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Seattle’s Biggest Food Stories of 2019

The most-read news articles of the year, from the sudden closing of Blue C Sushi to the arrival of an Iron Chef

A view of the conveyor belt at Blue C Sushi, with edamame and pork gyoza displayed.
The conveyor belt chain Blue C Sushi suddenly closed all locations last January.
Blue C Sushi/Official

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s worth looking back at the year in restaurant and food news to see where Seattle has been — and where it’s going. These are the stories that found the most traction with readers, from shocking closings to much-hyped arrivals (yes, even for a certain apple). Time for a quick trip around memory lane.

  1. The sudden closing of Blue C Sushi: Early last January, conveyor belt seafood chain Blue C Sushi — which built a loyal following through its playful, family-friendly atmosphere — stunned the local restaurant world by announcing the closures of all its locations in the Seattle area and LA. A deeper dive later this year revealed a series of poor management decisions and long-term infighting that led up to its demise.
  2. Tom Douglas plans to close three of his spots inside Via6: The latter part of this year was not too kind to many of the area’s most prolific restaurateurs, as both Ethan Stowell and Douglas announced the pending closures of several popular places within the past month. Together with a $2.4 million class-action lawsuit Douglas recently settled, the next moves for both industry titans will be a story to keep an eye on in 2020.
  3. The quietest restaurants in Seattle: Area diners have consistently complained about the pervasive cacophony in the restaurant scene over the past few years. So it’s probably no surprise that a recent noise survey from the app company SoundPrint at 2,300 Pacific Northwest restaurants garnered a lot of views. Notable restaurants on the quiet end of the spectrum are Cafe Juanita, Canlis, India Bistro, and Tilikum Place Cafe.
  4. Morimoto’s striking new ramen destination opens: After a year of anticipation, “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto’s Momosan Seattle opened in September, across the street from Uwajimaya in the International District. It’s the third outpost of Morimoto’s ramen and izakaya restaurant, and the first in the Pacific Northwest. Though critical reviews have been mixed, the massive place with an encyclopedic menu of ramen, izakaya, and sake continues to draw crowds.
  5. Washington’s Cosmic Crisp apple arrives after multimillion-dollar hype: Just a couple of weeks ago, Seattle-area supermarkets were among the first in the country to receive shipments of the much-heralded Cosmic Crisp, reportedly the first apple bred exclusively in the region and one backed by a $10.5 million marketing budget. Was it worth the buildup? Well, many will no doubt appreciate the combination of sweetness and durability (as it’s a hybrid of Enterprise and Honeycrisp varieties) — but fruit is fruit.
  6. ‘Friends’-themed coffee shop opens in Capitol Hill. Ah, who doesn’t love a nostalgia-based pop-up? In September, The Lounge by AT&T in Capitol Hill transformed into Central Perk, the iconic coffee shop from ‘90s TV sitcom Friends, in celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary — and it continues its run throughout the holidays. Menu items include a Buffay Latte, and a Don’t Move to London Fog, perfect for Gen X’ers and Millennials who have experienced the show mainly through Netflix.
  7. Fancy H Mart store debuts in South Lake Union: Eater Seattle readers loved reading about H Mart news this year, whether it was the arrival of the popular Korean grocer’s new location Downtown (after years of delays) or this upscale offshoot, District H. Inside are many of the delightful snacks and produce H Mart is known for, as well as new mini food court options, including a grill station, steam station, and a robust bakery. Customers can also buy socks with K-Pop stars on them.
  8. The Mountaineering Club opens with spectacular views in the U District: One of the biggest early-year openings was the Graduate Seattle hotel’s polished rooftop bar, Mountaineering Club. The indoor and outdoor seating areas boast unimpeded views of the city and the mountains from the perch in the University District. Plus, there are self-contained s’mores making kits presented in a coal tin, and some stellar cocktails.
  9. Restaurants Unlimited Bankruptcy shuts down several Seattle restaurants: The bankruptcy filing by Seattle-based company Restaurants Unlimited had a major ripple effect this year. At least five restaurants owned by the corporation closed, while one was sold to new owners. Bar and grill Henry’s Tavern (in South Lake Union, SoDo, and Bellevue) was the most notable closure, along with the Southcenter location of steak chain Stanford’s and Downtown Italian restaurant Palomino.
  10. One of Seattle’s brightest voices in the cocktail and restaurant industry, Rocky Yeh, dies at the age of 42: Just last week, the Pacific Northwest hospitality community mourned the loss of Yeh, one of its most vibrant personalities, whose generosity, impact, and knowledge of spirits was immeasurable. Canon owner Jamie Boudreau perhaps put it best, “Rocky’s smile is eternal, his glass perpetually bottomless, and he will be sorely missed by anyone who had the good fortune to meet him.”

Henry's Tavern SLU

501 Fairview Avenue N, Seattle, WA

Blue C Sushi

468 Southcenter Mall, , WA 98188 (206) 277-8744 Visit Website

Mountaineering Club

4507 Brooklyn Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98105 Visit Website

Momosan Seattle

504 5th Avenue South, , WA 98104 (206) 501-4499 Visit Website