Renee Erickson Is Closing Boat Street Cafe

Her very first restaurant says adieu on May 30.

By Allecia Vermillion February 24, 2015

Bittersweet. Photo via Boat Street Cafe's Facebook page.

Before there was the Walrus, the Whale, and all the national acclaim, Renee Erickson earned Seattle's love at Boat Street Cafe. Now Erickson says her original restaurant will serve its last meal on May 30. The cafe's sibling business, Boat Street Kitchen, will remain.

Closing Boat Street, says Erickson, lets her focus on the two restaurants she's opening this summer on Capitol Hill: a Normandy-style oyster bar and a Parisian cafe where she and her partners will raise, butcher, and dry age their own beef. There's also the small matter of running the Walrus and the Carpenter, the Whale Wins, and the other projects under the umbrella of her company, Sea Creatures.

Erickson has owned Boat Street for 17 years. The lease is up soon and she feels ready to focus on other things. "Brunch still has lines out the door, but the cafe has kind of run its time," she says. Although it's still adored, it's still pretty slow."

Adored is right. This lovely Seattle Times piece by Rebekah Denn tells the story of Erickson taking over Boat Street from Susan Kaplan at the tender age of 25 and moving it to its current location at the crossroads of Belltown and Queen Anne in 2003. 

Boat Street Cafe's chef, the talented Jay Guerrero, will be moving to Capitol Hill to run the kitchen at Erickson's new oyster bar.

Erickson leaves Boat Street's address entirely in the hands of Kaplan, the original owner who currently runs Boat Street Kitchen's brunch and catering operations out of one of the space's two kitchens. She will expand into the cafe space and keep on doing lunch, brunch, special events and even dinners on Sunday and Monday night. 

Boat Street Cafe will live on in the name of Erickson's beautiful cookbook and in her pickle business, run by (awww) her parents. At least the May 30 closing date gives Seattle ample time to come in for one last amaretto bread pudding.


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