One of Capitol Hill’s most enduring restaurants is shutting its doors forever: Coastal Kitchen, which has been on 15th Avenue for nearly exactly 31 years, has announced that it is closing after February. The owners, Sound Restaurant Family, said on Instagram that the closure was “a necessary step as we navigate the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry.”
In a statement sent to Eater Seattle, Dan and Jonathan Tweten, who run Sound Restaurant Family, expanded on their reasoning. “From navigating rising costs across the board to facing break-ins and the neighborhood under development, each hurdle forces you to consider your efforts against the rewards reaped,” the statement read. “We’re shifting our focus to our existing restaurants within our group, with plans to expand by introducing more locations of our current brands.”
Coastal Kitchen was opened in early 1993 by Tiah and Jeremy Hardy and Peter Levy, who told the Seattle Times the goal was to create a “neighborhood fish house.” It attracted early rave reviews for its seafood, though it also had an all-day breakfast menu. Over the years it had a lot of different chefs and a few different identities — for a while it regularly rotated its menu to highlight different regional cuisines, from Sicily to India. By 2012, it was a Capitol Hill institution; that year it went through a remodel and added an oyster bar. When the Hardys sold Coastal Kitchen to the Twetens in 2015, the new owners declared they had “no plans to change a hair on its head!”
But change was eventually forced upon the restaurant. In 2022, a car drove into Coastal Kitchen, damaging it badly enough to necessitate another remodel. It also got more upscale, and ditched everything but dinner — no more all-day breakfast, or weekday breakfast, period. “There will be no more diner-y vibes of the past,” a spokesperson told Capitol Hill Seattle Blog at the time. “People are looking for a nice spot for oysters and a martini where they feel comfortable and welcome.” The restaurant became a brunch hotspot — last year, the Times wrote that it typically served 90 guests in the first hour of opening on Saturdays. But that traffic wasn’t enough to keep it open.
The type of sit-down neighborhood restaurant that Coastal Kitchen exemplified had been pummeled by first the pandemic and then inflation; fast-casual joints and chains are doing well, as are some truly exceptional fine-dining restaurants, but everything in between is suffering. Coastal Kitchen appears to be one of the many businesses caught in that squeeze
“We’re immensely grateful for the years of support, but now, we must turn our focus towards new opportunities and ventures,” the owners said in their closure announcement. Sound Restaurant Family owns several restaurants in the Puget Sound area. Besides Coastal Kitchen, its most prominent Seattle-based brand is the Mioposto pizza chain, which the group bought last year from the Hardys.