Seattle Met’s Kathryn Robinson recently posted an article about three of Beacon Avenue’s restaurants: Bar del Corso, Travelers Thali House, and Inay’s Asian Pacific Cuisine, suggesting that with restaurants like these, Beacon Hill is now a neighborhood worth bringing your appetite to.
About Bar del Corso, Robinson says “Full of neighbors sharing wine and chatting across tables, it was a true third place from the moment it opened in July.” Travelers “now has the space to do justice” to the thali and street food its owners have served until now from a portion of a small retail store on Capitol Hill. And Inay’s food, says Robinson, is “accorded solid treatment by Inay’s son Ernie”—but she even more highly recommends eating there on Friday evenings, when waiter Louie transforms into drag queen waiter Atasha for a lip sync diva tribute.
Commenters on the article and on the Beacon Hill mailing list noted that El Quetzal was left out, as was Baja Bistro. Perhaps Robinson wanted to focus on newer restaurants, though Inay’s has been around for several years.
The new Travelers restaurant at 2524 Beacon Ave. S. has been open for a month or so now, serving Indian food and also selling Indian cooking supplies from a tiny store in the restaurant. However, opening the new restaurant along with their existing Capitol Hill location has apparently put the business into a financial crunch. Here’s a message posted today on their Facebook page:
Dear Fellow Travelers,
We’ve always been open with our customers, our community, when we’ve needed your help, and you have always come through for us. Thank you for your continuing support that has allowed us to survive 13 years, including some very hard times. Travelers is again at a difficult point, our survival depends upon your support.
We have been really excited about our new restaurant, and we were slammed with customers when we opened the doors. We hired more people, “real servers,” more kitchen support, a Nepali farm woman (seriously!). All great folks. But business has dropped off, and the bills kept coming. Payday is coming, and we need your help.
Here’s what we are doing to make us easy to support
Payroll Party! Thursday night September 22nd, come help us harvest enough bounty to compensate our wonderful staff and get us through our big crunch. To make it a real party we are offering a couple of super deals
Get an extra 20% with any $100 gift certificate
Take 20% off any sale totaling $100 or more
You can add up lots of little stuff and still get the 20% discount. With the certificates, the extra 20% can be a separate $20 certificate if you prefer. We’ll be open at both locations with tasty food and beverages. We have wine and beer too at the Beacon location (try a Taj from India, or a Kingfisher), delicious with pakoras.
Though we don’t like reviewing restaurants until they’ve been open for a few months, we’ve been to Travelers several times already and found the food to be tasty and inexpensive. We like it, and hope they will stay around.
(Updated to add information about the Seattle Weekly review—Ed.)
Bethany Jean Clement of The Strangermade her way to Beacon Hill’s Bar del Corso recently for a review. She contrasts the site’s former existence as dive bar The Beacon Pub to the newly brightened-up pizza establishment that replaced it (“pizza parlor,” with its overtones of Shakey’s, doesn’t seem to be the right term for this type of modern-Seattle-by-way-of-Naples restaurant), name-checks other Hill stalwarts such as Inay’s and Baja Bistro, and brings up the “G word”: gentrification.
“At Bar del Corso, former Betty pasta maestro Jerry Corso has provided Beacon Hill with a neighborhood-defining pizza crust, and residents are so thrilled that it’s not uncommon for customers at the new restaurant to encounter an hour-long wait on a weeknight.”
According to their Facebook page, there will also be “soft openings” on Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30 from 5-9 p.m., and on Sunday, July 31 (during Beacon Rocks!), Wednesday, August 3, and Thursday, August 4 from noon-9 p.m.
It turns out that the free version of Survey Monkey only allows you to see the results of the first 100 respondents to a survey. So far, 110 people have responded. I’m not prepared to buy the paid Survey Monkey service for this particular exercise, so we’ll have to call it good with the first 100 responses that were received. It’s not perfect, I know, but it still seems like a large enough sample to get a picture of how people in the neighborhood are feeling about later hours at El Quetzal, Victrola, and Kusina Filipina.
My take away from the numbers (which are below) is that there is significant support for El Quetzal to be open later in the evenings. Out of the 100 respondents below, 82 of them strongly agreed or agreed that they would patronize El Quetzal more often in the evening if it stayed open at least an hour later.
There was less consensus among respondents about whether later hours would increase their evening patronage of Victrola and Kusina Filipina: 41% strongly agreed or agreed that they’d patronize Victrola more often in the evening if it stayed open later. About the same number of people felt similarly about Kusina Filipina (40.4%).
A lot more people were neutral about Victrola and Kusina Filipina than they were about El Quetzal. I’m not sure of the best way to read those responses. It seems like maybe they are saying that they aren’t sure whether later hours would affect their evening patronage of these places, but they remain open to the possibility that later hours could make a difference in their behavior.
Conversely, respondents who disagreed or strongly disagreed (and there were some of these folks) seem to be saying that they know pretty clearly that changes in closing times will not affect their behavior, as far as evening patronage of these businesses goes.
Anyway, enough commentary. Here are the questions and the responses.
1. If El Quetzal Mexican Restaurant in Beacon Hill was open until 9pm (or
later) each night, I would patronize it for dinner or drinks more often
than I currently do.
answered question: 100 skipped question: 0
2. If the Beacon Hill Victrola location was open until 9pm (or later) each
night, I would patronize it during evening hours more often than I
answered question: 99 skipped question: 1
3. If Kusina Filipina Restaurant in Beacon Hill was open until 9pm (or
later) each night, I would patronize it for dinner more often than I
answered question: 99
skipped question: 1
(Thanks to Jake for creating this survey and sending us this write-up of the results. –Ed.)
Recently, neighbors on the mailing list have discussed the hours of local restaurants such as El Quetzal which close early, and whether they would gain more business with later hours. Jake London put a survey together to get some harder numbers about how people feel about this.
The survey discusses El Quetzal, Victrola, and Kusina Filipina, and asks whether later closing times would increase the likelihood that each survey taker would patronize these businesses in the evening hours.
The big blue pizza oven is warming up at the old Beacon Pub site, where the Bar del Corso restaurant opens to the public on July 12. The latest photos in the restaurant’s Facebook album show the new oven in action, among other things.
The soon-to-open Travelers Indian thali restaurant at 2524 Beacon Ave. S. has just had a liquor license application approved for a “direct shipment receiver” license (which will allow the business to buy beer and/or wine from federally certified wineries or breweries). Here is the information as posted by the state Liquor Control Board:
Approved Date: 6/27/2011
Business Name: TRAVELERS
Business Location: 2524 BEACON AVE S STE 1, SEATTLE, WA 98144-5132
Liquor License Type: 350, DIRECT SHIPMENT RECEIVER-IN WA ONLY
Application Type: NEW APPLICATION
License Number: 403433
They’ve also posted a possible menu—see it here (PDF). According to the blog, “Menu offerings will be based on what is seasonally available so it will change quite often. But here’s a sample of what the menu could be.”
The CHS Capitol Hill Seattle Blog posted an article about Travelers last week, discussing owner Allen Kornmesser’s intent to continue operating the original Travelers Tea Co. on E. Pine St., while expanding to the larger Beacon Hill space.
* * *
It’s not quite summer yet, but it’s getting closer! Along with a bit of sunshine, another sign of summer this year is the return of the Street Treats dessert van, serving cookies, ice cream, and dessert bars. Owner Diane tells us the van will return to the vicinity of 16th and Lander this Friday night from 6:30-8 p.m.