In mid-February, Cafe Besalu, the beloved pasty spot in Ballard, announced on Instagram that it would be closed for a couple days “due to issues arising from our recent kitchen renovation.” A few days later, another post said that the bakery would need to remain closed a little longer than anticipated, but reassured fans, “This isn’t goodbye, we’ll reopen again soon!”
But the latest update, posted on Wednesday, sounded a different and much more worrying note:
At this time we are still unsure of our path to reopening Besalu. It’s been a long few years of adjustments (Covid), followed by a difficult few months of kitchen remodel complications.
Quite honestly, we’re a little worn out...and feel it’s best to regroup for a bit so that we can find a path forward that’s sustainable for all. We wish we could give a more concrete plan, but unfortunately this is the best we can do for now.
Besalu has been a neighborhood institution and a destination for pastry fans for more than two decades. It was opened in 2000 by James Miller, who went on to be a three-time James Beard award semifinalist. In 2017, Miller and his wife Katie sold the shop to Herkimer Coffee, then moved to the town of Besalu in Spain. Despite the change in ownership, the bakery retained a loyal fanbase who lined up for the flaky croissants and seasonal fruit pastries.
The news of the indefinite nature of Besalu’s closure was greeted with dismay online, with one Instagram commenter writing, “I just love Besalu so much I attempted to save a failing relationship with your pastries.” Another offered to donate money through GoFundMe if the reason for the closure was financial.
Restaurants all over the city have been squeezed by worker shortages and supply chain problems that have forced them to raise prices, delay openings, or remove items from menus. It’s unclear whether any of these issues have affected Besalu, or whether management and staff are simply burned out — another common problem in the industry right now.
“Our situation isn’t too unique or interesting as it’s so common these days,” writes Besalu management in an email to Eater Seattle. “Food and beverage is really challenging in our city (covid, rising costs across the board, etc etc). Sorry there’s not much more we can give at the moment.”
Update March 17 2:07 p.m.: This story has been updated to include comment from Cafe Besalu.