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Another late 2019 Capitol Hill closure, Añejo exits old Dilettante space on Broadway

The end of 2019 is bringing a small ripple of restaurant closures with one big thing in common — large spaces on Capitol Hill.

When owner Edgar Pelayo first told CHS about his plans for Añejo Restaurant and Tequila Bar in the former home of Dilettante on Broadway, he summed the situation up.

“It’s large — which translates to expensive.”

A year and a half from its April 2018 opening, Añejo quietly shuttered this week at the corner of Broadway and E Mercer just a block from the new north Broadway home of the Seattle Consulate of Mexico.

There is apparently something else already lined up to take its place.

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In a message posted on the shuttered 3,000-square-foot restaurant’s windows and doors, Pelayo thanked his customers and said he had sold the restaurant to focus on his Viva Mexico restaurant in White Center. The message, you might have noticed, also promised half off Añejo’s tequila and mezcal. Sorry you missed the closing party.

It’s not clear what will come next for the space after Pelayo’s sale of his lease. Tenancy in the space is a little more complicated than most. The Brix’s status as a condominium building extends to its commercial spaces. In the case of Añejo, the space was purchased by Chinese real estate investors registered to a Shanghai address in a $1.3 million 2017 transaction. Any tenant taking over the space will have a subordinated lease relationship with the ownership’s bank.

The former owner of the space had been a part of Broadway for four decades. Dilettante’s parent company purchased the unit for $1.2 million in 2007, according to King County records, and opened its Dilettante Mocha Café in the space. In 2017, the company announced it would be exiting the street. The business started in 1976 with a cafe called simply “The Dilettante” in the 400 block of Broadway E.

Añejo’s exit follows news that another larger than average Capitol Hill venue, Pike/Pine’s Stout, will close Friday after five years of business in the preservation incentive-boosted Sunset Electric building. Meanwhile on Broadway, Capitol Hill Tex-Mex bar and grill Rooster’s pulled up stakes late this summer with word something new would be moving in. The space remains empty. Elsewhere, the north end of the Broadway food and drink core is busy with activity with the opening of Altura sibling Carrello, new owners at Lionhead, work underway to reopen the old Broadway Grill space as Olmstead, a new sibling to nearby Witness, and work starting soon on a new “self pour” beer and wine cafe in the former Roy Street Coffee space.

As for tequila on the street, don’t forget that Broadway La Cocina is now La Cocina y Cantina.

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14 thoughts on “Another late 2019 Capitol Hill closure, Añejo exits old Dilettante space on Broadway

  1. Not surprised at all by this closing. A few menu items had promise, but definitely not nearly enough to keep itself afloat.

    Curious to see what will take its place..

  2. I tried to go there for brunch one day and the staff told me they weren’t open. But the sign on the door said they were open as did the advertised hours. Another restaurant doomed by shitty management and poor staff attitudes towards customers. The quality of service in restaurants anymore is abysmal and the reason I cannot patronize the following anymore: Solstice(dead), Deluxe(should be dead), Julia’s (beyond awful), Rooster’s (worst service/food ever), Americana (good food, terrible service) and the servers make $15.00 plus tips. And the stoned server staff can’t do their jobs!!

    • Disagree with you about Deluxe. I had lunch there recently, and the server was very helpful and friendly. And the owner was on-site, looking after things, always a good sign. There is a reason that it’s stayed in business for decades.

      • Deluxe is a stalwart. It’s a bar/grill not a fine dining establishment and the service is just fine. Most of the serving staff has been there as long as I’ve been going. Sure, sometimes I have to flag a server down for the check, but that’s usually because once my kid is done eating, he’s ready to go.

        RE Anejo, the food was meh, the prices were unrealistic for what they were giving. the build out of that space is just not particularly pleasant. It is loud, oddly sterile feeling, and the service was terrible.

        I hope the owners consider subdividing the space.

        What north Broadway could use in any one of these big spaces is a more health focused all day cafe featuring both to-go and sit down items. Not that we need more coffee, but a place that makes a bunch of salads, and has a range of vegetarian options would be great. I think about the old Globe (RIP) or Sunlight (in Ravenna, but talk abotu service…) and whenever we talk about this hole in the food map of the hill, my wife or a friend will say, “bring back the gravity bar!” sadly, i never got to experience the gravity bar. SO if any restaurateur is listening: all day healthy food options, salads, vegetarian options, etc…

  3. This was to be expected. I live nearby and I’ve seen this place pop up and didn’t give it very long from the get-go. The place didn’t know what it wanted to be. A Mexican restaurant for a cheap tacos? A place for a higher end Mexican dinner? A cocktail or Tequila bar? It wanted to be everything but ended up being nothing.

    Investment in interior was also kept to the absolute minimum, and thus the place had absolutely no soul. The cheap “we are open” LED sign on the front, the poorly designed posters on the windows, the crappy logo,… Branding and interior design was completely neglected. I do realize these things require a big upfront investment, but in such a competitive environment it can’t simply be ignored.

    I cannot comment on the food (only had a couple of drinks there) or the service (can’t remember) but the place wasn’t inspiring (at first sight and when entering) and there are a lot of better options nearby. I walked past it tons of times on my way to restaurants and bars located further away.

    Dueminuti (also on Broadway) had a similar problem (didn’t attract customers at first) but realized soon enough they had to change their positioning and invest more in interior. They rebranded as Due Cucina Italiana and now their restaurant is bustling! Great to see such a turn-around.

    Finally – allow me to make a prediction – I don’t think Bauhaus (former Downpour) is going to make it and I’m afraid location has something to do with it. People just don’t know about it and it’s not exciting enough to spread through word of mouth.

    To end with a positive note, Harry’s Fine Foods shows that with the right concept and the right eye for detail in terms of interior design one can create a great restaurant through word-of-mouth in a not-so-ideal location. This shows that food traffic (which Añejo had tons of) is no guarantee of success.

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