Post navigation

Prev: (04/30/15) | Next: (04/30/15)

A(nother) Capitol Hill restaurant closure with (probably) nothing to do with the minimum wage

Lunak (Image: Kaisho)

Lunak (Image: Kaisho)

Just days after the Broadway location of an international pizza chain announced it would be closing because of the city’s minimum wage rules for franchises, another chain restaurant Capitol Hill restaurant has closed.

But you can’t curse Kshama Sawant for this one, Dori Monson.

The tech money-powered investors behind the Boom Noodle and Blue C chains of Japanese-flavored concept restaurants are once again rebooting the space at 12th and Pike born as one of the many Booms and eventually transformed into the one-off Kaisho late last year.

The experiment lasted a few months.

Here’s how we described it last year as part of a wave of Asian-inspired openings planned for the Hill:

On the other end of the investment spectrum, Kaisho should open later this summer in the former home of Boom Noodle on E Pike. Backed by the same corporate entity behind the Blue C and Boom Noodle ventures, Kaisho is the creation of Madison Holdings Chief Culinary Officer – and “former protégé of “Iron Chef” Morimoto,” apparently — Jeffrey Lunak. Talking to us from Napa, Lunak told CHS the Kaisho concept was shifted from Bellevue to E Pike as the company decided a plan to expand Blue C would better suit its larger Eastside space. Unlike Blue C’s goals of global sushi conquest, Lunak says Kaisho and its base $200,000 upgrade is “our first step into partnering with very talented chefs” to create unique, single-location dinging experiences. At Kaisho, you’ll find “Chef de Cuisine” Kalen Schramke, formerly of Terra Plata, and a “combination of global influences, Asian flare and local ingredients.”

In Kaisho’s place, the company is planning a reboot of the original Boom concept, according to a Twitter message announcing the abrupt closure.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill is bursting with new noodle joints. Thursday, Japanese import Kukai Ramen opens officially on E Pine after a week of soft service. CHS told you about the new ramen offerings — and Kukai’s special roasted bone broth — here. But, wait, there’s more. Slog says University District favorite U:Don’s new 12th Ave Arts location is also open as of Thursday. We told you here about the incoming “Fresh Japanese Noodle Station” last year as plans for the new development were coming together. The rest of the arts and affordable housing-focused development’s trio of food and drink offerings will be ready in coming weeks including a planned June 1 opening for the new Capitol Hill Rachel’s Ginger Beer location. If you’re still hungry, there’s also a new Japanese offering on E Union as Gokan by Musashi and its focus on the art of sushi has opened in new construction on the rapidly developing blocks south of Pike.

Thanks to LaRisa for the tip!

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

24 thoughts on “A(nother) Capitol Hill restaurant closure with (probably) nothing to do with the minimum wage

  1. This place could not decide if it wanted to be a bar or a restaurant, offering very casual bar style service in the very large dining room. I tried to eat at Kaisho a few times and ended up either with just a quick drink or leaving after sitting and waiting and waiting. I’ve heard the original partners spilt up and who ever left was obviously the part that was concept and operations.

  2. Aw I actually really liked that place, the food was delicious and the beer was cheap. Of course, there was never the same bartender/server there twice, and there was always plenty of room, so maybe the writing was always on the wall (and maybe I also liked it because it was never overcrowded).

  3. I’m not sad to see Kaisho go. Boom Noodle might have been predictable, Pan-Asian/American food, but at least it was consistent and pretty good. Kaisho never seemed to know what it wanted to be, but IMHO, the food wasn’t that good. The space has a lot of potential, so I wish them luck with their next venture….

    • Agreed. I was disappointed when they made a mediocre izakaya instead of a mediocre sushi bar. They at least know how to do mediocre sushi pretty well.

    • Also agree. This was “fusion” food at its worst and most confused. Ditto all the comments on terrible service & waiting for no reason, too.

  4. I liked it when it was Boom Noodle. It was decent and you knew what to expect – it also had a consistent volume of people, leaning towards busy. The new place seemed weird and uninviting so I never tried it. Plus, it always looked empty. I never understood why they tinkered with a good thing.

