The eater usually ends in December by interviewing local food writers on various restaurant-related topics that summarize the past 12 months. But 2020 wasn’t like any other year. With the pandemic causing so much upheaval in the restaurant scene, this time around it seemed appropriate to include health professionals and a science journalist on the panel to discuss their perspectives on the effects of COVID-19.
Previous entries include 2020’s standout takeaway meals and adjustments that may be persistent. Here the various experts weigh up this question: Which restaurant closings have you hit the hardest this year?
The closure of Il Corvo was a hard blow. That this little place could be among Seattle’s food giants with such a unique focus was inspiring and will be very much missed. But in a year of loss there were so many losses that added up and felt even bigger together. Steelhead Diner, El Diablo Coffee, Tilth, Boat Street Kitchen, Serious Biscuit, Juicebox, Jules Maes Saloon … I could go on with others. All of these places have left such an indelible memory of me and history that losing as part of the larger Seattle collective will reverberate and harm. They each hurt in their own way, but there will be a moment when I think of the wings of Jules Maes or Steelhead’s crab cakes, for example, and just can’t get them back. – Frank Guanco, food and wine writer, Seattle Refined
The Dahlia Lounge was the first in mid-March and although it is classified as temporary, it still hurts. My father lived with a terrible motor neuron disease that made eating challenging. At Dahlia he ate on the rare occasion that we ate together outside his home. The servers were so professional and so thoughtful and when I think of the dramatic loss of jobs in the industry this year, this team still stands out. In general, I miss the experience of counter seating in my favorite bars and places like Geraldine’s Counter and Super Six [edit note: both are still open for takeout and limited outdoor dining] – the casual conversations with customers and the sporadic chats with the crew while they crowd (call Seattle’s best server, Dawnelle DeMarco, hit by the pandemic). – – Jill Lightner, food writer and editor
Truly prominent or landmark spots like Tilth and Il Corvo hurt, but I keep thinking about disappearing Vanishing Seattle’s post on South Park’s Mexican restaurant Jalisco. I’ve never been there; I’m not entirely sure I knew it existed. The Instagram post shares some memories from a reader who remembers how the owners saw him grow from a baby to a kid who came in with his siblings or grandma to someone who ordered his beer for his 21st birthday. I read this and just started crying. The world’s jaliscos add texture and connection to our lives – and those are the things we lose when a restaurant closes. – Allecia Vermillion, Editor-in-Chief, Seattle Met
Boat Street Kitchen was probably the deal that hit me hardest emotionally. It was one of the first restaurants in Seattle that I loved. We will miss pintxo even though we didn’t eat downtown often. Arriba Cantina was close by and while we didn’t eat much there we will miss it and hope that something will replace this space. I think Zane + Wylie’s had the best burger I’ve ever had so I’m going to miss this rare splendor. The Steelhead Diner was a great place to take out guests out of town. So it’s sad that it’s closed. And while we usually make our coffee beverages at home, the Cafe Racer closure was a blow – they were such a part of the community. And finally, I’ll miss the Specialty Wheat Germ Chocolate Chip Cookies – they were incredibly warm and I could tell that they were healthy! I’m also sad about all the places that have closed that we haven’t had time for. – Ellen Kuwana, freelance science journalist and editor, founder of WeGotThisSeattle, an initiative that supports frontline employees by partnering with local restaurants
Canon (although we hope they will reopen in 2021). – Andrew Wright MD, general surgeon