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Regional Worker Shortage Challenges Seattle’s Booming Restaurant Industry

Plus, Flatstick Pub is expanding to Spokane, Reuben’s Brews opens its second location March 2, and more news

Ivar’s is one of the restaurants struggling with a regional restaurant worker shortage.
Courtesy of Ivar’s

Welcome back to Eater News, a semi-regular round-up of mini news bites. Have info to share? Email intel to

  • A regional shortage of workers looms over Seattle’s booming restaurant scene. From managers to dishwashers, restaurants are struggling to hire for a slew of open positions, which will prove particularly challenging when the busy summer season hits. This past December, the region had around 6,500 openings for restaurant jobs, but fewer than 1,400 people applied.
  • Popular Chinese hot pot chain HaiDiLao will open in Pacific Place this fall as part of the shopping center’s redevelopment. The do-it-yourself hot pot involves several broth bases, proteins, and a sauce bar. There are even performers who dance as they stretch noodles into waiting bowls of soup. The new location will be the chain’s first U.S. location outside of California.
  • Flatstick Pub continues its expansion march with a new location underway in Spokane. The beer and mini golf emporium will open this summer or fall, with 30 beers on tap and food from Ethan Stowell Restaurants.
  • New bakery Icebox creates ice cream cakes with Molly Moon’s ice cream. They’re currently sold at all Molly Moon’s locations in the city, and they’re available for online ordering and delivery. Icebox owner Lauren Burman hopes to open her own storefront before summer.
  • Reuben’s Brews is opening a new brewery and taproom, about half a mile from its current space. The Brewtap will serve as another way for the popular brewery to serve its customers, as well as a streamlined production facility. It opens March 2.

Flatstick Pub

240 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 (206) 682-0608 Visit Website