Restaurateur Scott Staples and his wife/partner Heather sent word this morning: They're turning their original restaurant into an event space.
Valentine's Day service will be the last night of Restaurant Zoe as we know it. According to the email announcing the shift, the restaurant sees so many buyouts and catered events these days, "it has been hard to have consistent availability for our restaurant customers." In addition to private events and parties, the Zoe space will hold cooking classes and popups (there's talk of some summer brunches).
The Stapleses know how to run event spaces; they also operate Sole Repair on Capitol Hill, just around the corner from their gastropub Quinn's. Zoe's chef, Roger Harper, was previously chef de cuisine at 99 Park in Bellevue and has cooked at RN74 and some high-end Vegas restaurants like RM Seafood and Alain Ducasse's Mix.
The original Restaurant Zoe in Belltown was a dining institution, and its trajectory reflects how Seattle's dining has shifted over the years. In 2012 it moved to its current, lovely digs on Capitol Hill, becoming a bit more casual in keeping with post-recession dining trends. (The original Zoe on Second Ave is now home to the Coterie Room, another restaurant turned event space.) These days, this town's swelling economy has more people throwing down cash for private parties and dinners. Given thin restaurant margins, rising costs, and the uncertainty of a nightly service versus a guaranteed buyout, it's not surprising some restaurants are going this route.
Still...I'll miss Zoe's patio.