Cafe Ladro. The full list is available here.