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The latest to call it quits at 10th and Miller, Abay Ethiopian moves on

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Back in the Cassis days (Image: King County)

We’re sure the rest of its 85 years at the corner of 10th Ave E and E Miller have been more pleasant.

But for the last decade, the Keuss Building has been home to a rotating menu of Capitol Hill food and drink sadness.

Over the weekend, Abay Ethiopian“named for a great river,” CHS put it when the restaurant was moving in two years ago — served its last meals at the location:

On March 8th Sunday night is Abay Ethiopian Cuisine will be [our] last night. We are moving to a new location. Thank you to all for all love and support through out the years. We met a bunch of great people and made wonderful friends. Please follow us on Facebook and we will let you know about the new locations soon.

One love!!

Management says the plan is to reopen at a new, more fruitful location elsewhere in the Seattle area soon.

Blen Mamo Teklu’s venture lasted longer at the corner than some. Since we began publishing, CHS has written about a string of openings — and closings — in the old brick restaurant space. Skelly and the Bean lasted only 10 months. Before that, Easy Joe’s made a go of it before a successful move to Pioneer Square. The Alcove never opened. Tidbit Bistro lasted almost three years before a move to Broadway and Union before shuttering a year after that. You have to go back to the pre-CHS seven-year run of Cassis to find a story that doesn’t end with premature evacuation. Also, XO Bistro fits somewhere in the timeline. Take it away, old timers…

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24 thoughts on “The latest to call it quits at 10th and Miller, Abay Ethiopian moves on

    • Yup, on the floor below, sort of a half-basement you entered at ground level but further down the hill by the parking lot. After that it became another Italian restaurant we used to go to, can’t remember the name but they had a great chocolate red velvet cake.

  1. 15 years ago, when I was a cook at Pagliacci Pizza, that location at 10th and Miller was known to be the busiest location in the city. Many people from that location were promoted to managers because if you could handle it there, you could handle it anywhere in the city. I’m guessing its a great place for a pizza delivery business, but not so great for a sit down restaurant.

  2. I was just reminiscing about all of the restaurants that used to be in that location in the past 25 years I’ve lived here. I recall it being a British tea house that served high tea at 4pm every day, and then a place called the Rain City Grill (I think?) back in the 1990s. Correct me if I’m wrong about either of those!

    • Yes, it was Rain City Grill and it was open for quite awhile in the early-mid 80’s. I remember it having good food, though I was in college and my standards were different back then.

  3. I love their food and hope that wherever they end up, they can get more walk-in traffic. And hopefully they’ll keep delivering to the hill.

  4. XOBistro was after Cassis, I believe.

    But — before the long list of short-time restaurants, the location housed The Austrian, an older, mid- century style homey restaurant with tablecloths, while the downstairs, back-of the building site was a beer garden type of place. looser, more casual. Two doors down was the European Market.

    Across the street, up till the late 70s, was the New York Deli, which moved to Madison Valley when it’s old brick building was torn down to make room for the mulit-lot condos&services businesses building there now. We moved into the neighborhood from our Belmont & Roy apt just as that change took place. Pacific Desserts had a shop on that intersection then (they moved to Olive and Denny); there was a Seattle authors bookstore by the tavern as well.

    The neighborhood had more rentals back in the 70s/80s; slowly those homes were sold to single-family buyers. Perhaps that’s one reason that business slowed down. The traffic on 10th East has increased immensely over the years, which can’t have helped. Also, there hasn’t been great building signage for the restaurants, or for the fact that there IS parking behind the building. As a local, we have supported the restaurants that have opened and have mourned their passing. The Market closed, too, which was a great disappointment.

    We walk to Broadway and to 15th a lot to eat out, weather permitting. Or down to Sebi’s on Eastlake, or Volunteer Park Cafe. Still, we prefer to have a place around the corner to visit.

    (Sometimes I think that the building owner ought to employ a skilled feng shui practitioner to help him keep his restaurant tenants…)

  5. at one time in the mid to late 1990s it was also a location of Galerias in the space around back. It seems like that building is bewitched

  6. It must have been 1991 when the Rain City Grille opened in this space. Umbrellas hung upside down from the high ceilings and it was hard to get a table, the place was white hot for a while.

  7. Out of curiosity, what concept do folks think would thrive in this location:

    – just a different restaurant concept?
    – general store like Cone & Steiner?
    – Hop shop, wine bar or brewpub?
    – Ice cream/dessert shop like Hello Robin/Molly Moon?
    – Yoga studio?

    I personally would hate to see it just become office space. Thoughts? Who should we lobby to open up here?

    • Pot shop.You got your pizza right there. And a nice pub too.

      Right by the freeway for customers to swing by. Not too far from UW and Broadway. Nice views.

    • Well, we already have a good Pilates studio where the grocery used to be, one that started small across the street and moved up successfully. The intersection has 2 pizza places, a tavern, a dry cleaner, a hair salon, a nail studio, a bike shop, an espresso/coffee shop, a watch repair shop, a paint shop, a building with chiropractor and massage available, a jeweler tucked away in one of the buildings, and a daycare center just off the corner.

      I would vote for a corner grocery, which we used to have, or a cafe that was set up to use both the upstairs and downstairs areas and had hours that inclined it to become a neighborhood gathering, casual eating, place. That whole north end of the building could possibly be remodeled to be more open and inviting.

  8. i know it was in the back, but shout out to pau hana.. the food was meh, the beer was only in cans (and expired usually) but super friendly people. the first time i walked in there they were real quiet until they figured i wouldn’t rat out their mma/ufc showings to directv.

    i hold out little hope for somsiri thai.

    would like to get a pot shop, nice bar or corner store. maybe canon wants to open up a sister location? :}

    traffic indeed sucks on 10th, especially when the bertschi moms are around, and when husky games are over. it once took me 40 minutes to drive from montlake market to 10th & miller.

    • That was Pau Hana – there about a year maybe 2011-12 (?). Good Kalua Pork and reasonably priced. Thought they might make it, but pretty limited menu and just a couple bottled beer choices.

  9. That location is obviously cursed as far as a restaurant is concerned. It always amazes me that, in spite of its history, new places go in there, only to fail in a short amount of time. Don’t prospective owners do some research on the spot before they sign a lease? But I guess “hope springs eternal” for those who want to open their own restaurant.

    I’m not sure exactly what the factors are, but there must be good demographic/geographic reasons why that is just not a good location for a restaurant.

  10. Oh no, I loved Abay! When I went a couple weeks ago, I didn’t realize it would be my last time. I hope they stay closeby when they reopen!

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  12. To be more accurate, the Austrian Restaurant opened around the first of the year in 1981 and lasted till about the end of 1985. The owner lived in a house right behind the restaurant. Brownie’s Rain City Grill was the next tenant and lasted at least through the 1980s.

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