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Monday, January 28, 2013

Enjoy Your Retirement, Fremont Ruiner

Posted by on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Sent yesterday to I, Anonymous:

When entering Fremont, people used to see a restaurant that was filled with great food, art, and music. The former owner sold the space to one of the big banks that helped cause the recent recession. Now he can have a comfortable retirement, but it came at the expense of Fremont. How could he do this to us? He could have taken the time to find a chef who valued art and culture, and preserved what made this neighborhood special. Now when people enter Fremont, they will see a cold and sterile big bank. This is one more step towards Fremont losing what has made it special for so many years. If this continues, Fremont will look like every other neighborhood. The center of the universe will be a fallacy in our heads. It will be Bellevue. The center of the universe will be dead.


Comments (41) RSS

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I think you all sound extremely naive about the actually devastating impact of gentrification. Seattleites are so lax about it, like "Oh, whatever, a big bank is opening where there used to be a fun restaurant, but it will all be okay somehow." While I agree that the "that restaurant owner screwed me over"angle of this letter is annoying, gentrification is a real thing and hell, it's just gearing up in this town. I got priced out of my hometown as did pretty much everyone I know, almost got lost in my own neighborhood because it was rendered so unrecognizable, and every business I ever loved or cared about is now a bank, a condo, or some other useless generic soulless place. Although you might argue that Seattle's history and character is too boring to save (I might), just recognize that things aren't going anywhere good right now.
Posted by Idra on January 29, 2013 at 7:25 AM · Report this
Im personally unhappy about Chase being there but boys snd girls: Fremont isnt quite dead yet...or, if dead, could be deader. Wright Bros Cycles is still with us for instance.

.. And perhaps I shouldnt admit this but: the loss of the rendering plant and re-chroming facility were gentrifications I could live with at the time.
Posted by david on January 28, 2013 at 5:44 PM · Report this
Here's what I don't get: Why do we need yet another Chase branch? In this age of direct deposit or using your phone camera to deposit, why does anyone even need a local branch? And if you do, there are plenty of Chase branches already.
Posted by lotus eater on January 28, 2013 at 5:07 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 38
@35 I remember when the Eastside was mostly forest. And Issaquah was a fun artsy town.

Used to drive from Ballard to Issaquah in 20 minutes.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
Cry mother fucking whine. Those guys who built Fremont didn't do it for you; they don't owe you anything; your feelings on the matter should not be considered.

In the worst sense of the word, this I, Anon is Taker-Entitlement. Open your own restaurant, build something for someone else. And after 10 or 20 or 30 years when you're tired and your kids are grown and someone gives you the chance to never work again in your life, think back on this time, when you were busy telling someone else that they shouldn't do it just so you could enjoy the false authenticity. And then take the money.
Posted by fetish on January 28, 2013 at 3:58 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 36
@34 it's coming back. Have you seen all the MJ store locations on the city map?
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2013 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 35
Remember when Seattle was covered with one huge forest with huge trees. From San Francisco to Juneau and into Missoula was one huge forest. (Well me neither, but you get my point). You're an idiot for thinking one business replacing another is evil.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 28, 2013 at 3:54 PM · Report this
Freemont moved to Georgetown 10 years ago.
Posted by Westside forever on January 28, 2013 at 3:11 PM · Report this
--MC 33
Yeah, it's been gone for years. I used to love to go there, but even the Solstice Parade is sterile and fake now.
Posted by --MC on January 28, 2013 at 2:24 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 32
@ 28, I didn't add it, I promise. (I use Firefox.) If it's wrong (which is believable given the number of correctly spelled words Firefox redlines), well, nobody (including you) has a perfect record when it comes to typo-free Slog comments.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Costas Opa didn't close because of gentrification, it closed because it wasn't a good restaurant.
Posted by Justin Bailey on January 28, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Fremont already is like Bellevue
Posted by delay on January 28, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
Fnarf 29
PS: in the future, the center of the universe is going to be White Center or Auburn, and business there is going to be conducted mostly in Spanish. Hipsters will be largely extinct, and all neighborhoods north of the ship canal and below, say, 80th are going to be the exclusive domain of the rich white yuppie; in fact, all retail spaces in these neighborhoods will be wine or artisanal-cocktail bars or high-end restaurants that have been open less than two years. Get used to it. Bring lots of money. You have lots of money, right?

Bellevue is already considerably more diverse than anything in near north Seattle, as @18 points out.
Posted by Fnarf on January 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Fnarf 28
@15, spell-check doesn't recognize "restauranteur" unless you've added it, not in Chrome, Firefox or IE. Because it is wrong.

