A restaurant concept hewn from the bleeding edge of social network supported development couldn’t overcome one of the most ancient evils of the dining business: a tough location.
“The challenges of restaurant business ownership goes beyond cooking good food and providing comfortable good service,” reads the update to Skelly and the Bean’s Facebook page posted Wednesday afternoon. “What happens behind the scenes, before service, can be a messy affair. Economics and other factors being what they are, the challenges of this particular location have not worked out as we had hoped.”
Chef Zephyr Paquette says she will be closing Skelly after just 10 months on the far northern edge of Capitol Hill. The Facebook update says she hopes to find a new location to open soon. The post also acknowledges the logistical challenge of potentially unwinding a business built on membership and community support of “the restaurant Facebook built.” The last night of service is planned for December 20th.
We have contacted Paquette and will update this post once we have an opportunity to speak with her more about the closure.
CHS reported on Paquette’s community-driven concept late in 2011 as she worked to sign up members to support the restaurant. In addition to the community financing, the restaurant was also planned to feature a rotating series of guest chefs and pop-ups in the kitchen.
“I see it as an incubator series that I’ll be curating,” Paquette said at the time. “It will be a showcase for pop-ups and food trucks and also a test kitchen.”
As for the food, with time spent honing her craft with Elliott Bay Cafe, Dandelion and Cafe Flora, Paquette focused Skelly’s menu on farm fresh, local ingredients. It didn’t always work out. The Stranger’s Bethany Jean Clement provided one particularly salty review of the restaurant’s early efforts.
But Skelly was also taking over a space that had all but killed off two previous restaurants. Easy Joe’s lives on near the city’s stadiums. Tidbit moved to a more central location on Broadway but shuttered not long after. Even bringing aboard Jeff Fike — who made the space work previously for at least a little while with his Cassis – did not, apparently, work. The space was also previously XO Bistro and The Austrian, to name a few. Around the corner, Pau Hana also bailed earlier this year. Roanoke Park Place Tavern is left to hold down the fort.
Here is the complete note posted by Paquette announcing the closure:
It’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up.
To every thing, there is a time and a purpose.
The challenges of restaurant business ownership goes beyond cooking good food and providing comfortable good service. What happens behind the scenes, before service, can be a messy affair. Economics and other factors being what they are, the challenges of this particular location have not worked out as we had hoped.
On Thursday, December 20, 2012, we will be opening our doors on North Capitol Hill for the last time. Skelly and the Bean will, however, live on. We are hopeful to find a different location in the very near future so that we can continue what we’ve begun.
We set out on a mission to provide a place to showcase the products from local farmers, ranchers, winemakers and brewers, cheesemongers; to bring the farm to the city and to provide a comfortable environment in which to enjoy their outstanding goods.
With our Incubation Series, we’ve provided a venue for up and coming chefs and future restauranteurs to ply their trade in a real-life environment. Kevin Burzell and Alysson Wilson of Kedai Makan and Kathleen Khoo of StraitFood have both had tremendous success both separately and together; Casey and Deke of 314 Pie have their Australian meat pie truck on the road; Mutsuko Soma of Kamonegi is opening Miyabi on 45th in Wallingford later this month. The seeds of what was started at Skelly and the Bean will grow and blossom elsewhere.
The love and support that we have found in this little pocket of Seattle has been overwhelming. That we must shutter the windows here and find new digs elsewhere has been a heart-rendering choice. As we find a new home, we hope that those of you who can walk to the restaurant will get into your cars, onto your bikes or what other transportation you have and join us again.
There are technical details that need to be worked out, and they will be addressed in the coming weeks. More emails, texts, and phone calls will follow. Please have patience with us as we work through this.
The future is uncertain and life is a process. You try things out, you learn, and move on.
Before we tear down our weathered walls and put them into storage until we can raise them again, we will continue to fill your glass and fill your plates with the best that we can provide. We hope to see your faces in the coming weeks.
On behalf of all of us here at Skelly and the Bean, we wish you well in your adventures in life.
With humility, honor, and respect,