Olivar up for sale after nearly 6 years on Capitol Hill

Olivar in Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA

(Image: CHS)

After nearly six years as a veritable neighborhood restaurant, Olivar is on the market. The Spanish tapas spot was recently listed for sale on a commercial real estate website noting “family issues” were behind the sale.

Owner Philippe Thomelin has not returned calls for comment on this story.

In July CHS profiled Thomelin, Olivar’s owner and head chef. “75% of restaurants don’t make it within three years, that’s law,” Thomelin told CHS back in July form his E Roy St. restaurant. “Five years is a great deal. I wanted three.”

The restaurant is listed for a sale price of $125,000. The cozy space across from the Harvard Exit once housed Bacchus and Coco La Ti Da. One of the most stunning features of the restaurant’s interior is the wall-to-wall hand-painted murals featuring scenes from a story by Russian writer Alexander Pushkin. The work was commissioned in 1931 when the Loveless building got its first restaurant, Russian Samovar.

Olivar remained open even as the listing spread around the Capitol Hill food and drink community last week. It’s not the only opportunity in the Loveless building. In November Ada’s Technical Books left for 15th Ave.

Meanwhile, north Broadway has developed a small cluster of fine dining options including Altura and Poppy. An interested food and drink entrepreneur could find the Olivar opportunity an attractive way to join the group.

8 thoughts on “Olivar up for sale after nearly 6 years on Capitol Hill

    • I was never a fan of Olivar but I love the space hence my enthusiasm for new blood in the space. Restaurants come and go that is the nature of the beast. This isn’t a new trend.

  1. It is sad that the first comments are about a looking forward to a new restaurant moving in. It is just that same mentality that is the driving forse of closing and failing restaurants (good ones). Oliver is a good honest neighborhood restaurant that people stopped going two because it wasn’t new anymore. Our city continues to throw away restaurants like they have no value. People work there, that’s chefs dream was having his own restaurant and now it’s a loss. For the record I never worked there and am only connected by being a fellow chef owner that is also no longer new.

    • Dinette isn’t a new restaurant. It’s been on Capitol Hill for 8 years and is looking for a new location. I went to Olivar a bunch of times and will miss them (great food, great service). According to Olivar, “family issues” are the reason for closing, not lack of customers…but whatever, I was just trying to suggest a great spot for a longtime local restaurant.

      • As charming a space as this is (especially with the Pushkin mural, which I believe is the work of artist Jacob Elshin…not sure of the spelling), it is quite small, and I think this reality makes it very difficult for any restaurant to survive there over the long run. I wish it was otherwise, because it has been a restaurant for decades, including the original one (The Russian Samovar).

  2. I really enjoy the food and service at Olivar! The quality puts many more “popular” restaurants to shame (Blueacre I’m talking about you!).

    Olivar will be missed.

  3. As a neighbor of Olivar, I will miss the solid food I came to expect there. I would love to have Dinette open, But the space has the same lack of parking issues that plagued Dinette’s last location.