Sad news for those looking for good meatless dining options in Seattle. Travelers Thali House — the popular all-vegetarian Indian restaurant that has been in Beacon Hill since 2011 — recently announced on its official Facebook page that it will be closing soon. June 1-2 will be the final weekend of service for the restaurant, known best for its vegetable-filled thali platters: small stainless steel bowls filled with combinations of butter dal, smoky mashed eggplant, fried okra, and other Indian specialties.
Travelers first started in Capitol Hill in the late ‘90s as a tea shop, then moved to Beacon seven years ago, converting a residential house into a full-fledged dining room. This gave the place an intimate, comfortable feel — but the food has always been the main attraction. Savory dishes — such as the crispy gol gappa filled with diced potatoes, tamarind chutney, and spicy pepper water — earned Travelers a spot on Eater Seattle’s Incredible Indian Restaurants and Best Vegetarian Restaurants guides. The Seattle Times once praised its asparagus tarkari and samosas, while last year, Seattle Met gave the restaurant high marks for having “the most interesting vegetarian fare going in Seattle.”
But it appears that certain circumstances over the past several years made it difficult to sustain the business. Co-owners Allen Kornmesser and Leon Reed wrote a long, detailed explanation on Travelers’s official website about the upcoming closure, referring to Kornmesser’s prior health problems, a contentious rent situation at their previous location in Capitol Hill, and the accumulation of burdensome debt. But the note ends with gratitude for the restaurant’s many customers and employees, and reveals that the Travelers brand will still remain active, selling Indian spices and teas online and wholesale. Another restaurant will take over the space, though its identity is still unknown. (Eater Seattle reached out to Travelers for further details, but had not received a response by press time.)
In a city that has steadily improved its roster of quality Indian and vegetarian spots over the past decade, it’s unfortunate to lose a mainstay like Travelers. Meanwhile, Beacon Hill’s dining scene — more robust in recent years with the additions of Homer, Corte Fino Mexican Cuisine, and others — now has a vacuum to fill. Thankfully, there are still a couple of weeks left for fans to indulge on those thalis and say a proper goodbye.