The Emerald City’s once booming food scene has been devastated by over 60 restaurant closures since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. And now, another acclaimed eatery with a long history in the city is saying adieu. The Boat Street Kitchen & Bistro in Belltown will permanently close on Nov. 15 after 15 years in Seattle.
“This was not a thoughtless or hasty decision for our team to make and it pains us deeply to close the place that we’ve considered our home for so long,” wrote the Boat Street Kitchen owners and team in a farewell statement on Thursday.
Known for it’s rustic French fare and cozy atmosphere, the restaurant charmed diners with dishes like wine braised short ribs, chicken liver pate and amaretto bread pudding. The restaurant also launched the career of one of the Emerald City’s most lauded chefs: James Beard Award-winner Renee Erickson.
Boat Street got its start as a cafe in the University District owned by chef Susan Kaplan. While getting her degree at the University of Washington, Erickson began as an apprentice for Kaplan and eventually became a co-owner in 1998.
Boat Street Kitchen landed on Western Ave. in 2005 as a counterpart to the cafe that also served brunch. But in 2015, Erickson closed the cafe, her first restaurant in the city, to focus on her other projects.
Over the years, the kitchen offered cooking classes and even an immersive cooking program in France, which is still planned for 2021.
Like many other restaurants in the Emerald City, Boat Street struggled to stay afloat amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant shifted to offering to-go food and cocktail kits and recently began seating diners indoors and on their patio.
But with the winter ahead and no signs of the virus letting up, the owners said the events of 2020 “forced their hand” and made the painful decision to close the restaurant.
“We are hoping this next month will be a celebration of all the lives that have passed through our doors, all the events we were blessed to be part of, and all the crave-worthy meals,” wrote the owners. “We hope you will come in to raise a glass (and a fork) with us one last time.”
Erickson’s other famed restaurants, including The Whale Wins, Bateau, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Westward, Willmott’s Ghost, Bistro Shirlee and General Porpoise cafes are still open. Capitol Hill’s Bar Melusine, Ballard’s Barnacle and Deep Dive at the Amazon Spheres remain temporarily closed during this period.