Update, 8/2/17: Celebrity chef Tim Love, who owns Kraken Congee, sent Eater a brief statement about the future of the restaurant, reiterating that “there are plans to relocate” Kraken and confirming that its former space is available for lease. “Kraken Congee is a concept I've believed in from the get-go and still think it has a viable future,” Love said. “I commend [Kraken founders] Garrett and Shane for their hard work and contributions and wish them the best on their future plans.”
Update, 7/31/17: In regards to Kraken Congee’s Facebook post that it will relocate, Jesse Smith said of the owners, “It should be mentioned that they have no intention of ever relocating [Kraken] and it really pissed me off that they posted that to try and save face in the public sphere. Those guys have never worked a day [in] that restaurant and without [chef Garrett Doherty] Kraken cannot be reborn. Them lying about it on [Facebook] is really shady and unfair to the fans of Garrett’s food.”
Original story: Two Southeast Asian gems, Salted Sea in Columbia City and Kraken Congee in Pioneer Square, closed Saturday, July 29 — though temporarily in the case of the former, and possibly temporarily for the latter. (The timing, though certainly coincidental, is interesting given that these places have actually popped up together.)
Salted Sea, a haven for oysters, stew, and more seafood prepared beautifully in a variety of styles like Filipino or Vietnamese, posted on Facebook Saturday that it would be closed temporarily “due to a kitchen management change,” with a promise of a reopening date to come.
Kraken Congee, meanwhile, a pop-up that grew into a rare Filipino-focused restaurant known for items like pinch buns, lumpia, and, of course, congee rice porridge, was expected to close for good, as co-founder and chef Garrett Doherty said it was time for him to move on. “Thank you to my staff, friends, and the Seattle community for all their support. And a special thank you to my wife, without her none of this would ever happen,” Doherty said. He said he looks forward to spending time with his family while he considers his next move, and also revealed that his co-founder, Shane Robinson, left their Pioneer Square business a month ago and is currently at Ballard neighborhood bar The Dray.
Jesse Smith, who helped launch Nashville hot chicken joint Sisters and Brothers before joining the staff at Kraken, said he was hoping to turn the subterranean space into a Korean fried chicken eatery within a couple of months. But he said he wasn’t able to work out a deal with the owners.
In a twist, Kraken posted on Facebook yesterday that it’s relocating. Since both Doherty and Robinson have left the company, it seems the future of Kraken lies in the hands of Texas celebrity chef Tim Love, who became a partner and investor in the restaurant after its founders appeared on the CNBC show he co-hosted, Restaurant Startup. No word yet on what a continued presence for Kraken would mean for the restaurant’s two Centurylink Field pinch bun stalls, which were expected to close. This story will be updated if possible.