From cake shops to large pizza chains to high-end restaurants and a few bars, a good portion of the Seattle dining scene decided to pause service this weekend altogether, or reduce hours because of the oppressive heat wave. In Seattle, the mercury hit 104 degrees on Sunday, June 27, setting a mark for the hottest day on record, and establishments that didn’t have air conditioning (and even a few that did) made adjustments out of safety concerns.
Beacon Hill’s popular Filipinx restaurant Musang canceled all reservations on Saturday and Sunday, while Eden Hill in Queen Anne and Georgetown bakery Deep Sea Sugar and Salt did the same. Several other establishments, including Communion, Melo Cafe, and Lowrider Cookie Company, closed early Sunday. Some of the area farmers markets, including West Seattle’s, also shut down on the early side, citing the heat.
“It’s been a crazy year and a half let me tell you,” says Melissa Miranda, chef-owner of Musang. “We’ve invested in some portable A/C units, but not sure how great they’re gonna work with six fans blowing. It’s tough for the outside [patio], too, because there’s no air going either. Most importantly it’s my concern for the staff ... but it’s tough. Closing down for days affects our business too. And it’s tough for guests, and also them understanding that we are human and working in these conditions is insane.”
Monday’s forecast is another scorcher, with temperatures expected to reach the triple digits again. Though many restaurants are typically closed early in the week anyway, those that do have Monday hours — such as Sichuan restaurant Chengdu Taste in the Chinatown International District, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and wine bar Rapport on Capitol Hill — decided to close. Local burger chain Dick’s is shutting down its Broadway location temporarily, and Pagliacci Pizza closed all outposts across the city on Monday.
Hawaiian-Korean restaurant Super Six in Columbia City, along with all sibling Marination locations, made the same call. “[Super Six] has A/C, but it’s struggling and so are our cooling units and staff,” co-owner Kamala Saxton tells Eater Seattle. “Even with a A/C in the kitchen it’s just too hot and unfortunately this morning at 4 a.m., we got broken into once again, so that sealed the deal on closing. Ma Kai [in West Seattle] doesn’t have A/C, and it would have been just cruel to ask our staff to work today.”
Reports about the weekend’s weather in the Pacific Northwest noted the once-in-a-millennium heat dome that descended upon the region, which experts attribute to the impacts of climate change. According to Public Health - Seattle & King County, 41 people went to the emergency room in King County for heat-related illnesses on Saturday, more than four times the typical amount in a day for this time of the year.
The conditions may also call to mind late last summer when poor air quality due to wildfire smoke (another climate change impact) forced restaurants and bars to shut down across Seattle, as being outside for any extended length of time proved dangerous. “I am worried about the smoke this summer,” says Miranda. “Last year we shut down for that, too. So we just keep going day by day.”
Thankfully, the weather calls for somewhat milder temperatures later in the week — although still in the mid-80s. Even with that slight dip, it’s best to keep an eye on restaurants’ social media pages for reopening status. New Seattle bakery Saint Bread also circulated some helpful info from the city about local cooling centers via Instagram.