A 22-year veteran of Capitol Hill food and drink will be put to rest this weekend. The Grill on Broadway — or, the Broadway Grill as old timers knew her — is going out of business:
It’s very difficult to report bad news, especially when it happens to valued and long term members of the Capitol Hill and LGBTQ communities, as well as personal friends. After a protracted battle to save it, the 22 year old iconic restaurant and bar, The Grill on Broadway will be closing its doors for business, this Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 10:00 p.m.
In 2010, when The Walsh Creative Group purchased the flailing restaurant, problems left by the previous ownership and management became apparent almost immediately. “We knew that quality of food and service associated with the old Broadway Grill had fallen short over the years, but what we didn’t know was just how deeply those problems were rooted.” says Matthew Walsh, current owner of The Grill.
CHS reported on the purchase of the iconic Broadway eatery back in 2010 by former server Matt Walsh and CJ Saretto. The new ownership was hit hard later that year when a wave of credit card fraud was tied to a breach of the restaurant’s point of sale system.
Walsh told Seattle Gay Scene the early blow was difficult to recover from. “The effects were devastating to The Grill, generating massive amounts of negative publicity and drastically reduced revenue at the restaurant,” Seattle Gay Scene writes.
The restaurant confirmed its closure via Facebook Tuesday morning:
Dear Friends -
What you’ve read, or may soon read, is true. After 22 years, we’re closing the doors at The Grill on Broadway.
In spite of what it may seem, we’re a very small business. We don’t have endless financial resources to keep us afloat like a chain restaurant or large corporation could. We spent our life savings to bring the restaurant back from what it had become and it’s heartbreaking that we cannot continue. We appreciate the love and support shown to The Grill on Broadway over the years from the Capitol Hill community, and the many friends we have made who have truly become part of the huge extended “Grill Family” – that includes our incredible staff of hardworking, talented and amazing servers, bartenders and kitchen staff, in addition to every loyal regular who steps through our door. It’s with a huge and profound sadness that we must end this amazing journey.
Please join us this week for a dinner and/or a cocktail. We’re planning some special things this week, and we hope you can join us.
Thanks again for an amazing run…
Despite the challenges, Walsh gave the grand old dame a makeover and rebranded the operation as The Grill on Broadway as part of moving forward. It remained known as a place for comfortable meals, booze and brunch — and stayed true to its role in gay culture in the transforming neighborhood rapidly transitioning with new developments, new transportation projects and lots of new neighbors. It also provided a great spot for sitting along the busy street and seeing what would walk by next. And, of course, Halloween on Broadway will never be quite the same.
Grill owner Debbie Augustavo decided to sell the family business as the faded restaurant hit lean times in the late 2000s.
Sunday is the Grill’s last night of business. Here’s the full announcement from the restaurant:
With great sadness, The Walsh Creative Group, the current owners of the iconic 22 year old Capitol Hill bar, restaurant and show venue, The Grill on Broadway will close its doors this Sunday night, April 28, 2013 and cease business operations. Despite a recent upturn in business and community awareness, due to improved food, service and entertainment options, severe financial obligations imposed by previously un-discovered mechanical, structural and operational issues associated with the business, prior to The Walsh Creative Group’s takeover in 2010, have resulted in additional, unforeseen expenses that have totaled into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.“In spite of what it may seem, we’re a very small business,” commented owner Matthew Walsh. ”We don’t have endless financial resources to keep us afloat like a chain restaurant or large corporation could. We spent our life savings to bring the restaurant back from what it had become and it’s heartbreaking that we cannot continue. We appreciate the love and support shown to The Grill on Broadway over the years from the Capitol Hill community, and the many friends we have made who have truly become part of the huge extended “Grill Family” – that includes our incredible staff of hardworking, talented and amazing servers, bartenders and kitchen staff, in addition to every loyal regular who steps through our door. It’s with a huge and profound sadness that we must end this amazing journey.”Since 2010, Walsh and his team have spent countless hours and dollars supporting local charities and organizations, raising more than a quarter million dollars for such vital community service groups as Rise ‘n’ Shine, Gay City Health Project, and Lifelong AIDS Alliance. In addition, The Grill on Broadway has donated space and food to many major arts organizations like the Seattle International Film Festival and Three Dollar Bill Cinema, as well as independent film and music projects.Walsh continues, “There isn’t a minute that goes by that I don’t recognize the profound impact that The Grill has had on the Capitol Hill neighborhood and Seattle’s LGBTQ community for the last two decades. I wanted The Grill to not just be a restaurant, and not just a bar but also an active member of the community. We’ve been honored to serve an extraordinary and diverse community.” The Grill on Broadway is one of the participating restaurants for Thursday’s DINE OUT FOR LIFE, benefitting Lifelong AIDS Alliance, and will still participate this Thursday.Since constructing the Atrium Stage in 2012, The Grill on Broadway has also been a home for a variety of performers, including the very popular MIMOSAS WITH MAMA, the longest running drag brunch in Seattle, the CAPITOL HILL TALENT SHOW, and most recently Sylvia O’Stayformore’s BACON STRIP, Seattle’s beloved “Big Gay Variety Show”. Please check the individual show’s websites and Facebook pages for new information in the days and weeks ahead.
