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Central District says goodbye to legendary Catfish Corner

(Image: Catfish Corner)

(Image: Catfish Corner)

With an expensive judgement in a lawsuit brought by its MLK and Cherry landlord sealing the deal, a legendary Central District restaurant and community spot has shuttered.

Catfish Corner quietly closed earlier this month as the unlawful detainer case came to a close with the court ruling the Corner’s ownership owes more than $18,000 to building owners Cederstrand Rentals. A check of court records also shows a string of warrants for unpaid state taxes in recent years. Court documents indicate the space rented for around $1,800 a month.

The closure marks the end of 30 years of fried goodness and a black-owned business at the corner — and has many fans lamenting they didn’t get a last chance to say goodbye:

As a hub for information on the Black Community Catfish Corner will be missed by all for the Food and a gathering place.

NBA star Aaron Brooks enjoying some Smartar Tartar (Image: Catfish Corner)

NBA star Aaron Brooks enjoying some Smartar Tartar (Image: Catfish Corner)

Catfish Corner is owned by a company headed by the West family who have owned the business since the mid-2000s. The Go West company also produces Smartar Tartar

You’ll notice the difference in color. It’s not white with pickles. The texture is different because of all the other ingredients in it. And best of all, is the taste.

We’ve reached out to Go West and Smartar Tartar to learn more but have not yet heard back.

In the late ’90s, Catfish Corner founders Rosie and Woody Jackson sought to move the restaurant to 23rd and Jackson but were beat out by a little coffee company called Starbucks, according to the Seattle Times. A Kent Catfish Corner location lasted only a few years before shuttering in 2012.

There don’t appear to be any major overhauls lined up for the MLK and Cherry location known for its giant Martin Luther King, Jr. mural and we haven’t seen any permit activity that indicates a new tenant is ready to move in.

In the meantime, Catfish Corner fans are in mourning. “What are we gonna do now?,” one person lamented on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “I was raised on your fish. Why didn’t someone tell us so we could stock up? I am spinning right now.”

UPDATE 9/10/14: Following up on the story, we reached out to the owner of the Catfish Corner building to ask about the situation and what’s next for the space. The owner declined to comment at this time.

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15 thoughts on “Central District says goodbye to legendary Catfish Corner

  1. How about ya’ll learn how to cook some catfish. It was good, but I do believe that each one of us has the same ability as any restaurant.

  2. There were many days when I was the only white person in there, but no one ever gave me a second look. I loved that place. They had the best food. I will miss them a lot, especially their red beans and rice.

  3. It wouldn’t have needed saving if enough people ate there. It’s gone for the same reason the Jewish bakery isn’t there anymore – people moved elsewhere.

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  7. I’m very saddened that this iconic restaurant has closed. It was one of those landmark places to visit for Seattle with food that had a distinctive taste. What a terrible loss.

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