For some the end was swift. Other restaurants embraced this new practice of changing identities, over several months or even, literally, overnight. This list is by no means comprehensive (RIP Shoofly Pie, Philadelphia Fevre, Westernco Donuts) and we're already hearing about places like Santa Fe Cafe, Sea Star, and Hurricane Cafe that will leave our midst in the first days of 2015. But let's take a moment to remember some of the fallen establishments of 2014.
Owner David Sanford reportedly left Seattle to be chief of staff (and cook, naturally) for a co-founder of LinkedIn.
After one final New Year's Eve party, the 15th Ave lounge called it quits.
Madison Park Conservatory
It was a standby for both nicer dinners and evenings at the upstairs bar. Beloved by neighbors and a destination for people who like to dine. Hence its closure came as a shock. We're still wondering what Cormac Mahoney will do next.
Daisley Gordon took the city by surprise when he announced his bistro, formerly the storied Campagne, was ending its run February 28. Shiro Kashiba took over the space and will
Normally we wouldn't mourn the departure of an Azteca in this space, but the February 28 shuttering ended an impressive 40-year run on NW Market. (The company reportedly couldn't renegotiate the lease.) Soon the space will be home to Hotel Albatross, a joint project between owners from two flanking bars: Hazlewood and Ocho. It wasn't a great year for chains in Ballard: The neighborhood's Ivar's location followed suit a few months later.
The mural-clad, storybook restaurant was put up for sale a few months earlier, but closed at the end of April to make way for Restaurant Marron.
Kathryn Robinson grieved hard for this one: Even after the Marination team stepped in as partners, Capitol Hill's tiny haunt for Spanish sandwiches shuffled off this mortal coil, unable to hit a sustsainable level of business despite serious love from critics and immediate neighbors.
After 18 years serving crepes and cocktails on Pine Street, the restaurant more widely known as "the place with the bee on the sign" departed its brick-walled environs. Now it's home to the new Suika izakaya outpost.
The end was swift and unexpected. And we miss it even now.
Louie's Cuisine of China
It was a rough year for landmark restaurants, like this 37-year Ballard veteran, felled by the sale of its building.
Brad's Swingside Cafe
A fixture in Fremont, Brad's closed when owner Brad Inserra sold the building, but will reportedly return in some form when a new development is built on the site.
Book Bindery –> Hommage
When Shaun McCrain departed in June to open his own place, Book Bindery's owners closed for the summer to regroup. The restaurant returned in September with a new name, new chef Nico Borzee, and a gently francophiled new menu.
The Seattle sibling to the Hardware Store on Vashon Island concluded its three-year run in the U District.
La Bête –> Spaghetti Western
It might have been the most charming restaurant on Capitol Hill, but charm doesn't pay the rent. Owner Aleks Dimitrijevic did some tinkering, built a smoker, and reintroduced his space as Spaghetti Western in November.
The owners "could not discover the magic formula to break even," and the address on Mercer Island is now a Homegrown. But Stopsky's lives on in the form of pickles, available by the jar around town.
Unpaid taxes and owed rent: It was an ignominious end to three decades of serving perfectly flaky fried fish at MLK and Cherry.
Did I mention this was not a good year for venerable Seattle restaurants?
Aragona –> Vespolina
Just eight months after opening his splashy Spanish restaurant downtown, Jason Stratton pivoted over the course of a weekend, changing the name and moving the menu back into more familiar Italian territory.
First the converted house was Madison Park Cafe, then in 2011 chef Celinda Norton and her family moved up from Pike Place Market to cook Italian, working seven days a week in the tiny kichen. Norton ultimately decided to pursue other food endeavors.
The Erotic Bakery
As Bethany Jean Clement put it: "Owner Kimmie Barnett says it’s simply because she’s tired, but she also mentioned a decline in demand for boob/penis/vulva cakes."
The restaurant held up by Kathryn Robinson as perhaps the perfect neighborhood restaurant decided not to renew its lease after 14 years in Tangletown. It's now the Himalayan Sherpa House.
This most charming of vegetarian restaurants down in Columbia City bowed out October 30 after four years.
Well, it didn't close, exactly, but Tom Douglas's new fire-fueled cantina has "paused" while the company sorts out the ventilation issues plaguing the kitchen. The plan: Install a new concept here and move the cantina elsewhere.