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@example.com -- LAST UPDATED: 10/14/20
Food and drink
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