The Parks Department will conduct a formal review of its decision to award West Seattle's Seacrest Boathouse concession to Marination, a department spokesperson says.
On Monday, the city received a protest letter from Alki Crab & Fish owner Eric Galanti, who has operated the food stand for eight years. According to West Seattle Blog - which has extensively covered the concession turnover and ensuing controversy - Galanti feels the city gave short shrift to his record of success, commitment to employees, and plans to install an indoor restroom. "I'm just dumbfounded that they can say they want to try someone new, and risk, with the extreme failure rate of restaurants, someone new coming in," he told the blog.
In response to Galanti's letter, the parks department will convene a review panel composed of a Department of Neighborhoods representative; a Board of Park Commissioners representative and the acting Parks and Recreation Superintendent. The panel will evaluate the protest in accordance with the criteria established by the request for proposals, which drew three submissions. If the panel decides the protest has merit, the superintendent can reassign the concession.
There's not yet a timeline for the review, but department spokesperson Dewey Potter says, "It will be quick - within the next few weeks."
As of yesterday, more than 700 Alki Crab & Fish supporters had signed an online petition demanding the city give the concession back to Galanti. "This simply won't do!," reads the petition, authored by Laura James. "Eric Galanti has been there for us with great food, hot chocolate, ice cream, and even just this year the new "Dive Bar." We can't let this place be shut down!"
The review process does not include a public hearing, but Potter says panel members will consider the feedback they've received. "There has been a lot of public comment, and Parks staff will make sure the review panel has all the input received up to the time when they meet," she says.
Standard procedure calls for the city to reward concessions after reviewing written proposals, but the city invited Alki Crab & Fish and Marination to participate in oral interviews after Alki finished second in the initial assessment. In the final point tally, which combined proposal and interview scores, Alki Crab & Fish trailed Marination, 404 points to 479 points. Marination beat Alki in categories including experience, management and budgeting.
According to the Marination proposal, the popular company plans to serve its standard menu of tacos, sliders and rice bowls at Seacrest, along with a few new items, including Hawaiian shave ice and "one fish and chip option - with a Hawaiian-Korean culinary twist, of course."
Marination's owners didn't immediately respond to an e-mail from the Seattle Weekly, but contacted the West Seattle Blog earlier this week.
"By no means was it ever our intention to get into a battle with an existing small business, and certainly not to take another small business 'out of business'," Kamala Saxton told the blog. "We respect Alki Fish and Crab's decision to appeal the Parks decision, and we have faith in the Parks due diligence to look into this matter."