🍽️ Seattle’s biggest restaurant openings and most heartbreaking closings of 2021
Plus, three organizations that support LGBTQ+ communities in Seattle (and beyond).
By Hannah Myrick
Hey, welcome to Tuesday.
Have you enjoyed any new food in Seattle this year? Despite the negative effects of the pandemic on the economy, 2021 was a brighter year for the restaurant scene. Last year saw about 100,000 restaurants close long-term or permanently across the country. But this year, those numbers weren’t quite as bleak as many places re-opened, bounced back, and started fresh.
However, it was still a tough year. With the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and all the struggles that rolled over from 2020, there were some spots we had to say goodbye to. Down below you'll find an end-of-year roundup of some of the most notable openings and heart-breaking closings of 2021 across Seattle.
But first, we're going to tackle today's headlines...
What Seattle is talking about
💸 A new payroll tax that would fund Washington’s long-term care expenses has been delayed. The Washington Cares Act was originally set to start in January to help pay for the cost of long-term care services for aging Washington residents. It has since been delayed because the Washington legislature found areas of the bill that needed adjusting to better serve our disabled veterans, military spouses, non-residents, and retirees. (King 5)
👿 You definitely don’t want to be naughty this year. Krampus Seattle, a group of people who dress as horned half-goat, half-human creatures in animal fur robes, has joined the holiday festivities in Leavenworth this year. According to the tradition (which happens in Germany, Austria, and several Eastern European countries), Krampus walks the streets to scare children into being good. (Crosscut)
🍼 The first BIPOC/woman-owned birth center in the South Sound opened earlier this month. Community Birth Center was created to educate and expand understanding of reproductive care and increase options for people looking for out-of-hospital births. They host events and classes and provide care with a focus on families of color — a rare goal for local birthing centers — and it's the first Khmer-owned birth center in the state. (South Seattle Emerald)
📈 Cases of COVID-19 in King County are up 50% since Thanksgiving, and those numbers aren’t predicted to go down anytime soon. The Omicron variant is surging in Seattle and is projected to reach about three times the peak of the Delta wave set back in August. Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Public Health Seattle and King County, says vaccination will offer protection against severe disease for most, and that getting a booster shot will amplify said protection. Other things like ventilating rooms, limited gatherings, N95 masks, and doing rapid testing the day of larger gatherings can help limit the spread. (GeekWire)
🐋 Shh! The marine life is talking! A new program called Quiet Sound is working to keep noise pollution down in Washington waters, starting with a seasonal slowdown zone for commercial vessels and notifying ship operators of nearby orca sightings in real-time. The program has more than $800,000 in funding to realize its goals in the next couple of years. (Crosscut)
Without further ado, here's our annual roundup of Seattle's biggest restaurant openings and closing of the year, starting with the good news first. 👇
Nice to meet you
🚗 Devour the casual, crafted comfort food of Oaky’s Tex Mex in the Central District. Oaky’s is the product of years of travel through Texas and the Southwest by the owners, and right now, they’re featuring holiday tamales and eggnog.
🌽 Check out one of the newest additions to Pike Place Market, a tortilleria called Maiz. The eatery serves Mexican street food and fresh tortillas made with heirloom corn.
🌯 SZN is an Asian-Mexican fusion restaurant that opened in lower Queen Anne earlier this year. Enjoy menu items like rib platters and chicken burritos with kimchi rice and Asian twists on classic cocktails.
🍶 Kobuta & Ookami offers many variations on katsu dishes and sake. The restaurant, whose name roughly translates to piglet and wolf, is serving lunch and dinner in Capitol Hill.
🍺 Another taproom in Ballard? We’re here for it. Enjoy your favorite beers and cider under one roof at the Bale Breaker X Yonder Cider Taproom. There are more than 30 taps available and plenty of rotating food trucks, outdoor fire pits, and more to enjoy.
🍗 The Chicken Supply in Greenwood is a necessary part of your Seattle fried chicken journey. Their food is rooted in the culture and taste of the Filipino dining experience. Load up on chicken, as well as tasty sides like crispy potatoes, garlic rice, and cold pancit.
💪 Have you ever dreamed of enjoying your drinks in the company of pro wrestlers? Well, Lariat Bar in White Center is here to answer your prayers with themed wrestling decor of the likes of The Rock and Andre the Giant.
🥙 A Seattle branch of the Sammamish Lebanese fast-casual restaurant Tanoor has opened in South Lake Union. You can choose from small plates like tabbouleh and shawarma, or order larger family meals for takeout.
