What I miss the most about The Globe is being full. Not just satisfied, but not sick from overeating, either. Ever since they shuttered, it's impossible to hit full-on-naptime, post-Thanksgiving-dinner full without meat.
Most famously, customers of all dietary stripes filled up on their biscuits and gravy. With a half order at just over two dollars, I could actually afford to eat out there as an adolescent on a regular basis. Anything on the menu would give you the same, pure fullness though: collard greens, pancakes, sandwiches, grits, and other grilled-to-death, grease-dripping American delicacies.
Open for about 17 years, The Globe was vegan before it was vogue, putting it almost amongst elite meatless destinations: think Bamboo Garden or Cafe Flora. It also staked an early claim on Capitol Hill; when it closed in 2007, the Plum franchise (nee Hillside Quickie) had only begun to migrate southward, and there was still a Delorean where Highline is now, leaving mostly just the Globe and Coffee Messiah (also, RIP).
Here's why the Globe no longer exists: the place, the community and the staff were leaps and bounds better than their management.
Owner David Leaf did basically nothing to defend himself against scores of reviews testifying to the owner's abusive nature to staff, customers and vendors when he went out with an antagonistic bang. Via The Stranger:
"We decided we had to change the menu and the clientele revolted against us," Leaf says. "People are just bitches. They're not willing to wait 30 minutes [for food]." Leaf says he's leaving for Bellingham and he's taking the Globe with him. "Seattle's a shithole," he says. "[The Globe] has been a marvelous thing and it will continue to be. Seattle doesn't deserve it anymore."
Since I lived in Bellingham at the time, I waited for bated breath for my precious biscuits and gravy to return, but the only vegan restaurant that opened basically just put lettuce into the shape of sandwiches, charged enough for multiple biscuits and gravy for it and still took 30 minutes to get to your table. It left me wholly unsatisfied, and gave me more serious gravy withdrawal.
Of course, The Globe never came, because its greasy, salty gutbomb burned bigger and brighter than even the hilariously-aptly-named Mr. Leaf, who was only the final of six owners. Part of their charm, during calmer times, was the air of a friendly, punk house dinner party, and I can't see him replicating that without the legacy behind him. If anything, it wasn't Seattle that didn't deserve The Globe; it was, by many accounts, him.
It's probably good The Globe closed before I wised up enough to notice the abusive management style that eventually contributed to its demise. It was to my friends and I at lunchtime what bars at night are to us now, and its closure lets me keep remembering it that way. I was a kid, and a sense of manic camaraderie that suited the colorful, wooden space. We could even play the piano with nobody bothering us, behavior that would seem obnoxious now.
I miss The Globe desperately, and not a walk down 14th Avenue goes by without it crossing my mind. But I'm happy that it has been able to survive, drama- and embarrassment-free, in my heart. And stomach. Okay, any way I can get those biscuits and gravy just one more time?