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Sea-Tac Offers Ivar’s a Food Cart Olive Branch

And the Port has changed its application process

Robert Karma/Flickr

The kerfuffle between the Port of Seattle and Ivar’s over the local seafood chain’s Sea-Tac Airport lease seems to have come to an amicable end. Yesterday, the Port offered Ivar’s an olive branch of sorts: Ivar’s will be granted a food cart to replace its lost restaurant lease, and the application for new vendor bids has been revised.

After the Port of Seattle announced a slew of new vendors approved for the airport earlier this month, news broke that Ivar’s Fish Bar, known for its chowder and fish and chips, hadn’t won back its prime spot in the Central Terminal. Ivar’s then attempted to appeal the Port’s decision, launching an online campaign called Keep Ivar’s at Sea-Tac that allowed fans to send a form letter to Port commissioners decrying the decision.

Ivar’s released a lengthy statement positing that, among other issues, the evaluation panel wasn’t qualified and that the scoring process was flawed. The Port said Ivar’s application had several weaknesses, including going over well-established page limits; any information included in the overages was not eligible for review.

Ultimately, the pressure from Ivar’s and its fans seems to have made a difference: Changes to the application process, which will be implemented for the next round of bids this summer, include the addition of points for customer preference and customer service and points earned for “creating a Northwest Sense of Place.” Ivar’s says it is planning to bid in the next round.

The Port also said that it is offering Ivar’s (as well as Wendy’s and Maki of Japan) a food cart or kiosk alternative to temporarily replace the restaurant when it closes in early 2018 for the terminal’s renovation.

After the renovation, which will add 10,000 square feet of space, Ivar’s will be replaced by Lucky Louie Alaska Fish Shop, which will be operated by chef Kathy Casey of Dish D’Lish. Coincidentally, Dish D’Lish’s lease is not going to be renewed either, but the company can compete for a new space elsewhere in the airport.

Among the other newcomers headed to the airport are Li’l Woody’s, Good Bar, Macrina Bakery, Salt and Straw, and Cafe Ladro. The full list is available here.