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After eight years and ‘one million biscuits,’ Capitol Hill’s The Wandering Goose has closed

The Wandering Goose’s 2012 opening (Image: CHS)

15th Ave E Southern flavored bakery The Wandering Goose announced it is closing after eight years of business on Capitol Hill.

“We are heartbroken to share that today we announced to our staff and family that the Wandering Goose would close permanently,” the announcement reads. “After eight years in Seattle and over one million biscuits baked, we want to take this moment to thank all of our extended Goose family and our amazing supportive community.”

The bakery and cafe was created by a team of Capitol Hill food and drink all-stars with baker Heather Earnhardt at the helm in a project backed by Cone and Steiner founder Dani Cone and Caffe Vita founder Mike McConnell.

It debuted in September 2012 as part of a transformation of the former Tilden retail shop that also included Ethan Stowell’s Rione XIII.

Earnhardt, who started the Goose after co-founding the Volunteer Park Cafe, eventually drifted to the coast of the Pacific where she now operates the Tokeland Hotel. According to the paperwork filed with the state, by 2015, the Goose was solely part of the McConnell and Vita ownership world.

The announcement from the Wandering Goose doesn’t spell out its specific reasons for closing but it’s clear the pandemic and ongoing restrictions didn’t help.

“The precarious economics of running a restaurant are no match for a global pandemic,” the closing announcement reads. “Our staff worked tirelessly and without complaint- truly one in a million. They are the ones that have made The Wandering Goose your home away from home for so many years and we will miss them more than they can possibly imagine.”

The closure removes yet another McConnell connection to the modern day Capitol Hill he and his businesses helped build. 2020 began with his biggest divestiture yet as McConnell sold Caffe Vita to food and drink entrepreneur Deming Maclise.

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 chs@capitolhillseattle.com -- LAST UPDATED: 12/7/20

Food and drink

  • 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

  • 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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McCloud
McCloud
18 days ago

This place had fairly pricey but pretty incredible food, with pre-pandemic lines down the street during weekend brunch. Their collards in particular were quite good. Bummer – there are still some good eats left on 15th E that I hope last through this bullshit.

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
18 days ago

This is truly sad. I loved that place. Huge slices of cake…fried chicken…so what if I had to do the elliptical for 3 hours after eating there? It was worth it! Thanks to everyone involved for a consistently excellent dining experience.

Ariel
17 days ago

Oof. I will miss those biscuits.

I noticed that Smith has a note up saying they’re temporarily closed, but I’d be surprised if they reopened. Even before the pandemic, it felt pretty different after Linda sold it….

Colin
Colin
16 days ago
Reply to  Ariel

Smith had been open for dine in, with the windows open. Bar Vacilando, on the other hand (right next door) hasn’t been open for months. It’ll be a shame.

Can
Can
17 days ago

Oh noooo this is super duper sad

CHqueer
CHqueer
17 days ago

The combination of Covid, CHAZ, months of vandalism by black bloc larpers, and the drug zombie apocalypse created by the City Council’s poor policy choices has been a death sentence for many small businesses on Capitol Hill and downtown.

Privilege
Privilege
16 days ago
Reply to  CHqueer

One of these things might be more relevant to a business on 15th.

CHqueer
CHqueer
15 days ago
Reply to  Privilege

But they all have a cumulative impact whether you like to admit it or not.

CHqueer
CHqueer
15 days ago
Reply to  Privilege

Is it exhausting trying to stick to the talking points even when reality no longer matches your ideological narrative?

Tom
Tom
15 days ago
Reply to  CHqueer

Look in the mirror. CHAZ only took place on Capitol Hill but business for all restaurants in WA was hurt. With your “ideological narrative,” only restaurants where the mayhem happened would have been affected. Now that the protests are over, is business for the restaurants in this neighborhood even close to back to normal? No, not with Covid still going on.

So which one thing is common throughout these times? Covid.

Privilege
Privilege
15 days ago
Reply to  CHqueer

One of us, and I’ll give you a hint that it was you, mentioned the following talking points that are mentioned pretty much verbatim in almost every article on this site, with only slight variations:

* Covid
* CHAZ
* months of vandalism
* black bloc larpers
* drug zombie apocalypse
* City Council
* poor policy choices 

You only forgot to mention human feces and needles, though I guess that goes with drug zombies.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say you have these terms in a macro somewhere so you can pop them out on any article. A new business opens? BOOM, drop the TRUTH BOMB. Maybe someone had a new baby? CHAZ, CITY COUNCIL, RECALL SAWANT!

So yeah, talking points.

Anyway, loved Wandering Goose. Sad to see it go. You could buy cake slices the size of your head.

You’ve probably never eaten there because you probably don’t even live here. Or you’re a bot.

Nope
Nope
17 days ago

Wonder what situation is with commercial rent – seems like it’s going to be hard to fill these spaces for a landlord, and any money is better than no money if the business was reliable pre covid.

Kerry G
Kerry G
17 days ago

So sad, they will be missed! Any idea on what’s happening with Coastal Kitchen (also on 15th)? They’ve been closed since March, it’s looking like they won’t ever reopen.