Matt's in the Market owner Dan Bugge couldn't account for the shift in his customer demographic at lunch today.
"It was crazy, because four or five people came up with walkers," Bugge says. "Then I remembered: 'Oh, yeah, the elevator!'"
The long-awaited elevator at Pike Place Market's Corner Market Building debuted today, allowing eaters who use walkers, wheelchairs, and other assistance devices to reach Matt's and Chez Shea without difficulty.
Prior to the elevator's installation, Chez Shea staffers were forced to carry customers up the 30 stairs leading to their restaurant.
"If someone wants to come, we help," Chez Shea owner Tomoyo Ikawa says. Laughing, she adds, "We have boys."
Upon learning of the stair situation, most eaters with mobility issues declined to patronize Chez Shea, Ikawa says. She estimates only two customers a year accepted the restaurant's offer of help.
"It didn't really come up a ton," says Bugge, who purchased Matt's five years ago. "A couple dozen times I had someone call and ask."
Informed that an elevator wasn't available, many of the callers presumably opted for a more accessible choice.
Ikawa says the elevator is a welcome happy ending to a painful renovation period, during which her restaurant was afflicted with loud construction noises. "It was a disaster," Ikawa says. "But we're very happy now."
Bugge shares Ikawa's enthusiasm. "It looks like it's going to be a really good thing for us," he says. "We'll be able to accommodate everybody."