We'll miss you
🐟 Local chef Tom Douglas’ food empire began with Dahlia Lounge, the 32-year-old restaurant that closed in March. The space was replaced by two of his other restaurants — Serious Pie and Dahlia Bakery, and the latter was just recognized for making one of the best breakfast sandwiches in town.
🌯 Columbia City’s Tex-Mex spot El Sombrero closed after 17 years when the owners decided to retire, but a new spinoff from Jack's BBQ called Jackalope just opened in its space.
🍗 Nate’s Wings and Waffles is one of three sister restaurants co-owned by Darren McGill that closed this year. Happy Grillmore and the Central District Ice Cream Company closed with it.
👢 It was hard to beat Neon Boots for a good night out in Belltown — a bar with neon pink lighting, a Saint Dolly mural, costume mannequins and so much more. They were displaced this year when a property owner took over the building.
🍰 Did you ever have a biscuit sandwich from The Wandering Goose? It was to die for. In addition to spectacular biscuits, the space served hefty slices of cakes, delicious cookies, and more. The good news is that they're not entirely closed: The Wandering Goose is now located in the Tokeland Hotel in Tokeland, WA.
🎂 After nearly 100 years in business, Borracchini’s Bakery and Mediterranean Market closed, mainly because of a drop in cake sales. The Seattle institution began with a family who emigrated from Tuscany to Seattle in the 1920s.
🎩 Luc, a French favorite eatery opened by James-Beard Award-winning chef Thierry Rautureau, closed in late August after 11 years in Madison Valley.
🍽️ Tarsan i Jane was a fine dining destination for many, but Covid took its toll. The owners decided to sell the place and move back to Los Angeles to be closer to the rest of their family.
🍖 Feast, drink and shop at the Holiday Meat Market Bizarre hosted by the restaurant Lady Jaye (West Seattle)
🎶 Listen to holiday classics like Vince Guaraldi's beloved 1965 soundtrack front to back at "The Music of a Charlie Brown Christmas" (Columbia City)
❄️ Celebrate the winter solstice with live singing and poetry, hosted by the Lumia Ensemble. (Wallingford)
🎶 Sing along to over 30 of your favorite Christmas tunes while watching the accompanying music videos at Central Cinema Tuesday and Wednesday (Central District)
🛍 Procrastinators, this is for you! Georgetown's Trailer Park Mall is hosting Procrastination Lane, a night market with all sorts of vendors (Georgetown)
🎉 Join a "Fiddler on the Roof" sing-along, complete with free Chinese Food, at the SIFF Uptown Cinema (Seattle Center)
🍎 Shop for your local produce, cheese, and beyond at the West Seattle Farmer's Market (West Seattle)
🎶 Relive the music of jazz legend Duke Ellington, performed by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, including vocalists and a tap dancer. (First Hill)
🎩 It’s the last day to catch ACT Theatre’s version of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol (Downtown)
🌺 Learn how to dance the hula and the storytelling history behind the movements. (Downtown)
👠 Another night, another chance to dance to Motown music, at Barboza’s Motown Monday (Capitol Hill)
One last thing…
Before we let you go, we have an important correction to make. Last week we published a headline about the Salvation Army, its low supply of donations, and its need for more. It wasn’t until we received emails from a few of you that we learned the organization has a long history of discrimination against the queer community.
It was, and never will be, our intent to promote organizations that cause harm of any kind. That space would have been much better served by organizations that do good for Seattleites without perpetuating hate against queer communities. In acknowledgment of that, we’re sharing a few local organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community.
- ⚖️ The Lavender Rights Project in Tacoma and Seattle supports and elevates the Black intersex and gender diverse community by offering legal and social services to trans and queer people, with an intention of helping them to access, understand, and advocate for their rights with or without a lawyer.
- 🤝 Lifelong works to remove barriers to health so that no one has to face illness and injustice alone. Created in response to the cruel ways people with HIV were treated in the 1980s, Lifelong supports marginalized communities by supporting the whole person, not just one obstacle. Here are five ways you can support them during the holiday season.
- 🏠 The Lambert House is a leading Northwest organization that provides resources to address risks that disproportionately affect all LGBTQ+ youth. It's a place for connection and support, accomplished through support groups, community dinners, outdoor activities, art nights, and so much more.
For all of you who tune in, reach out, and hold us accountable, we cannot thank you enough! It’s what keeps this newsletter going and growing. 💖
And with that, we’ll see you tomorrow for our last newsletter of the year 😵
— Hannah at The Evergrey
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