It’s not every day that a Seattle redevelopment story comes with good news for neighborhood restaurants. But here’s a welcome update: the Chinatown-International District Japanese restaurant Bush Garden, which is closing to make way for a new development, will be resurrected inside a building coming to the current Four Seas Restaurant and Bar site. Bush Garden was the first restaurant in the country to have a karaoke bar, and over the decades it became a Seattle institution. It’s also one of the Chinatown-International District’s oldest restaurants.
The news carries a bit of kismet. Bush Garden was a beloved haunt of Chinatown-International District activist and icon “Uncle” Bob Santos, who died in 2016. The new building that will house Bush Garden—Uncle Bob’s Place—is named after him and owned by the nonprofit he started 50 years ago, Interim CDA. Uncle Bob’s Place will have 126 affordable housing units and ground floor commercial space.
The opening is still a ways off, with Uncle Bob’s Place not set to be complete for another two years. The current Four Seas Restaurant building still stands on the site and is home to Dynasty Room, a semi-permanent bar in the old restaurant’s lounge. Dynasty Room, which won Eater Seattle’s 2018 Bar of the Year, is set to close by the end of July so the building can be torn down.
It all seems like a fitting tribute to Santos, who spent much of his career successfully fighting against the intrusion of non-local businesses and gentrification in the Chinatown-International District. And it’s one bright spot in neighborhood activists’ ongoing fight against new development threatening small businesses and the availability of affordable housing.
- Bush Garden plans new home at Uncle Bob’s Place [NW Asian Weekly]
- Interim CDA [Official]
- Dynasty Room Is a Gorgeous, Temporary Tribute to a Changing Seattle [ESEA]
- Bush Garden to seek new location as site is developed for apartments [IE Examiner]
- At the birthplace of Seattle karaoke, two different visions for the future of the CID [KUOW]