We have spent many grueling hours trying to come up with a list of Seattle restaurants we wish were still in business. After reaching the


Top 5 Seattle Restaurants We Want Back

We have spent many grueling hours trying to come up with a list of Seattle restaurants we wish were still in business. After reaching the 50 mark, we decided that narrowing down the list to a single hand was not only an impossible task, but a rather absurd one, as 'missing' a restaurant is pretty relative. Not only does it depend on your demographic, how long you've lived in Seattle, and your overall sense of nostalgia -- but where the defunct restaurant once thrived in conjunction to your own neighborhood. One man's preferred local watering hole is another man's waste of gas.

This is no arbitrary list, but we hope that instead of taking this as a steadfast declaration, you use it as a springboard for discussion. Knowing that we are going to disappoint many of our readers, we present the Top 5 Seattle restaurants we want back.

Not quite Surrogate Hostess, but at least there's coffee and pastries.
5. Surrogate Hostess

What was once a popular neighborhood cafe is now a Tully's. Caterer Robin Woodward opened Surrogate on 15th in the late 70s, later moving it down the hill to 19th and Aloha. Think Volunteer Park Cafe, but with large communal tables that begged you to get to know your neighbors. It was a time before wifi and iPods; a time where you went to a coffeehouse to be social. It closed in 1995, taking with it a definite sense of community.

4. Bandoleone

Things started to go downhill in July 2004 when proprietor Danielle Phillipa was forced to relocate her Latin eatery to Fremont (where Blue Moon Burgers now stands) after being kicked out of the Eastlake spot she called home for almost 10 years, because the building was being torn down. Bandoleone was about having a good bottle of wine and good conversation with close friends and family. In fact, Phillipa named her place Bandoleone because, in her words, "It's an instrument that's created for dance in particular, and that's the kind of feel we wanted to have in here, to have dance in the air."

The music died for good in May 2006. The last we heard from Phillipa was Thanksgiving 2009 on Yelp, where she wrote:

Hi friends, yes, I used to own Bandoleone, and yes, we were sadly forced to close our doors after 11+ years of service to the community when the city of Seattle neglected to help us out in any way as they reconstructed the Fremont Bridge. We were the only business caught inside the construction zone, and while other businesses in the Fremont area suffered some loss of business, we lost over 95% of our income- thank God for regulars who somehow found their way to us- and had to close our doors.

I miss the nuances, flavors, and general bustle of Bandoleone, and hope that someday I may be convinced to try try again.

Viva la Vida!

Danielle Ruby Philippa

Blackboard hopes to fill a much needed dining void in The Junction.
3. Ovio Bistro

The original incarnation of this West Seattle dining magnet is where Blackboard Bistro now stands. Shing and Ellie Chin opened Ovio in 2002, later outgrowing the space and moving to the corner of California and Edmunds, where Table 35 now calls home. The new Ovio was more spacious, but still retained the neighborhood feel. Shing was almost always behind the bar doling out generous wine pours to locals, while his wife Ellie was on the floor, making sure things ran smoothly. When the couple split, they sold the restaurant in June 2007. Nothing even remotely close has replaced it since. There was hope Ama Ama would fill the void, but no such luck. The good news is that Blackboard Bistro, by all accounts, is poised to be a worthy replacement for the original Ovio location.

2. The Dog House

Their famous sign was telling the truth. Back in the day, all roads did lead to The Dog House. The Hurricane Cafe that now stands in its place (on the corner of 7th and Bell) does a good job of serving greasy food 24-hours a day, but it's lacking the attitude The Dog House had. The Dog House was epic. It was Seattle history. It was a 'round-the-clock booze, food and cigarette smoking parlor. It was a Seattle institution for nearly 60 years before closing in January 1994. As an interesting side note, you can find the beloved Dog House piano at Feedback Lounge, where owner Jeff Gilbert bought it at auction for $50.

Parking lot picnic, anyone?
1. Adriatica

What used to stand in that vacant lot (left) was one of Seattle's greatest Mediterranean restaurants, Adriatica. It was founded by John Sarich, the culinary director of Chateau Ste Michelle. After more than 20 years on the scene, Adriatica made our list of favorite restaurants in April 2001. It closed four months later. The Grande Dame of Dexter started to fall off the dining radar when a huge building went up, partially blocking its view of Lake Union. Oh, what we'd give to have a restaurant of Adriatica's caliber on the lake this time of year!

Honor Roll: Like we mentioned earlier, we had a ton more restaurants we wanted to add to this list, which is why we're going off Top 5 course and adding an Honor Roll. Leading the list: Gravity Bar, Fullers, Crave, Cool Hand Luke's, Brie & Bordeaux, Honeybear Bakery, Still Life, Union Bay Cafe, the original Julia's 14 Carrot Cafe, The Painted Table, Cassis and Longshoreman's Daughter. Now, tell us yours. What restaurants do you want back?

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow