As stay at home measures ramp up in Seattle due to COVID-19, several restaurants that have remained open are rethinking the takeout and delivery route. In that respect, popular Korean-Hawaiian fast-casual chain Marination announced it was closing all locations temporarily due to public health concerns, saying it wanted to help “flatten the curve.” The Marination Ma Kai flagship restaurant in West Seattle, two smaller outposts Downtown and on Capitol Hill, a food truck, and the Columbia City brunch spot Super Six all have ceased operations for the time being.
Co-owner Kamala Saxton tells Eater Seattle that Marination stayed open for takeout and delivery to keep as much of the team employed as possible after Gov. Jay Inslee’s initial order to close all dining rooms. But a few recent factors led to a reevaluation of the plan. First and foremost was the more recent “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” mandate from Inslee, which Marination is taking to heart. Though Saxton says the restaurant could make sure social distancing among diners was enacted, it proved challenging to keep staff members six feet apart in close quarters, per the CDC’s guidelines.
Saxton also said knowing Congress was about to pass a major federal stimulus package, which expands unemployment protections and benefits, made it a little easier to close out of an abundance of precaution. There’s hope some of those workers may have a safety net until the chain can open again.
Logistically, there was recently another problem as well. The indefinite closure of the West Seattle bridge this week due to structural problems created many headaches for the neighborhood around Ma Kai. It not only cut into sales for the restaurant, but cut off the whole community, in essence.
Even with all these issues, Saxton vows that Marination will be back when things start to get back to normal, and is optimistic about what the future holds. “I love a good fight, overcoming adversity and I’m resilient as fuck,” she says. “When we are able to operate fully, and welcome guests back into our stores, it will truly be one of the happiest days of my life.”
- Marination [Official]
- How Coronavirus Has Impacted the Seattle Food World [ESEA]