We have questions out to the Grill’s management to find out more about the timing of the closure and what’s next. UPDATE: A representative tells us the timing of the closure was strictly a logistical decision based on mundane elements like payroll schedules and the like. Given costs and the business’s trajectory, it wasn’t apparently worth hanging on through Pride and summer.
The restaurant employees 35 people.
UPDATE: CHS reached one of the partners in the company that owns the property who said he was aware of the restaurant’s decision to close but did not want to comment on the situation or future plans for 314 Broadway E at this time.
UPDATE: The Stranger’s Dominic Holden says goodbye: “…the Grill was unmatched in Seattle in its day—and for that many of us fags are grateful. Thanks for all the super fun, super faggy times, Broadway Grill.”
CHS food+drink notes:
- Lose some, win some. Capitol Hill got its much deserved Bakery Nouveau this week. Here’s a look inside. Capitol Hill played it cool for the Monday debut. By Tuesday morning, there was a steady line.
- If that line gets too long, or you’re looking for something different, Cafe Abodegas is now running at full pace with wraps, sandwiches and breakfast treats — plus, Idaho-roasted coffee :)
- REMINDER! Thursday will be warm and lovely and you should go out to eat for a good cause. Channel all of that Restaurant Week blah into the 2013 Dining Out for Life event this Thursday as restaurants across the city and all over Capitol Hill pony up bucks for Lifelong AIDS Alliance.
- Somebody takes on monumental task of trying to review all 96 acres of Von Trapp’s: “Our server was stumped when we asked her to tell us which sausage was which. Her confusion made sense when we started eating: The sausages, trapped in casings which clung as tightly as a 3-year-old bathing suit, all tasted salty, porky, and flat.”
- Maybe more interesting is the Von Trapp’s writer’s comments about the changing nature of pro restaurant review etiquette: “For now, I’m sticking to the code, but that’s a decision every critic has to make…”
- Another Hill beer hall gets a review as The Stranger took a swig at The Pine Box: “… quite fancy for a beer hall…”
- Here’s where Tom Douglas says you should eat on Capitol Hill.
- Capitol Hill is all over this “new Seattle breakfast” roster. Seems like they neglected “juice.”
- Speaking of… happy birthday Juicebox…
- Speaking of… crap, we’re really behind on wrapping up recent food+drink anniversaries.
- Here’s another one. Marination Station turns two and is celebrating all day Tuesday with $2 beer and free cake.
- Maybe the whole Broadway Grill/Grill on Broadway closure thing is a stunt to draw attention away from Bleu Bistro’s Grotto getting nailed with bad press for trying to tack on a sick leave surcharge. Owner Ross McCartney told CHS he was ending the surcharge ASAP following the controversy.
- As if it could bee (buzz!) any more darling, The Wandering Goose has honeybee homes up top.
- Speaking of adorable, even Molly Moon’s cash registers are going to be cute (and fancy!)
- Ethan Stowell’s payment system? Just fancy.
- The Capitol Hill meat doughnut returned, briefly, last week.
- Food and drink from the CHS Flickr pool:
|This week’s CHS food+drink advertiser directory|