Just short of its eighteenth anniversary at the corner of 19th and Mercer, The Kingfish Cafe will close its doors next week. But try not to be too sad.
UPDATE 1/15/15: What’s next for the Kingfish… Cafes
“There are good things ahead,” Leslie Coaston told CHS Tuesday night, confirming the out-of-the-blue and shocking announcement about the closure posted to Facebook and spreading like wildfire through the Capitol Hill and soul food loving social network:
Our parents have always said to use your imaginations and create a legacy. We have made our mark and some would even call us a neighborhood fixture. We have been serving up soul on the hill for nearly 20 years. We first opened The Kingfish Café in April of 1997 and shared with you our family recipes and stories. We never imagined that you would embrace us and welcome us into your hearts in the way that you have. It has been an amazing journey but all journeys must come to an end.
Over the years we have served hundreds of customer, most of which we consider our friends and family. We have spent countless hours at the Kingfish, singing, laughing, and creating unforgettable memories with you and it has been our pleasure. You have seen us at our best, and have stood by us through the rest. But the time has come for us to take down the photographs, gather up the family recipes, dim the lights and close our doors for the last time. On January 25, 2015 we will close The Kingfish Café.
Thank you so much for being a part of our journey
Red Beans and Ricefully Yours,
Laurie and Leslie Coaston
As a woman-owned, Black-owned, Black woman-owned entity, Kingfish was one of a kind. Add the nightly lines due to the stubborn adherence to a no reservations policy, awesome soul food, and enormous slabs of cake, and you get a Capitol Hill legend.
The change comes just as the long-sleepy 19th Ave E commercial area had woken from its long nap with the arrival of ventures like Linda Dershchang’s California-flavored Tallulah’s and the expansion of fellow longtimer Monsoon. Meanwhile, the Pelican Bay Artists’ Building will soon be home to a new yoga studio after the Washington Ensemble Theater’s move to the 12th Ave Arts project. Kingfish has long been part of an eclectic commercial block including Fuel Coffee, Emerald City Aikido, and Moonjar, a company that makes toys to teach children financial literacy.
Coaston tells CHS that it was up to her and her sister to close the restaurant and not a lease or financial issue. Leslie wasn’t ready to reveal what comes next but there is a new project afoot. Meanwhile, she said she expects the cafe space to live on as a restaurant under new owners after the last day of service at The Kingfish on Sunday, January 25th.
Thanks to Art for the tip.
UPDATE: Kingfish has announced an update for its hours of business on its final weekend at 19th and Mercer:
Please note the hours for our last days of operation;
Thurs January 22, dinner 5 pm until 9 30 pm
Fri January 23, dinner (only) 5 pm until 10 30 pm
Sat January 24th brunch 10 am until 2 pm
Sat January 24th dinner 5 pm until 10 30pm
Sun January 25 dinner (only) 4 pm until 9 30 pm
No reservatios and expect longer than usual waits.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you.