One restaurant group with a big Seattle imprint looks to be in dire financial straits. Restaurants Unlimited Inc. — which has headquarters in the city and operates 35 restaurants across six states, including the popular Henry’s Tavern, Palomino, and Cutters Crabhouse in Seattle — filed for bankruptcy on Sunday. According to Bloomberg, the company cited minimum wage hikes in three states (Washington, Oregon, and California), two recent openings that did not fare well, and a general trend away from casual dining among the factors behind its decision. Though Palomino in Bellevue recently closed, the other Seattle-based restaurants will remain open for now. “We will continue to evaluate the performance of all of our restaurants in the normal course of business,” a rep for Restaurants Unlimited tells Eater Seattle. “However, there are no immediate plans for any additional store closings in Seattle.”
While never among the most trendiest restaurants in the city, Henry’s Tavern, Palomino (which has a location downtown), and Cutters all have prime real estate, with the Occidental Avenue Henry’s a popular spot to grab a drink before games at CenturyLink Field and T-Mobile Park (the chain expanded to South Lake Union and Bellevue in recent years). Restaurants Unlimited also runs the waterside seafood spot Maggie Bluffs overlooking Elliott Bay, as well as the gastropub Stanford’s Restaurant and Bar in Northgate, and maintains a strong presence in Portland.
The bankruptcy filing is one way the group hopes to keep its remaining restaurants in business while it works through its money issues. After a failed attempt to sell the company in 2016 fell through, Restaurants Unlimited reportedly has just $150,000 cash on hand and is behind on payments to landlords and vendors. It employs 1,885 part-timers, 168 full-time restaurant staff, and 50 salaried employees at its Seattle headquarters.