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RIP Nate’s and its family of good eats at 13th and Jeff

Nate’s in happier times

Nate’s Wings & Waffles, Happy Grillmore, and the Central District Ice Cream Company — a trio of joints co-owned by Darren McGill that made 13th and Jefferson a busy spot for soul food and good eating — are permanently closing up shop as the COVID-19 crisis drags on, adding to the list of Capitol Hill and Central District businesses unable to recover amid the pandemic.

When the coronavirus hit and companies like Amazon and Redfin pulled out of office catering orders, the 13th and Jefferson sister restaurants could no longer stay afloat.

“it was like one thing after another,” McGill said. “It wasn’t just because of COVID — that was the main underlying cause but rent increase, food cost increase, everything was going up and then this happened and it was like the last straw.”

Happy Grillmore, which housed the Central District Ice Cream Company after the scoop shop moved from its E Union location, was a burger joint primarily reliant on catering to downtown and Pioneer Square companies. “Probably like 60% of our sales were catering and we lost all of our catering business when COVID hit,” McGill said.

Chicken and waffles spot Nate’s, on the other hand, had a good amount of in-store seating in addition to a bar but also relied on catering for business. After both restaurants shuttered in March initially as temporary closures, Nate’s briefly tried takeout until it was no longer financially viable.

“Uber Eats and DoorDash and all those other things are good as a supplement but you can’t survive on that because their commissions are so high,” McGill said.

The restaurants were not selected for city grants like the Small Business Stabilization Fund and did not ultimately receive any federal Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to McGill. As the future of catering orders and dining-in remain uncertain in a world of remote working, he isn’t planning on entering into any Seattle restaurant ventures anytime soon. The original Nate’s closed in Rainier Beach back in 2016.

“I don’t think so,” McGill said, “the rent for commercial spaces is just way too high.”

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 [email protected] -- LAST UPDATED: 3/23/21

Food and drink

  • Little Neon Taco, reported 3/1/2021
  • By Tae, reported 3/1/2021
  • R Place, reported 2/2/2021
  • The Wandering Goose, reported 12/29/2020
  • Barca, announced 11/11/2020
  • Suika, lease issues, announced 9/27/2020
  • Juicebox Cafe, announced 9/28/20
  • Heritage Distilling Capitol Hill, announced 9/25/20
  • Amandine, closing 9/30/20 announced 9/25/20
  • Bar Sue, announced 9/25/20
  • Marination Station, announced 9/14/20
  • Ha Na, announced 8/27/20
  • Intrigue Coffeehouse, announced 8/21/20
  • 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

  • Rocket Fizz, reported 3/23/2021
  • Drizzle and Shine, BurnCycle, and Blue Sky Cleaners, reported 3/1/2021
  • Everyday Music, 10th Ave, June 2021
  • QFC, 15th Ave E, 4/24/21
  • Sameday Testing, 15th Ave E, February
  • GameStop, Broadway, 2020
  • Velocity Dance Center, 12th Ave, will continue as organization but leaving Capitol Hill space, announced 12/4/20.
  • Stock and Pantry, E Pine, announced 10/14/20
  • Take 2, 15th Ave E, announced 9/30/20
  • No Parking, E Pike, announced 9/5/20
  • 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

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2 years ago

Damnit. This is so sad. Nate’s jalapeño cornbread waffles were incredible. We’ll miss having you in the neighborhood.

CD James
CD James
2 years ago

Don’t really feel bad for these little white gentro hubs going out of business. Capitalism is what you all wanted. Can’t hate the side effects now.

2 years ago
Reply to  CD James

This was a Black owned business. I am sorry to lose it in my neighborhood.

2 years ago
Reply to  CD James

CD James must not be from the neighborhood… what a stupid thing to say. Ever heard of Nate Robinson? Last time I checked, he was black and born and raised here

2 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Marcus, is that you?

1 year ago

I heard they may be re-opening. Any truth to that? 🤞

1 year ago

Just now finding out about this… this was among the first places I’d hit up on my recent trips up to Seattle, and the food never disappointed. Gutted