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Seattle Readies New Round of Small Business Grants Totaling $4 Million

Plus, Bizzarro Italian Cafe plans a second location, and a Japanese steakhouse and sushi chain lands on Capitol Hill

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A bowl of pho with chopsticks from Dong Thap Noodles
Dong Thap Noodles was among early recipients of the city’s small business grants during the pandemic.
Jay Friedman

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Seattle Readies New Round of Small Business Grants Totaling $4 Million

On Monday, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is accepting applications for a fourth round of grants from the city’s Small Business Stabilization Fund. There’s about $4 million in the pool, and grantees get $10,000 each through the fund (OED will accept applications until November 30). This year, the city has invested more in the effort, which existed before the coronavirus crisis began, but was expanded this spring as one of the measures to help businesses endure the rapid economic fallout from the pandemic. Past recipients have included Hood Famous Cafe and Bar, That Brown Girl Cooks, Dong Thap Noodles, and Meskel, and 148 local food businesses received money in the first three rounds in 2020 since the pandemic first impacted the area.

The money can provide a temporary balm, although $10,000 unfortunately doesn’t last long considering the months of lost revenue due to COVID and a lack of more comprehensive relief from the federal government. A couple of past recipients of the grants, such as Zheng Cafe and Cafe Racer, have since closed. But the grants do prioritize applications from businesses with five or fewer employees and from areas that are identified as “high risk of displacement or highly disadvantaged,” according to the OED.

Quirky Wallingford Favorite Bizzarro Italian Cafe Plans Second Location

Known as one of the more visually distinctive restaurants around town, Bizzarro Italian Cafe announced on Facebook it will open a new location soon in White Center. The decades-old Wallingford favorite is part-flea market, part-artist’s studio, part chandelier showroom, with a menu that mixes Italian comfort food with a touch of sophistication, from the elk bolognese with handmade pappardelle noodles to the lamb gnocchi. There’s no timeline yet for the debut of the new location, but it will take over the space formerly occupied by the Noble Barton. The Wallingford restaurant is open mainly for takeout right now, with some limited outdoor seating.

Japanese Restaurant Sumo to Open First Seattle Outpost on Capitol Hill

Mini chain Sumo Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi — which has locations in Wenatchee and Moses Lake — has arrived in town, per Capitol Hill Seattle. The restaurant takes over the Broadway Alley spot recently vacated by beloved sushi spot Ha Na, which closed in August after more than 30 years. It’s unclear how much dine-in service will be emphasized versus takeout, but when at a fuller capacity, Sumo promises to be a lively spot, since the other locations have chefs showing off their knife skills over hibachi grills, with a menu that covers most of the sushi basics. The current outposts in Central Washington seem to have regularly gotten high marks on Yelp from customers.

Bizzarro Italian Cafe

1307 N 46th St, Seattle, WA 98103 (206) 632-7277 Visit Website