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Seattle’s Bar and Restaurant Closures, January 2024

JuneBaby, Blotto, and WeRo are among the acclaimed restaurants that closed at the end of December

A “Sorry, we’re closed” sign. Wedninth/Shutterstock
Harry Cheadle is the editor of Eater Seattle.

Though Seattle has emerged from pandemic lockdowns, the restaurant industry remains on uncertain ground. Even at the best of times, running a restaurant is a stressful, low-margin proposition, and these days the margins are tighter than ever. Rising food and labor costs have led to reduced hours at many restaurants and bars, and in some cases businesses have been forced to close because of these challenges. In other cases, restaurant operators may decide that the rewards aren’t worth the effort that they put in and choose to move on to other opportunities.

Here, we track and memorialize notable restaurants and bars the city loses each month, even while exciting new businesses appear. New restaurant names will appear as we confirm closures. If you know of a restaurant that has closed, please send us a tip by emailing seattle@eater.com.

This list goes back as far as December 2023; for older closures see this post.

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January

CAPITOL HILL — Beloved Greek restaurant Omega Ouzeri is closing, owner Tomas Soukakos announced on his website, because he is “hanging up my apron and moving to Greece!” Soukakos has been running Greek restaurants on the Hill since 1994, when he opened El Greco; that was followed by Vio’s Cafe in 2004 (both places have since closed). The last day of service at Omega Ouzeri, which opened in 2015, was January 31.

CROWN HILL — The Holman Road location of Patty’s Eggnest is closing, reports Vanishing Seattle, after the diner lost its lease. Patty’s Eggnest was founded by Patty Papadopoulos in Greenwood in 1989 and expanded to locations all around the Seattle metro area before Papadopoulos sold most of them to the Chin family in 1999. (The original location was sold to Pete and Voula Sideris, and is now called Pete’s Eggnest.) The Wallingford Patty’s has also recently closed and the one in Northgate is slated to close as well, which is the last one within Seattle city limits. (There are five locations outside Seattle.)

LAURELHURST — The Laurelhurst location of Jak’s Grill closed on January 7, the owners announced on Facebook, after a 20-year run. The Issaquah and West Seattle locations “aren’t going anywhere,” the owners added.

December

BALLARD — Mexican restaurant Raiz has quietly closed down sometime in December for unknown reasons. Eater Seattle reached out to the owners via their website to ask what happened but hasn’t heard back. A new restaurant called Ginger and Scallion (from the owners of nearby Secret Congee) has opened in its place.

WALLINGFORD — Neighborhood institution Julia’s closed on December 31 after an apparent conflict over the rent with its landlord — original namesake owner Julia Miller. The brunch spot was opened in 1981 by Miller and bought by Karsten Betd, who worked his way up from busboy at the restaurant, in 1993. Karsten’s daughter Lauren now owns the restaurant and according to Vanishing Seattle had been trying to buy the property from Miller for 15 years. “But Miller refused to sell, decided she wanted a different tenant and raised the rent — which forced Julia’s to close permanently,” the local blog wrote. Eater Seattle reached out to Julia’s for more information and will update this item if we hear back.

RAINIER VALLEY – On December 31, halal pan-Asian restaurant Olympic Express closed after more than 35 years, reports Vanishing Seattle. Started in 1987 by Abdulnaser Abdulmalik and Rohimah Ton (and now owned by Al and Suaidy Les), Olympic Express was a longtime gathering space for Seattle’s Muslim community and members of the Cham ethnic group. According to Vanishing Seattle, the Les family plans to reopen a new restaurant in the space.

RAVENNA — JuneBaby, one of Seattle’s most acclaimed and controversial restaurants, closed on December 31. The soul food restaurant opened in 2017 to rave reviews, but in 2021 the Seattle Times ran an investigative story in which 15 women accused owner Eduardo Jordan of sexual misconduct including unwanted touching, accusations that the chef largely denied. JuneBaby closed briefly following that story, but returned in 2022. Jordan told Eater Seattle that the closure was partly due to labor and food cost difficulties, and partially because he was feeling creatively blocked.

BALLARD — Well-regarded restaurant WeRo has shut its doors as of December 30. Owner Wes Yoo converted the restaurant, formerly a gastropub called the Gerald, into a Korean restaurant in 2022 and attracted good reviews. He also opened a lunch bowl spot called Bapshim in the space in 2023, earning an Eater Award, but the restaurant struggled financially and was forced to close.

CAPITOL HILL — Blotto, one of the most celebrated pizzerias in recent Seattle history, closed on December 30. As Eater Seattle reported, the landlord was selling the building but the owners also wanted to move onto new ventures. “We’ve always known there would be a decision point of some sort,” said Cal Hoffmann. “When we found out the building was being sold… it just made sense that this would be the time that we end the project.”

WEDGWOOD — Thirty years after opening, the Wedgwood Ale House and Cafe has closed, owner Kip Caputo said on Facebook. Opened in 1992 by Rob Paulson, the neighborhood bar and restaurant was struggling financially when it was sold to Caputo, a longtime employee, in 2021. Caputo wrote that he was “hoping for an eleventh hour hail Mary change of situation, but I must come to the realization that the Alehouse is going to have to close at the end of the month, probably the 29th to be exact.” He is accepting donations for a severance fund for his employees, whom he describes as “family.”

CAPITOL HILL — The Capitol Hill location of healthy bowl joint Bounty Kitchen closed on December 23. According to Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, “Bounty Kitchen never really took off on Capitol Hill,” though the original Queen Anne location is continuing operations.

DOWNTOWN — December 23 was the last day of service at Brandon McGill’s Bar Solea. McGill said in a press release that he hopes that this will be a temporary closure, and implied the reason was that downtown foot traffic and office occupancy rates were too low to support the pizzeria and bar. “We look forward to coming out of hibernation once folks decide to return to the office in our part of downtown Seattle,” he said.

CAPITOL HILL — On December 4, the owners of pop-up hub Rose Temple Bar posted on Instagram that they had decided to sell in February to their friends, who will be renaming it Wash Bar. “When you hear about bars, closing, you always think of a relationship that was broken or something that failed,” owners Ben Smith and Austin Polley wrote. “But we’re really fortunate that we’ve had so much community support and that we got to help our friends live out their dream.” The pair still owns Donna’s, which opened earlier this year.

PIKE PLACE — In 2022, Hamid Majdi, a Moroccan immigrant who worked as wine director for Il Bistro, opened a fine-dining restaurant called Shama in Pike Place Market that was an ode to the food of his homeland. But less than two years after opening, Shama has closed, Hamid announced on Facebook on December 4. In its place is a new Portuguese-influenced cocktail bar and restaurant called the Lonely Siren.

CAPITOL HILL — Rancho Bravo, a taco joint across the street from Cal Anderson Park that occupied a former KFC, has closed, according to Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. CHS reports that owner Freddy Rivas “had faced challenges after nearly 15 years of business on E Pine and was in a month to month lease recently that was no longer penciling out with a menu of $5 tacos at the level of quality he wanted to maintain.” A new owner has turned the restaurant into a Mexican restaurant called Teto’s Cantina. The Rancho Bravo in Wallingford is still open.

PIONEER SQUARE — Pioneer Square D&E (short for “drink and eats”), which was known for having some of the best fried chicken in town, closed on December 2 after five years in business. In the Facebook announcement of the closure, owner Jonathan Fleming wrote, “In another five years, I wonder what we’ll be saying about the pandemic, the staffing challenges, inflation, and all the other growth opportunities we’ve faced since opening.”