According to this morning's P.I., Edmonds-based Skipper's has filed for bankruptcy after having fallen far behind on its payroll taxes, among other issues. There are probably several theories as to why Skipper's fell out of fashion and faces its current plight. Here's mine: Back in the 80's, when I was a practicing Catholic, if it was a Friday night during Lent and you were a Catholic family in the north end, Skipper's was simply where you went. There were often two hour waits for tables. Didn't matter. We couldn't eat meat, and the Northgate Skipper's (now a Seattle Crab Co.), with its porthole windows, fisherman's nets and lacquered wood seafaring decor, was a bona fide destination. Didn't hurt that the beer flowed rather freely as well, as Catholic families tend to like their hooch.
Now I haven't been to a Skipper's in years, but last I visited the Ballard depot (slated to be closed under the company's Chapter 11 agreement), the decor was sterilized to the point of nonexistence, the service was amateur hour, and the menu included Vienna hot dogs. I can't think of any combination that sounds nastier than Vienna hot dogs and fried fish. That makes the unholy Taco Bell-KFC union seem like Ashford and Simpson by comparison.