Le Zinc surrenders: French restaurant to make New Year’s Eve exit from Capitol Hill

9128127360_43f8575a37_b2Sometimes, the lifespan of a business aligns with the pattern of the year. Last New Year’s, 22 Doors quietly closed on 15th Ave E. The year before, Sam’s Tavern began its life with a New Year’s Eve celebration.

After a year and a half of business, 15th and Pine’s Le Zinc will shutter after a NYE bash of its own.

“We had a good time, too,” Le Zinc’s Axel Mace tells CHS. “There comes a point where you must make a decision.”

Le Zinc’s Pike Place Market big brother Maximilien will continue, Mace said. He said Le Zinc did great on weekends but just couldn’t gather momentum for weeknight crowds.

“We love the neighborhood, and the people,” Mace said. “We loved being here.”

Mace and business partner Willy Boutillier opened Le Zinc, named in honor of classic French zinc bar tops, in the summer of 2013. CHS spoke with Boutillier that winter about his plans for the new restaurant in the ground floor of new construction at the top of Pike/Pine.

“In France, when you say you’re going to the zinc, back in the day, it meant you were going to the bar,” Boutillier told CHS. “We have a zinc-topped bar at Maximilien. If feels nice, warm and gets a patina — not too shiny, antique, very subdued.”

To say goodbye, Le Zinc is hosting a $65 four-course menu Wednesday night for New Year’s Eve featuring “Foie Gras (bien sûr!), famous Salade Lyonnaise and Chocolate Gateau.” You’ll also find Bonnie Birch and her accordion to “serenade you into a joyous 2015.”

After Thursday, your Capitol Hill-area French choices are down to Cafe Presse or Bakery Nouveau unless you want to get spendy at Restaurant Marron. UPDATE: Le oops! Also add Inès Pâtisserie which opened at 11th and Madison earlier this year.

No word on what if anything is lined up for the space. If you’re in the market for a Graham Baba-designed Capitol Hill restaurant and ready to take your turn at attracting customers on a quiet, rainy Tuesday, you’ll want to check in as soon as the clock strikes 12.

Meanwhile, the closure caps another busy year of growth for Capitol Hill bars and restaurants.

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21 thoughts on “Le Zinc surrenders: French restaurant to make New Year’s Eve exit from Capitol Hill

  1. Can’t say I’m happy to see a business fail, but at least something else will take its place and it doesn’t mean a building has to come down. As for Le Zinc, I’m afraid I never went, largely because of the name. If it was just Zinc I might have dropped by once or twice, but no, it had to be *Le* Zinc. It’s the little things…

    • Wow, you just publicly outed yourself as a narrow minded dork. You need to get your head out of “le” ass and get a broader perspective on the world if a simple “Le” bothers you so much.

  2. Sorry to hear this. Just went last week, and had a wonderful meal with excellent service, as we had on our previous visits.

    p.s. Thursday is New Year’s Day, not Eve. Assuming Wednesday is the last night?

  3. This doesn’t surprise me at all (not to say anything bad about Le Zinc, either). Just last night my friend and I were passing two upscale restaurants a block from there that were both devoid of customers. “Damn, how do these places stay open if they’re only busy weekends?”, he asked. Well… They don’t. I think we all know there are lots more recently-opened restaurants that will soon suffer the same fate as Le Zinc. It’s inevitable with the ridiculous number of new restaurants we’ve seen open recently–especially so many high-end ones. Hopefully some that fail will be replaced with new ones that are more approachable.

    • I totally agree! At the end of the day, you just want to go to a cool place with great food & prices, be served well and make you want to return again and again, with friends even.

  4. Really sorry to see this. When they first opened it seemed like an attractive space with friendly wait staff, but I wondered how they could compete with Cafe Presse being so close and quite a bit less expensive. Le Zinc added a Happy Hour that included the best mussels, good wine and thoughtful cocktails. I’m going to miss them.

  5. Restaurants need to find a way to survive on happy hour and/or happy hour prices. Some of us don’t have a lot of money but would gladly pay $5-$7 on an appetizer. If you get a rep for having delicious happy hours you can get people of different income levels in the door, which makes it feel livelier and increases the likelihood that a rich person who doesn’t care about prices will also come in. I feel bad that I didn’t know Le zinc had a happy hour until now. I have always wanted to go there but I just assumed I couldn’t afford it. Now I’ve missed my chance. (P.s. It would be awesome if CHS wrote articles about the best happy hours on the hill or the best deals for good, cheap food for those of us with way less money).

  6. Good. Now we someone can open a live music venue their and bring back the old Capitol Hill. Wait. Rents are still to high. Oh well, nice thought.

  7. Imagine if you will a restaurant/bar that catered to people who want to carry on a conversation and not compete with live(loud) music. One that didn’t have a trendy concept. One that served good food at fair prices in an unpretentious manner. Add to that servers who are hired for their ability rather than their youth or beauty. Finally, regarding music, play strictly classical music, not Vivaldis 4 Seasons or any other music for the masses. Serious classical music and perhaps a live trio or quartet on certain nights. To my knowledge this doesn’t exist here. There are plenty of us old geezers with money and without who would coming rushing thru the doors. Well ok, maybe at 50, 60 and beyond we wouldn’t rush. Bit at whatever speed I know I for one would be a regular patron. Am I crazy? Delusional? Does anyone agree with me?

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