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Apr 1, 2009 10:05 PM

Who are you afraid will close?

Seattle's a great city with an incredible food scene, but, we all have our favorite restaurants that, every time we go in, we fear for their future.

So, I figured, lets have a little thread where we all plead our case for those restaurants we love, in hopes of dragging in a new crowd to reinvigorate their sales. I'm sure there's someone here who wished that they had posted one more time trying to get people to go to Moxie, or Alejibre or ... well, the list could go on and on and on...

So, your favorite restaurant you're afraid won't survive the current economy. Sell it to us.

I'll start the thread off with...

Pasta Freska, which has always been one of my favorite spots in town.

Pasta Freska isn't necessarily about the food. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm always happy with the quality of the food at Pasta Freska. Is it all organic, local food? No.

Is it tasty and well prepared? Definitely.

Creative? Not exactly.

It is just plain, good food.

The joy in the restaurant is the experience. If you happen to be there on a night that Chef Mike is working, you're in for a treat (not that the 'new' guy is any less bubbly). Mike loves what he does, and it shows.

Dinner is known for having no menu. You walk in and, depending upon how busy it is, talk with either Chef Mike or your waitperson and talk about what you like. Fish, no fish, spicy, no spicy, allergies, no fish or NO FISH...

And then the courses start. Appetizer, salad, pasta, beef, fish/seafood, chicken. Often you'll get a dish where the girls in the party get one dish while the men get a different one.

Add in some wine, dessert (which isn't necessarily anything to write home about, nothing home cooked, but tasty none-the-less), and you're generally looking at a $110-$125 total dinner for two.

And tonight, when we were there, there was one other couple in the restaurant.

We've introduced at least 12 people to Pasta Freska and no one has ever been disappointed. We want to be able to keep bringing people there, so, try it and I hope you like it and help keep them afloat.

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  1. These days, I worry about all my favorite local sleepers, the ones I haven't been patronizing as often as I did before we had a baby. Dinette is at the top of my list of places I need to revisit; I hope they're still doing well. (I haven't heard otherwise, but still, it's been too long since we've been since it's a pretty long walk for us in winter weather with a baby and their bathroom isn't particularly convenient for changing a nappie.)

    I also hope Long Provincial makes it; they're launching at a tough, tough time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: terrier

      Dinette is a good option. I think we might add that to our list of places to go in the near future. Anything you recommend?

      1. re: jaydeflix

        The toasts have been their signature from the beginning and I still love them. Try a bunch, especially the frittata toast if it's on the menu.

        1. re: terrier

          Excellent! Thanks! I've added them to my weekly dine out list.

    2. I am worried about Rovers. I love their food, but it's a once in a while kind of place for me (spendy, long luxurious meal, etc.). Recently they've been doing specials (like two tasting menus for the price of one) and they are starting to do brunch next weekend. Yikes. I am worried about them. I've been there once this year for dinner (excellent) and will be trying their brunch in the next month or so, probably.

      9 Replies
      1. re: akq

        Brunch...almost always a sign of desperation.

        1. re: babette feasts

          I don’t think it is in this case. I think Terry is a bit bored and looking to something new and interesting.

          1. re: Charles

            I hope you're right. I just love Rover's and hope they're not having trouble. For what it's worth, I think their brunch with be fabulous and I am excited to try it out.

            1. re: akq

              I hope so too. Let's see, how soon before Veil shut down did they start doing brunch?

              Admittedly, I'm not into going out for brunch, so maybe my bias is showing.

          2. re: babette feasts

            Usually in the case of the diner wanting to get rid of a hangover =)

              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                Ever since restaurant owners have been trying to get more butts in seats and make more money. Chefs don't do brunch because they are really excited about making 400 goat cheese omelets on Sunday morning, they do it because there is a market and the markup on eggs and coffee can be pretty high. There is less room for creativity at brunch - you can have a few interesting dishes, but most people go for eggs, pancakes, the basics. So, when Friday and Saturday nights aren't pulling in three turns like they used to, you start looking at your options, such as brunch.

                BTW, I am speaking of fine dining or dinner-only restaurants that suddenly decide to start serving brunch. If you're established and have been doing fine so far with only dinner, there must be a good reason to start serving brunch, like that times are tough and you would like to stay in business until the people have money to spend again.

                Think of relatively nice places that are dinner only, like Zoe, Lark, Crush...wouldn't you think it was weird and there must be something wrong if they started serving brunch?

                1. re: babette feasts

                  Comparing Veil to Rover's is a bit of a stretch. Take a look at Rover's brunch menu and I think you will see that it is not an average brunch. Thierry has been through these down cycles before and is positioned to survive.

            1. re: akq

              Update on brunch: today was the last Sunday brunch at Rover's. I have gotten to know some of the Rovers' staff since my previous posts and will concede that Thierry was not at a point of "desperation", more willing to try new things if they help. Sources say brunch business was OK but too hard on the staff, instead they will open for dinner an extra night.

            2. Hubby and I were discussing this last Friday, while dining at Eva, which is definitely one of our favorites and was not as full as would make me comfortable. We would also cry if Joule and Kisaku closed, or if Perche No was unable to re-open after their horrible fire. Also on the list . . . Steelhead Diner, Skillet, Janjay (Thai), Samuri Noodle, surely there are more but that's a good start!

              1 Reply
              1. re: HAF

                I actually think Skillet will weather the current storm pretty well. They are mobile! They don't have the overhead of a staff and rent on a space, they go to where the people are and sell their food. They might switch up locations to maximize their intake, but I think they will be fine.

                It's restaurants that pay rent in neighborhoods where foot traffic isn't huge that I think will suffer. There is a lot of competition as well, and if your food isn't enough to bring people from afar or you are too much of a niche market... then things could get tough.

                I know I WOULDN'T mind seeing a lot of chains closing up ;-)