The princes of Pike/Pine are expanding their empire. Jason Lajeunesse and David Meinert and Lost Lake and Comet manager Joey Burgess have teamed up on a new partnership to purchase 11th Ave’s Grim’s and its upstairs dance and event venue The Woods.
“The move also marks the launch of their new restaurant, bar and entertainment group, Guild Seattle,” an announcement on the deal reads.
According to the announced deal, Grim’s owner Laura Olson “approached the new group when looking to restructure her business holdings in the area.” Olson, behind the Po Dog hot dog chain and a flurry of entrepreneurial nightlife activity, ran into challenges with the closure of The Social nightclub on E Olive Way in 2013. In a court document dated in August, Olson owed more than $60,000 following a default judgement over unpaid rent on the E Olive Way lease. Olson’s former fiance and business partner Chris Pardo, meanwhile, is working these days in the Palm Springs area.
Grim’s also has a pending personal injury lawsuit in progress for unspecified damages after a man claimed bouncers allowed him to be beaten outside the venue.
Grim’s, in the meanwhile, continued to offer its version of the Pike/Pine cocktail culture on 11th Ave where it opened replacing Grey Gallery in 2010. Its upstairs event and dance space The Woods has seemingly thrived and continued to draw sometimes heavy crowds. Dance on 11th Ave might be a secret success of Pike/Pine. The nearby Rhino Room has plans to expand its capacity, according to city permits.
As the acquisition is finalized up to the planned December 3rd handover, the new partnership has said it plans to evaluate its assets. “There will be an assessment of all operations once we have taken over the business,” Burgess, the director of operations for the new Guild Seattle partnership, is quoted as saying in the announcement. “Our goal is to continue keeping everyone employed and run things as is until we better understand the ins and outs.”
The duo of Lajeunesse and Meinert has been an active team. In November, they made the deal to take over the Comet after earlier plans to expand beyond Pike/Pine into the 15th Ave E arena. Instead, a partnership between the ownership of Sam’s Tavern and Neumos partner Mike Meckling now rule The Canterbury.
The announcement also provides a handy description of the key players involved for those of you keeping score at home. The Comet, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.
About Guild Seattle: Guild Seattle strives to create unique, affordable neighborhood gathering spaces that promote personality, preservation and progress through great food and drinks, music and community engagement. The group oversees the operations of Lost Lake Café, The Comet Tavern and The 5 Point Café and employs more than 200 people- including artists, musicians, performers and many on the outer edges of the mainstream.
Guild Seattle’s Partners:
Jason Lajuenesse serves on the Capitol Hill Chamber and is an owner / managing partner in Neumos, Barboza, Moe Bar, Pike St Fish Fry, The Capitol Hill Block Party, Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge, The Comet Tavern and Big Mario’s Pizza.
David Meinert is a founding board member of The Vera Project among other projects and is a partner in Big Mario’s owns The 5 Point Café, The Comet Tavern, Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge, Onto Entertainment, and Seattle Event Services.
Joey Burgess has worked in the hospitality industry for 14 years. He has worked in various restaurants in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Prior to managing Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge and The Comet Tavern he was the General Manager of Smith, Emmer & Rye and The Chapel.