In a very early morning note, the Babirusa team announced a truly sad bit of news: It would be closing at the end of the month. The message said it's due to a long series of hurdles that the business has been unable to recover from since its re-opening in March.
"We did the best we could [and] fought as hard as we were able," the note read. "With the way things are in Seattle right now, it is impossible to go on." It's quite the somber farewell, but fitting considering all of the blood, sweat, and more sweat that went into remodeling the former Kushibar space in Belltown.
Rene Gutierrez and Charles Walpole shuttered their Eastlake Babirusa location at the end of last year with the expressed determination to open elsewhere. And that they did, in a space quadruple the size. With more room came more ambition: They revived Walpole's Blind Pig Bistro tasting menus, brought in a talented staff—the likes of chef Ryan Miller, previously the executive chef at Damn the Weather, and chef de cuisine Geneva Melby, who most recently was at Cafe Juanita—and renovated a crumbling patio area. The food was equal parts intriguing and just plain comforting, with dishes such as roast pork collar, charcoal-grilled octopus with tomato harissa, pork cracklins with gochujang glaze, bavette steak with beef fat roasted fingerlings all plated atop vintage dinnerware, doubling down on a most homey vibe.
Alas, Walpole left in May to focus on his health (a bad knee). Recently chefs Miller and Melby's rent spiked, making living in the city unsustainable for the duo. Both are moving back to California.
Babirusa's last day of service will be Thursday, September 27.