The chef who came out of the kitchen to take over and grow a Capitol Hill weekend brunch favorite into a Capitol Hill every day of the week brunch favorite says he plans to stay far away from the restaurant business.
Chef Jeffrey Wilson — a man who loves cooking so much he signs his email Cheffrey — has announced that Broadway’s Americana has permanently closed.
“The seating capacity was not our limitation,” Wilson said.
The restaurant capacity restrictions part of attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19 didn’t matter in the end for Americana, Wilson said. After taking on Ads Paycheck Protection Program loans to pay his workers as he kept the restaurant closed for weeks, Wilson reopened Americana as restrictions were lifted only to find that much of his dining business had disappeared.
His decision to close was made all the more obvious as he watched the numbers at the Broadway Alley restaurant. “The month leading up to it was a drastic decline in sales,” Wilson said.
Takeout and delivery weren’t going to bridge the gap. Americana — and, yes, its daily brunch — would have to close permanently.
Americana was born in 2011 when the previous ownership sold Table 219 to Wilson, their chef eager to launch his own concept. Wilson had been at the restaurant since joining at the end of its days as El Greco where the power of brunch filled tables every weekend. After taking over, he rebooted the restaurant as Americana and dedicated the menu to a creative take on American comfort food with a brunch schedule appropriate to the neighborhood and the food and drink industry workers whose Tuesday and Wednesday might be their Saturday and Sunday. Add boozy milkshakes and a growing following even in non-brunch hours, and Americana was cruising even with a failed expansion in Maple Leaf
But Wilson said the outbreak and the economic fallout has been too much. When he opened Americana, his family was ready to welcome a child and he knew depending on a restaurant business as the family’s sole income was a massive risk. “This is a really bad idea,” Wilson said. “But I saw a lot of potential.”
Nine years later, that potential has run its course. Wilson is skeptical that the restaurant industry will recover anytime soon — especially in an expensive neighborhood like Capitol Hill.
King County officials say the outbreak has again been on the rise in Seattle and across the county as state officials rolled out new restrictions on bars last week to try to slow the spread.
“It’s a combination of people worried about spending money,” Wilson says, “and worried about their health.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org -- LAST UPDATED: 7/23/20
Food and drink
- Nates Wings & Waffles, Happy Grillmore and the Central District Ice Cream Company, announced 8/6/20
- Americana, Broadway, announced 7/23/20
- The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe, E Thomas, announced 7/7/20
- 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
- Ritual House, 19th Ave E, reported 7/15/20
- Totokaelo, 10th Ave, reported 7/13/20
- 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
BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.