  5. I liked Boom Noodle too. I don’t understand why they keep re-inventing themselves. My head is spinning from all the new restaurants but I still haven’t found many places to grab a healthy bite when I’m out running errands, living my life etc. I don’t want/need a complex, curated, expensive dining experience. Friends, tell me, where can I go eat . . . that is reasonably quick, fast and healthy?

      • Thanks Spiffy!

        I love Jamjuree and have been eating there for years. Rancho Bravo is a little too dirty for me but Honey Hole has great fries. I will explore the other places you suggested! But wait, Wandering Goose . . . isn’t that owned by the woman who started the VPC? She once told her employee he had bad B.O. right in front of me and that turned me off to her forever.

      • The woman who owns The Wandering Goose is one of the two original partners of VPC. If you aren’t who commented on their employee’s BO, pop into the Goose and see if Heather was the offender, though I sort of doubt it.

      • I don’t know if you’ve been to the Neighbor Lady lately, but I certainly can’t recommend it anymore. The prices went up, menu options went down, and the the quality of the food there has been horrible since the new year. I don’t know if they have some new kitchen chef, management, supplier or what, but unfortunately they went from among the best to among the worst.

      • That’s a dang shame.

        Well if you’re looking for food in the Neighbor Lady/CD area check to see what food truck is at Chuck’s Hop Shop. They’ve had some good ones like WhereYaAtMatt / NowMakeMeASandwich / and a Cuban one whose name I can’t recall.

        There was also a Phillipino fusion-y type thing parked at Uncle Ike’s one time, and some pizza setup over at Smash Putt.

      • Oh and of course Sam’s Morroccan Sandwich shop! 23rd and Union next to Smash Putt.

        That place is the ballz, and Sam’s the shizznit.

      • The Cuban food truck is Snout & Company, and take it from this ex-Miami resident: they make one of the most dependably Excellent AUTHENTIC Cuban sandwiches you’ll find in Seattle. Seriously, would hold its own up against any of Miami’s best.

  6. Ha! Walked by the place last night and saw the signs of impending redesign. Good riddance. I talked my GF into trying Kaisho a little while back, but the combination of a host who clearly knew absolutely nothing about the neighborhood or the menu, and the complete lack of service of any variety wore us out. After sitting in an almost empty restaurant for over 15 minutes without water, drinks, or even an “I’ll be right with you”, we hoofed it outta there and down to Pettiroso.

    As others have said, Boom Noodle was a solid neighborhood joint (before they retooled the menu into nothingness), but Kaisho was an epic failure.

  7. And another one bites the dust. I actually kind of liked Kaisho because the happy hour menu was absurdly cheap. For a while they had $1 beers and then good $3 tap beers. Not a bad bao-inspired burger either for $5 or 6 I think. I hope the staff is able to work at the new Boom and that they have an equally cheap happy hour (unless that is what lead to their demise, I suppose.)

  8. Yeah, I don’t understand why Boom Noodle vanished. I really liked the joint with its good food and decent service (though a different server took your order, served your drink, served your food, and then followed up…a little confusing, but it worked out fine). Boom Noodle was a good place to get dinner or a quick drink, and was usually busy but always accommodating. Never tried Kaisho, so I can’t speak to it.

    I vote for bringing Boom back.

  9. Once they changed the Boom menu a couple years ago, it was awful. So hopefully we’re getting the original back.

    Also, Kaisho wasn’t a one-off, there was another in Downtown Bellevue. Also sucked, and closed.

    • I agree with you about the re-vamping of Boom Noodle….not only did they eliminate some great dishes (such as the okonomayaki), but they raised their prices too. Hopefully, the original will come back.

  10. These guys plans were never for a unique neighborhood joint. They are just test-driven “upscale casual” concepts in effort to find one that hits a certain sweet spot so that they can take the concept national. Its all about expansion for them & making a lot of money. Which is why I think their places are better suited for the University Village Mall (like Blue C) than they are for Capitol Hill.

  11. Boom Noodle used to rent the commercial kitchen where I live. I saw what went in and what went out. Good old Top Ramen from Costco. Need I say more?

  12. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | Soi — the other ambitious restaurant project coming to 10th and Union | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle