Ototo, Enza (Polpetta) closing on Dec. 31.

Posted on December 27th, 2011 by Editor


While the closure of Ototo Sushi has been rumored this past week, owner Takashi Ogawa, who has operated the popular sushi restaurant on the hill for 10 years, confirmed today that the restaurant is closing and its last day will be Saturday, Dec. 31. And landlord Sue Wanwig has confirmed that fellow tenant Enza, newly named Polpetta, will also shut down at the end of the year.

In an already  turbulent industry, Ogawa’s restaurant was further hit by the recession and, despite a loyal following of neighborhood customers, could no longer stay operational. Ogawa was paying $5,000 a month in rent and had been in lease negotations with Wandig to temporarily decrease the rent. The idea was considered but nothing came of it. Ogawa said by Dec. 1, he was a month late on rent and received a letter from Wanwig saying as much. The letter further requested he vacate by the end of December.

Ogawa has 10 employees. One, named Hutch, an experienced sushi maker, will pursue options elsewhere as Ogawa will not reopen in a new location.

The popular brick building at the southeast corner of West Boston Street and Queen Anne Avenue North has been in Wanwig’s family for decades. Wanwig has space for six tenants. Ground floor tenants included Ototo Sushi, The Teacup, Museum Quality Framing and Polpetta. The framing shop which is a chain in this region will stay, Wanwig said. Polpetta though, has been given notice to vacate by Saturday, too. The Teacup owner Elisabeth Knottingham had been negotiating her lease with Wanwig but to no avail. She too has employed as many as 10 and the tea shop will vacate by Dec. 31. Knottingham said she will sell tea online and might do some writing.

The timing of three stores closing their doors on the same day is coincidental and likely the result of the bad economy, Wanwig said. “We tried to keep them in as long as possible,” she said. “I’m not sure why everyone reached their breaking point at the same time.”

Wanwig has not listed the space and has no tenants set. But as the building is on a grade, there can be no consolidation of space. She said there are no plans for a large, single tenant to move in. She said she is willing to consider any tenant so long as the business isn’t a detraction to the neighborhood.


  • QA Hill

    Holy cow. And Sorrentino/Enza/Polpetta (whatever you want to call it) was just shut down for a week or so for their “remodeling”. Wow. What absolute crap. Isn’t it better to have 3 tenants than to have nothing? And $5000/month for rent? The only thing that can sustain that is a chain.

    The owners of buildings on this hill need to take a long hard look at what does well and then work with tenants. When the building next to Bartell’s gets done (and then the new Met Mart building) there is going to be even more rental space! Do we really want one more ugly bank (cough…Key Bank) or another chain coffee shop?

  • QA Hill

    Holy cow. And Sorrentino/Enza/Polpetta (whatever you want to call it) was just shut down for a week or so for their “remodeling”. Wow. What absolute crap. Isn’t it better to have 3 tenants than to have nothing? And $5000/month for rent? The only thing that can sustain that is a chain.

    The owners of buildings on this hill need to take a long hard look at what does well and then work with tenants. When the building next to Bartell’s gets done (and then the new Met Mart building) there is going to be even more rental space! Do we really want one more ugly bank (cough…Key Bank) or another chain coffee shop?

  • RideBicyclesNow

    This is a shame. Rental rates on the hill are very high. The new spaces next to Bartell’s are going to be really high per sq foot. There’s just no way smaller, much needed retail can come in.

  • RideBicyclesNow

    This is a shame. Rental rates on the hill are very high. The new spaces next to Bartell’s are going to be really high per sq foot. There’s just no way smaller, much needed retail can come in.

  • vanderleun

    Maybe we should all let it be known that locals will just boycott any business that opens at that location. Let Wanwig/Wandig eat a year or so of losses too.

  • vanderleun

    Maybe we should all let it be known that locals will just boycott any business that opens at that location. Let Wanwig/Wandig eat a year or so of losses too.

  • Queen Annie

    I wonder why Enza’s would spend time and money on a remodel and then have to close a week later because of a landlord dispute? Seems a little odd…no? That’s too bad.

    It’s amazing how many restaurants have shut down in the past 6 months up here on the hill…hopefully, some decent places will take their place…landlords need to realize what the market is really worth up here.

  • Queen Annie

    I wonder why Enza’s would spend time and money on a remodel and then have to close a week later because of a landlord dispute? Seems a little odd…no? That’s too bad.

    It’s amazing how many restaurants have shut down in the past 6 months up here on the hill…hopefully, some decent places will take their place…landlords need to realize what the market is really worth up here.

  • Queen

    Pasta and Co, Polpetta, Teacup, Ototo Sushi, all closed shop on top of the hill in the last 6m. Landlords need to understand that small businesses that keep neighborhoods unique cannot sustain such high rent. The rental rates for the new Met Market building is advertised for $40-50 psf. Those prices rival spaces in the downtown core which is ridiculous.

  • Queen

    Pasta and Co, Polpetta, Teacup, Ototo Sushi, all closed shop on top of the hill in the last 6m. Landlords need to understand that small businesses that keep neighborhoods unique cannot sustain such high rent. The rental rates for the new Met Market building is advertised for $40-50 psf. Those prices rival spaces in the downtown core which is ridiculous.

  • Ann

    I’ve always thought that landlords need to think a little bit about this model, sky high rent, tenant comes in and then leaves. When you consider the down time, the time it takes to lease again, I think their marginal returns are not as great as they think they are. It’s all well and good to hygrade the tenant, but if they go out, you’re back to square one. But I’m sure many of these landlords have their sense of entitlement and could care less if they are churning tenants.

  • Ann

    I’ve always thought that landlords need to think a little bit about this model, sky high rent, tenant comes in and then leaves. When you consider the down time, the time it takes to lease again, I think their marginal returns are not as great as they think they are. It’s all well and good to hygrade the tenant, but if they go out, you’re back to square one. But I’m sure many of these landlords have their sense of entitlement and could care less if they are churning tenants.

  • Neens

    What will be a detraction to the neighborhood is so many empty storefronts on that corner. Sue Wanwig needs to understand that the outlook for leasing retail space has changed drastically, and that driving out existing tenants is bad for her and bad for the neighborhood.

  • Neens

    What will be a detraction to the neighborhood is so many empty storefronts on that corner. Sue Wanwig needs to understand that the outlook for leasing retail space has changed drastically, and that driving out existing tenants is bad for her and bad for the neighborhood.

  • tico

    The Wanwig family most likely own the building free and clear if they’ve held it for decades. The owe only taxes and maintenance. As such, they’re well-poised to seek ridiculously high rents while the property sits vacant. It’s simple math. Five thousand dollars a month at 50% occupancy is much more profitable than $3000 a month at 75% occupancy. In short, they can sit and wait.

    Traditionally, a property like this would need to sit vacant for a year before the owners would be forced to lower rents.

    Make no mistake- this is a business decision. Any talk about them “caring about the community” is complete BS. After all, if they cared about the community they wouldn’t be evicting three longtime local businesses.

  • tico

    The Wanwig family most likely own the building free and clear if they’ve held it for decades. The owe only taxes and maintenance. As such, they’re well-poised to seek ridiculously high rents while the property sits vacant. It’s simple math. Five thousand dollars a month at 50% occupancy is much more profitable than $3000 a month at 75% occupancy. In short, they can sit and wait.

    Traditionally, a property like this would need to sit vacant for a year before the owners would be forced to lower rents.

    Make no mistake- this is a business decision. Any talk about them “caring about the community” is complete BS. After all, if they cared about the community they wouldn’t be evicting three longtime local businesses.

  • afriye13

    Do the Wanwigs live on the hill?

  • afriye13

    Do the Wanwigs live on the hill?

  • QA Hill

    Did a quick Google search. The only Sue Wanwig that comes up is a Pastor.
    http://www.htlcmi.org:8080/html/staff_contacts.html

    Is this the same lady?

  • QA Hill

    Did a quick Google search. The only Sue Wanwig that comes up is a Pastor.
    http://www.htlcmi.org:8080/html/staff_contacts.html

    Is this the same lady?

  • sabraune

    I second that question afriye13!!!! I love the top of Queen Anne because of the variety of shops and restaurants within walking distance of my home and someone’s greed is taking that away. I love Ototo and was really looking forward to Polpetta. I also agree with Neens…wake up Wanwig/Wandig you are making QA a ghost town out of your own greed. I’d love to know what Wanwig/Wandig considers a “distraction”….please enlighten us.

  • sabraune

    I second that question afriye13!!!! I love the top of Queen Anne because of the variety of shops and restaurants within walking distance of my home and someone’s greed is taking that away. I love Ototo and was really looking forward to Polpetta. I also agree with Neens…wake up Wanwig/Wandig you are making QA a ghost town out of your own greed. I’d love to know what Wanwig/Wandig considers a “distraction”….please enlighten us.

  • qamom

    I hate to see QA lose it’s soul. We need these mom and pops, they “make” the neighborhood. Hoping Wanwig’s greed can soften up a bit. I don’t think she realizes the damage she’s doing to this neighborhood.

  • qamom

    I hate to see QA lose it’s soul. We need these mom and pops, they “make” the neighborhood. Hoping Wanwig’s greed can soften up a bit. I don’t think she realizes the damage she’s doing to this neighborhood.

  • Denise

    Would it help if we could start up a petition and send it to Wanwig saying we will boycott future businesses? Or beg her to work something out to let them stay?
    I can’t imagine she lives on the hill but does anyone know where she resides? She must be living in a very nice house if she is around here if she makes that much from each tenant!
    Perhaps the pressure of everyone on the hill will make her change her decision. There are still two more days to stop this from happening.

  • Denise

    Would it help if we could start up a petition and send it to Wanwig saying we will boycott future businesses? Or beg her to work something out to let them stay?
    I can’t imagine she lives on the hill but does anyone know where she resides? She must be living in a very nice house if she is around here if she makes that much from each tenant!
    Perhaps the pressure of everyone on the hill will make her change her decision. There are still two more days to stop this from happening.

  • Denise

    PS.
    Doing a google search revealed a Sue Wanwig that is a minister for a church nearby. I certainly don’t know if this is the same person, but just wondering…….

  • Denise

    PS.
    Doing a google search revealed a Sue Wanwig that is a minister for a church nearby. I certainly don’t know if this is the same person, but just wondering…….

  • QA Hill

    @Denise- I posted the same thing but it looks like the moderator yanked it…

    I don’t think a petition will stop the current businesses from leaving and boycotting anything new is only going to hurt those businesses, Wanwig will still be getting her rent.

  • QA Hill

    @Denise- I posted the same thing but it looks like the moderator yanked it…

    I don’t think a petition will stop the current businesses from leaving and boycotting anything new is only going to hurt those businesses, Wanwig will still be getting her rent.

  • LovesChocolate

    That is the same person – she’s a Lutheran Minister. I hope everyone stops by these businesses to tell them you don’t want them to go. Especially Polpetta – the other places seem to want to leave but they just re-opened after a 3 week renovation. No way they want this.

  • LovesChocolate

    That is the same person – she’s a Lutheran Minister. I hope everyone stops by these businesses to tell them you don’t want them to go. Especially Polpetta – the other places seem to want to leave but they just re-opened after a 3 week renovation. No way they want this.

  • RideBicyclesNow

    Isn’t it true that the businesses were struggling anyway? There’s got to be a way to have and keep needed businesses on the hill. I already eat out on the hill a couple nights a week as it is! There are so many well to do families up here, why can’t businesses survive? Wrong type? Bad planning?

  • RideBicyclesNow

    Isn’t it true that the businesses were struggling anyway? There’s got to be a way to have and keep needed businesses on the hill. I already eat out on the hill a couple nights a week as it is! There are so many well to do families up here, why can’t businesses survive? Wrong type? Bad planning?

  • QA Hill

    @RideBicyclesNow-
    Looking at the restaurants that are always packed (Via Trib, Alehouse, Paragon) wood fired pizza/grill/bistro places do well. I always personally felt that Sorrentino/Enza was overpriced for a “OMG, what are we eating for dinner tonight” sort of place. As for sushi, I love sushi but we all have our favorite places and Ototo wasn’t really on my list (ate there a few times though).

    Also the bakeries seem to be doing well (Macarina & La Reve) as is Menchies. Cheap good eats, maybe a Gorditos again (La Luna and Tenoch aren’t the best).

  • QA Hill

    @RideBicyclesNow-
    Looking at the restaurants that are always packed (Via Trib, Alehouse, Paragon) wood fired pizza/grill/bistro places do well. I always personally felt that Sorrentino/Enza was overpriced for a “OMG, what are we eating for dinner tonight” sort of place. As for sushi, I love sushi but we all have our favorite places and Ototo wasn’t really on my list (ate there a few times though).

    Also the bakeries seem to be doing well (Macarina & La Reve) as is Menchies. Cheap good eats, maybe a Gorditos again (La Luna and Tenoch aren’t the best).

  • SB Ownee

    This breaks my heart and I feel their pain as a small business owner on Queen Anne. Money is tight and rents are high…

  • SB Ownee

    This breaks my heart and I feel their pain as a small business owner on Queen Anne. Money is tight and rents are high…

  • Lo

    I agree the rent is too high but honestly those businesses just weren’t thriving. Not entirely the landlords fault. Be real.

  • Lo

    I agree the rent is too high but honestly those businesses just weren’t thriving. Not entirely the landlords fault. Be real.

  • BicycleJoe

    “The rent is Too-Damn-High!”

  • BicycleJoe

    “The rent is Too-Damn-High!”

  • 98119

    The Teacup took a chance by moving their business to arguably the most prime retail location on Queen Anne with around 3x more square feet. Unfortunately they couldn’t make ends meet. Firefly/Sorrentino/Enza/Polpetta is the long standing joke on the hill.

  • 98119

    The Teacup took a chance by moving their business to arguably the most prime retail location on Queen Anne with around 3x more square feet. Unfortunately they couldn’t make ends meet. Firefly/Sorrentino/Enza/Polpetta is the long standing joke on the hill.

  • tico

    I’ve said before that Sorrentino was a joke. I double parked, emergency style, in the alley it shares with Safeway while my oldest kid was choking/vomitting and the lady came out to yell at me about being there.

    Who yells at a parent while they’re dealing with a medical emergency with their child?

  • tico

    I’ve said before that Sorrentino was a joke. I double parked, emergency style, in the alley it shares with Safeway while my oldest kid was choking/vomitting and the lady came out to yell at me about being there.

    Who yells at a parent while they’re dealing with a medical emergency with their child?

  • Beverly

    This is a real shame. The empty storefronts will be an eyesore. It’s obvious that this landlord does not care about Queen Anne.

  • Beverly

    This is a real shame. The empty storefronts will be an eyesore. It’s obvious that this landlord does not care about Queen Anne.

  • lisa

    She is a Lutheran Minister? you’ve got to be kidding me…
    And I know for SURE that the T-cup does NOT want to leave. No way.
    Very depressing and almost takes me to the edge of hopelessness “remembering” that the world bottom line revolves around money. Sad. So sad.

  • lisa

    She is a Lutheran Minister? you’ve got to be kidding me…
    And I know for SURE that the T-cup does NOT want to leave. No way.
    Very depressing and almost takes me to the edge of hopelessness “remembering” that the world bottom line revolves around money. Sad. So sad.

  • metro1

    I cannot believe the landlord is a pastor! I guess whatever she preaches on Sundays don’t matter when it comes to her own bank account. What a hypocrite!

  • metro1

    I cannot believe the landlord is a pastor! I guess whatever she preaches on Sundays don’t matter when it comes to her own bank account. What a hypocrite!

  • Jimmy McMillan

    The rent is too damn high!

  • Jimmy McMillan

    The rent is too damn high!

  • QARunner

    I’m sad to see Ototo go but give me a break. The landlord has the right to ask for whatever rent the market will bear once the lease ends. Teacup never had a chance once they moved from their original location into a huge spot that even Tulley’s failed to make work.

    And for those denigrating the landlord, why not give your homes away to those that cannot afford the market price for Queen Anne. After all, that is the right thing to do.

  • QARunner

    I’m sad to see Ototo go but give me a break. The landlord has the right to ask for whatever rent the market will bear once the lease ends. Teacup never had a chance once they moved from their original location into a huge spot that even Tulley’s failed to make work.

    And for those denigrating the landlord, why not give your homes away to those that cannot afford the market price for Queen Anne. After all, that is the right thing to do.

  • BottomoftheHillandGlad

    Amen, QARunner! I love how the other commentors have become experts on real estate (“Sue Wanwig needs to understand….”). To every one who complained above: This is YOUR fault. YOU didn’t patronize the businesses enough to let them make ends meet. It’s not the landlords fault. She needs to charge reasonable rents, and clearly she tried to work with the tenants to keep them there. A boycott is a stupid idea. If you want your neighborhood to stay the same, then YOU have to work to keep it that way. Don’t expect others to do all the work and subsidize “your” neighborhood ambience. Don’t boycott… Do patronize!

  • BottomoftheHillandGlad

    Amen, QARunner! I love how the other commentors have become experts on real estate (“Sue Wanwig needs to understand….”). To every one who complained above: This is YOUR fault. YOU didn’t patronize the businesses enough to let them make ends meet. It’s not the landlords fault. She needs to charge reasonable rents, and clearly she tried to work with the tenants to keep them there. A boycott is a stupid idea. If you want your neighborhood to stay the same, then YOU have to work to keep it that way. Don’t expect others to do all the work and subsidize “your” neighborhood ambience. Don’t boycott… Do patronize!

  • Blank Tom

    The fact that long term businesses are leaving and no new tenants are lined up is pretty good evidence that the landlord wants higher rent then the market can bear.

  • Blank Tom

    The fact that long term businesses are leaving and no new tenants are lined up is pretty good evidence that the landlord wants higher rent then the market can bear.

  • QA hoodie

    The thing about those places … All of them have a bad aesthetic. They have no curb appeal and they are confusing to passerby people.
    What’s unfortunate and sad is the fact that there are no good restaurants and nice places to be and frequent on queenanne!
    I’d love a great proffessional, healthy, and fun neighborhood spot. Put in a Miro tea – they will knock it out of the park.

  • QA hoodie

    The thing about those places … All of them have a bad aesthetic. They have no curb appeal and they are confusing to passerby people.
    What’s unfortunate and sad is the fact that there are no good restaurants and nice places to be and frequent on queenanne!
    I’d love a great proffessional, healthy, and fun neighborhood spot. Put in a Miro tea – they will knock it out of the park.

  • tico

    The top of the hill needs more organic (i.e genuine and from the people) places. Places like Anne’s Teriyaki and Salmon Bay Cafe over in Ballard.

    I’ve lamented for years about the lack of decent, well priced, mom and pop type joints. I was praying some operation like that would take over Blockbuster, but alas, we got an effing bank. Sweet.

  • tico

    The top of the hill needs more organic (i.e genuine and from the people) places. Places like Anne’s Teriyaki and Salmon Bay Cafe over in Ballard.

    I’ve lamented for years about the lack of decent, well priced, mom and pop type joints. I was praying some operation like that would take over Blockbuster, but alas, we got an effing bank. Sweet.

  • QA Hill

    We got a bank because they can pay the stupid rent prices. The whole street will eventually become banks and Starbucks (and the occasional grocery store) because they can pay those rents. If a landlord doesn’t live in a neighborhood they don’t (usually) care except for their bottom line what goes into their building. The only thing is that we can hope no one moves in and Wanwig loses money.

  • QA Hill

    We got a bank because they can pay the stupid rent prices. The whole street will eventually become banks and Starbucks (and the occasional grocery store) because they can pay those rents. If a landlord doesn’t live in a neighborhood they don’t (usually) care except for their bottom line what goes into their building. The only thing is that we can hope no one moves in and Wanwig loses money.

  • tico

    Anyone know what the rents on Market are vs the rents on The Avenue?

  • tico

    Anyone know what the rents on Market are vs the rents on The Avenue?

  • Chad

    After reading through the comments it seems the concerns are:

    1. The landlord is being overly “greedy”

    2. Rents are “too high” (not sure how this is being determined)

    3. QA Ave is “losing its soul”

    Over the last few years we have seen chains like Jamba Juice be replaced by a new local business, Haute Yoga, and we have seen some local stores be replaced by other local retailers (e.g. La Reve). Both La Reve and Haute Yoga seem to be doing great; today, Haute Yoga had to turn people away because they were too full, and La Reve had a 20 minute line on Christmas Eve!

    Capitalism clearly isn’t perfect, but it does usually balance supply with demand (as long as we don’t artifically support anything). If the demand isn’t sufficient then the business dies. It’s often sad and disappointing when businesses fail, but it’s part of what drives competition that in turn drives innovation and success. We have seen some of the businesses on QA Ave become better while others have been replaced by more interesting, productive and successful businesses. We as QA’ers have made this happen by voting with our dollars.

    With all of this vitriol being directed at the landlord I am wondering what we expected to happen. I can’t remember a time when I have seen any of those businesses (besides Teacup) be really packed. Teacup clearly had a business model issue. The rest of them seemed to have missed the mark on generating sufficient demand for their respective businesses.

    What exactly do we QA’ers expect from a QA Ave landlord? Should QA Ave landlords be willing to take below market rents for the “good of the community”…and if so what IS the “good of the community”?

  • Chad

    After reading through the comments it seems the concerns are:

    1. The landlord is being overly “greedy”

    2. Rents are “too high” (not sure how this is being determined)

    3. QA Ave is “losing its soul”

    Over the last few years we have seen chains like Jamba Juice be replaced by a new local business, Haute Yoga, and we have seen some local stores be replaced by other local retailers (e.g. La Reve). Both La Reve and Haute Yoga seem to be doing great; today, Haute Yoga had to turn people away because they were too full, and La Reve had a 20 minute line on Christmas Eve!

    Capitalism clearly isn’t perfect, but it does usually balance supply with demand (as long as we don’t artifically support anything). If the demand isn’t sufficient then the business dies. It’s often sad and disappointing when businesses fail, but it’s part of what drives competition that in turn drives innovation and success. We have seen some of the businesses on QA Ave become better while others have been replaced by more interesting, productive and successful businesses. We as QA’ers have made this happen by voting with our dollars.

    With all of this vitriol being directed at the landlord I am wondering what we expected to happen. I can’t remember a time when I have seen any of those businesses (besides Teacup) be really packed. Teacup clearly had a business model issue. The rest of them seemed to have missed the mark on generating sufficient demand for their respective businesses.

    What exactly do we QA’ers expect from a QA Ave landlord? Should QA Ave landlords be willing to take below market rents for the “good of the community”…and if so what IS the “good of the community”?

  • MomOfThree

    I’ve seen Enza’s & Ototo packed plenty of times. And ‘Tico’, how do you know it was her who came out yelling? I’ve been at Enza’s before and the owner *loves* kids. I’ve seen her kiss them, dance with them, embrace them. I find it hard to believe that it was the owner who came out and yelled at you.

  • MomOfThree

    I’ve seen Enza’s & Ototo packed plenty of times. And ‘Tico’, how do you know it was her who came out yelling? I’ve been at Enza’s before and the owner *loves* kids. I’ve seen her kiss them, dance with them, embrace them. I find it hard to believe that it was the owner who came out and yelled at you.

  • QA Hill
  • QA Hill
  • Denise

    The landlord is a fair woman. No one would evict a PAYING tenant in this economy to look for a higher rent from a POTENTIAL tenant. Are the business’s making a go of it? Profitable? The tea shop took on a way larger space…of course they want to stay but CAN they afford to stay? maybe they just can’t make it in this economy….as noted above, chain stores couldn’t make it…it’s just a tough time all around. Unless you know the specifics you shouldn’t be throwing stones!!!

  • Denise

    The landlord is a fair woman. No one would evict a PAYING tenant in this economy to look for a higher rent from a POTENTIAL tenant. Are the business’s making a go of it? Profitable? The tea shop took on a way larger space…of course they want to stay but CAN they afford to stay? maybe they just can’t make it in this economy….as noted above, chain stores couldn’t make it…it’s just a tough time all around. Unless you know the specifics you shouldn’t be throwing stones!!!

  • tico

    @ momofthree

    Umm, because I’ve lived here for over a decade?

  • tico

    @ momofthree

    Umm, because I’ve lived here for over a decade?

  • John

    @tico –
    umm, then maybe she recognized you.
    Think about it.

  • John

    @tico –
    umm, then maybe she recognized you.
    Think about it.

  • QA Hill

    Just walked by and happy to see that Teacup was standing room only. It’s nice to see them get a good warm goodbye from the community.

  • QA Hill

    Just walked by and happy to see that Teacup was standing room only. It’s nice to see them get a good warm goodbye from the community.

  • will

    I’m very concerned that we’ll see another bank go in, because they can easily pay the rent. How many banks do we need/want up here? Unless they start serving food, or providing some other service at night, I don’t see how it’s good for our hood.

  • will

    I’m very concerned that we’ll see another bank go in, because they can easily pay the rent. How many banks do we need/want up here? Unless they start serving food, or providing some other service at night, I don’t see how it’s good for our hood.

  • Seattle Trending Down….

    As a reluctant Bank of America customer who lives on top of the hill, I would love to see a BofA on top of Queen Anne.
    Lower Queen Anne is filthy, disgusting and full of dangerous people, and I would love to avoid having to go there at all costs.

  • Seattle Trending Down….

    As a reluctant Bank of America customer who lives on top of the hill, I would love to see a BofA on top of Queen Anne.
    Lower Queen Anne is filthy, disgusting and full of dangerous people, and I would love to avoid having to go there at all costs.

  • Emily

    Sad to see these places go but as many have commented the Teacup was really having a problem with it’s business model reducing the tea selection and getting rid of its manager. Don’t know how they stayed open this long after the move.

  • Emily

    Sad to see these places go but as many have commented the Teacup was really having a problem with it’s business model reducing the tea selection and getting rid of its manager. Don’t know how they stayed open this long after the move.

  • tico

    Upper QA will never become Lower QA. The hill acts as a natural defense. You ever walk up that thing? It sucks.

  • tico

    Upper QA will never become Lower QA. The hill acts as a natural defense. You ever walk up that thing? It sucks.

  • Seattle Trending Down….

    Look again Tico. Upper QA (QA Ave) now has multiple, consistent panhandlers who are turning more aggressive.
    The majority of shopkeepers/landlords do not sweep or clean their sidewalk storefronts.
    A few regular drifters have staked out their doorstops, benches and parks as their permanent dwelling.

    The liberal attitude (guilt, mixed with being “more enlightened” than everyone else_ – will allow this to grow more and more pervasive.

    Upper QA is on the same path to lower QA. Just as the nasty that was once confined to First Avenue has spread through virtually all of downtown Seattle.

    Stay liberal Seattle – and watch what happens to your city.

  • Seattle Trending Down….

    Look again Tico. Upper QA (QA Ave) now has multiple, consistent panhandlers who are turning more aggressive.
    The majority of shopkeepers/landlords do not sweep or clean their sidewalk storefronts.
    A few regular drifters have staked out their doorstops, benches and parks as their permanent dwelling.

    The liberal attitude (guilt, mixed with being “more enlightened” than everyone else_ – will allow this to grow more and more pervasive.

    Upper QA is on the same path to lower QA. Just as the nasty that was once confined to First Avenue has spread through virtually all of downtown Seattle.

    Stay liberal Seattle – and watch what happens to your city.

  • tico

    What does “liberal” have to do with anything? I’m pretty far left yet I’ve got no problem telling bums to f@@k off when they hit me up for money, especially when I’m carrying one of my kids.

  • tico

    What does “liberal” have to do with anything? I’m pretty far left yet I’ve got no problem telling bums to f@@k off when they hit me up for money, especially when I’m carrying one of my kids.

  • LowerQAprofessional

    Sad how this conversation declined from concern over some hard working small business owners into petty personal and political attacks. Come on, is this really the forum for that??

    The bottom line is that it is very tough to be a small business owner in Seattle. I owned a small pastry shop in Ballard within the last 3 yrs. Had lovely, loyal, supportive patrons and was doing quite well. What ended my shop? Rent/landlord issues and neighborhood gentrification.
    Seattle has abysmal commercial landlord/tenant regulations. High rents, and lack of small business advocacy by the city ultimately forced out businesses like Best Regards, Scandinavian Specialties(on Market St. for over 30yrs), Epilogue books, etc… All of these businesses closed in the same two months. I spoke to every one of those businesses owners about their closing. What did they say ended their ability to stay in the space? Not lack of business.
    Exorbitant flash rent hikes by the building owners, new and old. In all of these cases, the bldg was bought or changed and the rent was hiked by 30% – 50% with not even a 30 day notice. There is no enforced commercial regulation that prevents a landlord from doing that to a business owner in Seattle. No small business can handle a hike that extreme in such a short amount of time. You’ll notice in the article that the businesses were negotiating new leases with Sue Wanwig. There is nothing to say that Sue Wanwig didn’t hike the rent following the trending of the upper QA Ave neighborhood. High end expensive new brick condo/apt bldgs with extremely high rent retail on the bottom just down the street.

