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Adana joins Capitol Hill’s still thankfully short list of permanent COVID-19 closures

A dish at Adana

(Image: Adana)

Be prepared. The joy of “Phase 2” reopenings around Capitol Hill will be joined by the reality that many neighborhood favorites won’t be part of any recovery.

Thursday, Capitol Hill restaurateur Shota Nakajima announced that his upscale Adana at 15th and Pine will remain shuttered.

In the restaurant business, especially, “permanent” can be a loaded term but in the case of Adana and a thankfully short list so far of Capitol Hill and Central District businesses, the decision looks like a done deal.

“I signed my lease at age 25. I’ve had thousands of people come through my place called home for the last 5 years who have created what kind of restaurant it is from each employee to each guest,” Nakajima wrote in a Facebook post announcing the closure.

Last month, CHS spoke with Nakajima about his focus on a smaller, more nimble space at Taku on E Pike through the continuing COVID-19 restrictions and into whatever recovery comes next.

Fine dining and its standards of high levels of attention and service might one of the many areas of Capitol Hill food and drink set to change as Washington’s phased recovery plays out this summer.

Official closures thus far have been few. There may be a good reason for that — many owners can’t quit… yet.

In an essay for Eater, Alex Pemoulie, director of finance for Sea Creatures, the Renee Erickson restaurant group that includes Capitol Hill’s Bateau complex, writes that many owners face personal financial disaster if they shut down:

What very few people realize is that when restaurant owners open their businesses, many of them forfeit their exit plan. They collateralize anything they have to get a little more cash. Margins are so thin that they end up putting up their houses, their cars, anything for a lease or a loan, and sign personal guarantees for all contracts. In some cases, walking away can mean personal financial ruin.

Pemoulie says that emergency legislation is needed to release restaurant owners “from being held personally liable for their commercial leases if they have been impacted by COVID-19” and calls for debt forgiveness for small owners.

For now, we can watch for other decisions like Nakajima’s and wish the neighborhood’s small business owners and workers the best.

Capitol Hill and Central District COVID-19 Crisis Closures: CHS has tried to confirm all reported statuses. Please let us know if any information needs to be updated -- LAST UPDATED: 6/24/20

Food and drink

  • Bill's Off Broadway, E Pine, announced 6/24/20
  • Stumptown, 12th Ave, announced 5/26/20
  • Adana, 15th and Pine, announced 5/21/20
  • Tougo, 18th and Union, announced early April, Yesler location remains open
  • My Thai, 10th Ave E, closed but we're not sure when it shuttered

Retail and more

  • Mode of Fitness, E Pine
  • Urban Outfitters, Broadway, youth fashion chain's exit began last summer as Broadway Market began search for new tenant
  • Le Frock, E Pike, consignment shop announced permanent closure in April
  • H2O2, 19th AVe E, longtime Stevens area hair concern has moved north of the cut

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