After seven years of business, Columbia City’s favorite all-day Hawaiian restaurant is closing permanently to make way for another location of Marination, the casual Hawaiian mini-chain owned by Super Six owners Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison.
Edison says Super Six (which is on Eater Seattle’s list of 38 Essential Seattle Restaurants) will permanently shut its doors at the end of this week, on August 26, and a new location of Marination will take its place in the coming months. She says the move is a reaction to economic changes in the restaurant industry during the pandemic and a rapidly changing neighborhood which now has different needs.
The change from Super Six to Marination is a microcosm of what’s happening on a bigger scale in Seattle’s restaurant landscape. As staffing shortages and rising labor and ingredient costs make running a full-service restaurant more and more difficult, they are being increasingly swapped out by counter-service concepts that require less labor.
When Super Six originally opened in 2015, the all-day cafe was the gathering spot Columbia City needed. It remained an important gathering place during the pandemic when diners took advantage of the large outdoor patio of the former auto garage to dine with a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission.
“We were, for many people, their first restaurant after months of not dining out,” Edison says. “We saw reunion after reunion. It’s been great to be able to provide that for the community.”
But as the pandemic dragged on, and running a restaurant — let alone two different concepts — became more difficult, Edison felt stretched thin between the two businesses.
“We were trying to do two things well, and we might have done two things mediocrely and that’s not how we want to be,” Edison says.
Since the pandemic started, with more of the pre-pandemic SLU office crowd working remotely from their South Seattle homes, there has been more demand for quick lunch options in Columbia City — something Marination specializes in with its sliders, Hawaiian-style tacos, and kimchi fried rice.
Though she says some customers are sad about Super Six closing, Edison says most prefer her to pivot and succeed instead of losing the location altogether. Also, Super Six hasn’t been open for lunch during the pandemic, and she’s excited to turn the location back into an all-day restaurant with brunch on weekends.
With this newfound focus on the Marination concept — which expanded into T-Mobile Park this year, serving up huli huli chicken and Spam musubi to Mariners’ fans — the business seems poised for growth after a couple of trying years.
“Overall, Marination will be a much, much stronger company after we make this change,” Edison says.
Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly stated that Super Six closes on August 27. It closes on August 26.