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May 28, 2008 09:06 AM

Monsoon to replace Porcella Urban

Good news - Monsoon comes to Eastside. Bad news Porcella folds.

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  1. I only made it over to Porcella once while it was around (based on recommendations here) and although it was good, the location was lousy for a place like that. When you're trying to sell sandwiches for $12 (good sandwiches, mind you) you're going to be looking at a rather limited target audience in the first place, and I suspect most of those people aren't going to make it much past Bell Square when they're in that neighborhood. Main Street is just too far away from the downtown core of Bellevue to walk for most of the skyscraper crowd, and there's nowhere to park over there if you drive.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Vexorg

      There is actually plenty of places - tons of free spots - open and blowing in the wind, relatively speaking (seattle for instance) that I don't think parking was the issue. The place didn't succeed because it didn't execute. The owner said it was lack of foot traffic - that if he were in Seattle he'd have "killed it". Well, when I went in there it was a disaster - no one knew what was going on, nobody "addressed" me as I was pacing back and forth, trying to find a menu, finding a menu, etc etc and woila, nobody just addressed me the customer and said "hey, what would you like today". This is not space science.

      My hunch is this place didn't succeed because it didn't grab the attention of its customers, prospective, potenatial or otherwise. It just didn't execute.

      1. re: Vexorg

        I don't know, I think part of the problem was concept. The prepared food was great, but the other half of the store where they tried to sell various goods didn't seem to be doing to well.

        Half that store was wasted space with those merchandise goods. I'm pretty sure I saw 5 people buy things in the 10 times I visited. (I only bought some Point Reyes and Maytag Blue Cheeses one time because they were discounted)

        A prepared food-only space half that size might have been a better call for Mr. Gaddis.

        Also to be fair, I never saw that place at night. I was only a lunch-er there. Might have been poppin' then with people buying stuff to take home to their richie-rich condos.

        1. re: GreenYoshi

          I think they did an okay business with both, but the one time I tried to go there, I drove in circles looking for parking for about half an hour, then finally went in and was so confused about where to go and how to order--couldn't find menu, couldn't find staff person, do I sit to order, counter order? The whole thing was a clusterf*ck, and to top it all off, I was pretty much the only person in there, so you think they could have said something to me....Once I finally ordered and sat down, the service was pretty good, but I was still irked. And the cured meats were only like 75% fantastic...and 10% awful....

          I laughed when I saw his comment about being in a different place--after my experience. Besides nowhere but bellevue would they pay the kinds of prices he wanted for a lot of the merchandise. I remember seeing a cookbook that was actually priced ABOVE the cover price...and I had just seen it on sale at B and N recently...

          1. re: dagoose

            Trying to park in Old Bellevue is pretty much an exercise in futility in my experience. On the rare occasion that I do go down there, I'll just park at Bellevue Square and walk the few blocks, because it's far less hassle (and Downtown Park is a nice place to walk through too.) I found that ordering lunch there wasn't too much of a hassle (there were other people ordering at the counter though, so I just got in line) but there's no way I would ever actually buy anything but lunch in a place like that. I suspect that even Whole Paycheck would most likely have had most of the stuff they sold for cheaper.

      2. Bummer. I can't believe Porcella didn't make it. Sigh.

        1. i was at monsoon last week and believe there were discussions on construction, so i had a hunch there was a new eatery coming soon!

          3 Replies
          1. re: smalt

            hope they can figure the service issues out before they make the leap over the water ... I've been eating there since they opened (almost 10 years) and the service has alway been inconsistent at best and neglectful at worst. I love the food but sometimes that love is quite tested!

            1. re: oliveoyl

              agreed, i miss the sister who fronted the place (she now owns & runs the galaxie coffee shop on beacon hill)....and the old waitstaff....the tiny little gal that's been with them for years is wonderful and never fails to stop by to say hello, but the newer crew can be quite cold and inconsistent....i've had them go so slow that i missed dessert (banana cake!) and another time they totally whiffed on a dish when my relatives were there.

              1. re: oliveoyl

                I don't live in Seattle anymore, but I had many very bad service problems at Monsoon as well, so bad that they stand out a few years later. Mostly it was one horrible waiter.