Scott Carsberg’s startlingly beautiful plates now come with a $5 comp for toll-payers. Photo: Lindsay Borden

These aren’t easy times for any of our local restaurants, but establishments in our downtown core are having a particularly tough go of it these days. Those 8pm extended parking hours can be a nasty surprise, or a dissuading factor. And for destination restaurants eager for Eastside clientele, the three-month-old 520 toll isn’t helping matters either. Add to that the perception (or the reality) that a nighttime walk through Belltown might feature drug deals, fisticuffs, or at the very least some dude peeing in an alley.

Today Bisato becomes the latest high-end restaurant to wade into the transit-based monetary enticement fray. James Beard–winning chef Scott Carsberg will knock $5 off your bill if you mention to your server that you came across the 520 en route to dinner. Bisato is operating on the honor system here, people, so don’t be shady about it. This little deal is good any time the restaurant is open.

Aqua by El Gaucho and El Gaucho Seattle also deduct $5 from the dinner bill if guests crossed the 520 bridge, and the company has a similar offer for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for diners at its Tacoma location. Such promos usually aren’t the domain of higher-end restaurants, but serve as a reminder of tolling’s ripple effect, as well as some of the challenges facing establishments committed to staying in downtown and Belltown.

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