Longtime Queen Anne diner and bar Mecca Cafe is now fully under the ownership of David Meinert, a prominent nightlife entrepreneur accused of several sexual assaults.
News broke in June that Meinert — a former producer for the Capitol Hill Block Party — was planning to purchase the 90-year-old establishment. However, it wasn’t a done deal — Meinert still needed a liquor license to be issued for Mecca.
A campaign urging the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to deny Meinert that license was launched, but didn’t succeed. As Queen Anne News noted, authorities can sometimes deny licenses based on criminal convintions. While 11 women made accusations against Meinert ranging from sexual misconduct through to rape in 2018, he never faced charges, even though some of the alleged incidents were reported to police. With no convictions, the accusations against Meinert did not meet criteria for the liquor board to deny a license.
Liquor board records show that the license was approved for mid-September, having been issued to a company named “Queen Anne Diner LLC”, an entity fully owned by Meinert, with Mecca Cafe as the only business in its portfolio. Those documents show that Meinert took control of the restaurant and bar on September 19.
Just before that date, the Mecca quietly closed for renovations as part of the ownership changeover — in recent days, it returned to business. Superficially, little has changed — it seems the diner’s retro interior has mostly been left as it was (with minor additions such as some dubious new artwork apparently showing a biker flipping the bird).
The menu also remains relatively similar, although some parts of the menu have been tweaked towards being “diner food but trendy” (for example, a bourbon-bleu burger or vegetarian Reuben sandwich). Prices have been nudged upwards in a few places — anywhere from $0.25 to a few dollars, depending on the item.
Of course, one thing that has changed is public opinion of the place. While former Mecca owner Karon Hanke said earlier this year that she did not believe the accusations against Meinert (and therefore felt comfortable selling to him), plenty of Seattleites indicated that they would boycott the diner when it was first announced that Meinert was purchasing it.
Calls for boycotts have been quieter in the last couple of months, although since Mecca’s reopening, a smattering of negative reviews on Yelp and Google have surfaced — some complained about the quality of the place (noting that the staff has completely changed at the diner), while others commented directly on Meinert’s ownership. Is it enough to put a dent into Meinert’s margins? It’s probably too early to say.
- Nightlife Impresario Accused of 11 Sexual Assault Incidents Reportedly Buying Historic Bar [ESEA]
- Five women accuse Seattle’s David Meinert of sexual misconduct, including rape [KUOW]
- David Meinert’s Mecca Cafe liquor license decision imminent [Queen Anne News]
- The Meinert letters a bid to deny former Pike/Pine bar owner’s efforts to re-grow nightlife empire off Capitol Hill [CHS]