Posted by Fnarf on January 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 27

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on January 28, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
What kind of asshole demonizes someone for not wanting to run a restaurant anymore? Oh, boo fucking hoo, he's not propping up your fading idea of what the neighborhood should be. Start your own goddamn restaurant if you think it's owed to the neighborhood.
Posted by beef rallard on January 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM · Report this
I still miss the Still Life Cafe.
Posted by rubus on January 28, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this
By @13 I meant @9. Obviously.
Posted by your name nowhere on January 28, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this
@13 To be fair - on any given afternoon, Costas was half-filled with Adobe employees eating lunch. Assholes may own the buildings, out-of-town corporations may rent them, but it's mostly just fremont & seattle people working there, eating and buying shit and being bummed when good places close.
Posted by your name nowhere on January 28, 2013 at 11:44 AM · Report this
@19 Re: the two Costa's. Same family, different owners. That, according to my daughter who worked there for several years.
Posted by cheakamus on January 28, 2013 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 21
At least I got to enjoy Fremont the last few years that it was still somewhat cool back in the mid to late 1990's. Oh well. Whatcha gonna do? Bitch on line? That's what we thought.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on January 28, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 20
I would have said this about the cafe on the north side of the block.

@7 is correct but that's true of almost any place in any city. Turnover is high.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2013 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Nah, that building isn't owned by Costa, he was a tenant, that's all. It's owned by the Bellottis, who most notably have kept Seattle's oldest gay bar the Double Header alive down in Pioneer Square for decade upon decade.

Nobody appears to have sold anything to anyone. It's a change of tenancy coincident to a) Costa aging to where he just wants the one restaurant in the U District, and b) nobody other than Chase stepping up to sign a lease with the owner.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 28, 2013 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Um, have you been to Bellevue? Crossroads versus Downtown are two very different places, and even immediately south by southeast of Bellevue Square is not quite like Downtown. Even the general area between 140th NE and Bel-Red Road is an odd mix of Elite Cash and newfound, often immigrant-based, businesses that give the lie to Bellevue as sterile.

Which I think points to the real concern - once an area is deemed "hip," the money follows as best it sees value in investing there. How best does a neighborhood like Fremont maintain that uncertain balance? It's unlikely to live forever on the laurels of cheap-cost/cheap-access businesses, but if the money chases away any possible new iterations of what makes the neighborhood beloved....
Posted by palamedes on January 28, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Best memory of Costas: went on a first date there with and I knew in the first 10 minutes I wouldn't go on a second. During the painful dinner, a fire started, and the restaurant had to clear out. Saved me!
Posted by Sterno on January 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM · Report this
rob! 16
Shirr, wye knot?
Posted by rob! on January 28, 2013 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 15
@ 13, spellcheck recognized it, I believe it, and that settles it.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Knat 14
The entitlement is strong in this one. Also, the butthurt.
Posted by Knat on January 28, 2013 at 10:39 AM · Report this
rob! 13
@11, I know you'll value this.
Posted by rob! on January 28, 2013 at 10:33 AM · Report this
snacktruck 12
Absolutely @2 and 9!! Fremont has not been the self-proclaimed "center of the universe" for many, many years. I can recall selling vintage clothes to a great vintage shop there in 1990 (Mike's Old Clothes) and they were leaving because "Fremont has lost its soul" as I was told by the guys there. And just when I was holding onto some semblence of Fremont still being awesome, let's not forget how the awesome business DELUXE JUNK got fucked over by landlords just less than six months ago. Ballard being the new Bellevue and Wallingford being soooooo boring, north of the ship canal will be known for some great places to eat and, and - I am not sure.
Posted by snacktruck on January 28, 2013 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 11
Boo fucking hoo. I was sorry to learn that Costas Opa had gone under, too, and I haven't lived in Seattle for seven years. But fuck that "How could he do this to us" bullshit. Assuming that the restauranteur owned the building and wasn't a tenant, he was a businessman, and he did what businessmen do. He got the best deal available to him. (And if he wasn't the landlord, then it was what the landlord did.) He owed Fremont nothing. Certainly not a more comfortable retirement just so another here-today-gone-tomorrow trendy restaurant could try to make a go of it. God only knows how much work, time, and his very life he put into that place.

Fuck this little whiny prick.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2013 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 10
Perhaps the LW hasn't heard of Suzie Burke? That's where the Fremont complaint box resides.
Posted by Sir Vic on January 28, 2013 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 9
Oh dear, I actually agree with the troll....

The fun and interesting Fremont HAS been gone for years. It was Adobe that finally did it in. A bank is the perfect representation of Fremont nowadays.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on January 28, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
If Fremont was the center of your universe, perhaps you should be glad for the opportunity to open up your worldview a little bit.
Posted by treehugger on January 28, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Restaurants don't do that well in Fremont. People keep opening them, they keep going under. The Greek place was also huge--a tough space to fill.
Posted by tiktok on January 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Fucking chase.
Posted by Justin on January 28, 2013 at 10:07 AM · Report this
How dare he spend his years taking risks and building a business and then sell it to take time off from the stressful restaurant industry? How dare he!
Posted by john cocktosin III on January 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM · Report this
Granny Smith 4
That Fremont has been gone for a long time.
Posted by Granny Smith on January 28, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Seriously. Are we pretending Fremont hasn't been a total hellhole for, like, 10 years? At least?
Posted by Random Commenter on January 28, 2013 at 9:58 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 2
Yeah yeah yeah I was into Fremont before it got lame blah blah. Fucking hipsters.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 1
I feel your pain.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 28, 2013 at 9:52 AM · Report this

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