As we tick off the new openings from our 2016 new bars and restaurants to come list and celebrate the not really death and really rebirth of Sur 16, there is a passing we failed to note this summer that has left a small hole on E Pike just as the street is filling in with new options.
When we first reported on the melding of the business acumen behind Rancho Bravo with the location and history of E Pike dive Vietnamese restaurant Ballet, the pairing seemed like a most excellent recipe. But restaurateur Freddy Rivas said his overhaul of the old E Pike joint on the Comet Tavern’s block is not happening. It turns out Ballet closed for good with a quiet whimper this summer.
Last November, CHS reported on Rivas’s plans for Buddha’s Kitchen, a Pike/Pine-worthy revamp of Ballet after he acquired the business earlier that year. But Rivas told us this week he decided to move onto other ventures after early starts at running the restaurant and making plans for the construction. Instead, Rivas is now gearing up to open another Rancho Bravo, this one in the U District.
In October 2015, CHS talked with Dzung Nguyen about his decision to sell the family business. Nguyen said Ballet was still a strong business but that he was ready for a change after his family’s 16 years of running the restaurant.
The empty business fronts in the Ballet building aren’t anything new. CHS reported in the summer of 2011 on the “for lease” signs up on the block. Currently, both of the commercial spaces in the building are available. The building is owned by Ron Amundson who bought the 1908, three-story masonry building in spring of 2007 for $2.4 million according to King County records. Amundson is a prolific Capitol Hill real estate investor and developer who also owns the land lined up for eventual development where Rancho Bravo stands at 10th and Pine.
E Pike, meanwhile, has some new food and drink options open and in the works. Next to the Comet, Ikina Sushi and its late night hot dog cash financing opened this summer. Across the street, the new Paseo Capitol Hill is slated to open soon and a new cafe from Seattle Coffee Works is targeting an early 2017 debut. Anybody who wants to join the dance, the Ballet space is open.