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A downsizing Linda spins off Capitol Hill’s Smith

(Image: Smith)

Almost one year to the day that CHS reported on the sale of Tallulah’s and twelve years and one month after the quiet side of Capitol Hill Linda’s joint broke the “Jake’s to Mango to Mcguire’s to Kozak’s to Cypress curse,” a deal for new owners at 15th Ave E’s Smith is about to be completed.

Linda Derschang confirmed the sale this week and said the plan is for the new, first-time restauranteurs to take over and “not change a thing.” As for Linda, she says don’t read too much into the transaction.

“If you look in any city, you see people opening restaurants, closing restaurants, selling restaurants,” she said Monday.

Instead, the paring down of the Derschang Group empire is about getting older, wanting a smaller company, and, Derschang says, New York City.

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“I’m going to spend more time in New York,” she said, calling the sale of Smith a “life change” as much as anything.

Her company, meanwhile, remains headquartered on the Hill and Linda’s Tavern, Oddfellows and Little Oddfellows are still going strong.

In 2016, Derschang sold her “Northwest nautical”-themed Bait Shop to longtime Derschang Group admirals Mike Leifur and Jonah Bergman. She also moved off the Hill for a smaller, simpler condo downtown.

Last summer, CHS reported on the Derschang Group’s sale of 19th Ave E’s Tallulah’s to entrepreneur and investor Brad Haggen, part of the family behind Haggen supermarkets, who said the restaurant represented a “no brainer” opportunity as he searched for businesses to start or buy following his family’s 2016 sale of their interest in the grocery chain. Tallulah’s has operated much as it always has over the year since with most customers none the wiser — unless they read CHS.

The new owners at Smith are cut from similar cloth. Christopher Forcyzk and Marianne Ide are first time food and drink owners who, Derschang said, she was happy to match up with on their intentions to find a Seattle venue ready to move forward as unchanged as possible. “I’m really happy that they love Smith,” she said.

Smith marked its 12th birthday in June as it broke a string of failed restaurant concepts when it debuted in the summer of 2007. 15th Ave E has grown up around it — but perhaps not so much as other commercial area’s of the Hill like Pike/Pine and Broadway.

For Derschang, she is happy the deal is done and that Smith is in good hands. And she won’t be looking back with any regret — be it from NYC, downtown, or the Derschang Group’s Pike/Pine HQ.

“I am never nostalgic,” Derschang said.

“I like being in a present and looking forward more than I like looking back.”

Smith is located at 332 15th Ave E. You can learn more at

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