    If you want small unique business to thrive in your neighborhood, be vocal. Attend the property planning meetings that are open to the public, own your neighborhood and let developers know what you want and be vocal as a mass community. Let landlords like Sue Wanwig know that you value and patronize small businesses in your neighborhood so she knows that hiking the rent will not be in her favor in the long run. People in Seattle need to value small businesses with action not just opinions.
    One of the closing businesses in Ballard during my time there even had a group of neighborhood folks come in and offer to band together and help pay the rent hike difference for 3 months so she could keep it going in Ballard and try to catch up to the rent hike. She opted to move her business to another neighborhood with more affordable commercial rent.
    Those were community members thinking with action.

    I think QA can hang on to that charm that Ballard has lost, but the upper QA community needs to become more of a vocal active force.

    Oh, by the way, I am still a small business owner, living in a very nice, well-kept, beautiful bldg on LOWER QA. It’s quite immature and ignorant to make generalizations about a neighborhood because of a dirty bus stop. And by the way @seattletrendingdown, Uptown Espresso is another small business that many QA residents, upper and lower, enjoy and frequent daily. By making the degrading and snobbish comments that you made, you are not helping them or their employees earning a living as a small business.
    Be a good neighbor and help positively!

    Small businesses are the key to our economic recovery, let’s lend them more positive support!

  • LowerQAprofessional

    Sad how this conversation declined from concern over some hard working small business owners into petty personal and political attacks. Come on, is this really the forum for that??

    The bottom line is that it is very tough to be a small business owner in Seattle. I owned a small pastry shop in Ballard within the last 3 yrs. Had lovely, loyal, supportive patrons and was doing quite well. What ended my shop? Rent/landlord issues and neighborhood gentrification.
    Seattle has abysmal commercial landlord/tenant regulations. High rents, and lack of small business advocacy by the city ultimately forced out businesses like Best Regards, Scandinavian Specialties(on Market St. for over 30yrs), Epilogue books, etc… All of these businesses closed in the same two months. I spoke to every one of those businesses owners about their closing. What did they say ended their ability to stay in the space? Not lack of business.
    Exorbitant flash rent hikes by the building owners, new and old. In all of these cases, the bldg was bought or changed and the rent was hiked by 30% – 50% with not even a 30 day notice. There is no enforced commercial regulation that prevents a landlord from doing that to a business owner in Seattle. No small business can handle a hike that extreme in such a short amount of time. You’ll notice in the article that the businesses were negotiating new leases with Sue Wanwig. There is nothing to say that Sue Wanwig didn’t hike the rent following the trending of the upper QA Ave neighborhood. High end expensive new brick condo/apt bldgs with extremely high rent retail on the bottom just down the street.

    If you want small unique business to thrive in your neighborhood, be vocal. Attend the property planning meetings that are open to the public, own your neighborhood and let developers know what you want and be vocal as a mass community. Let landlords like Sue Wanwig know that you value and patronize small businesses in your neighborhood so she knows that hiking the rent will not be in her favor in the long run. People in Seattle need to value small businesses with action not just opinions.
    One of the closing businesses in Ballard during my time there even had a group of neighborhood folks come in and offer to band together and help pay the rent hike difference for 3 months so she could keep it going in Ballard and try to catch up to the rent hike. She opted to move her business to another neighborhood with more affordable commercial rent.
    Those were community members thinking with action.

    I think QA can hang on to that charm that Ballard has lost, but the upper QA community needs to become more of a vocal active force.

    Oh, by the way, I am still a small business owner, living in a very nice, well-kept, beautiful bldg on LOWER QA. It’s quite immature and ignorant to make generalizations about a neighborhood because of a dirty bus stop. And by the way @seattletrendingdown, Uptown Espresso is another small business that many QA residents, upper and lower, enjoy and frequent daily. By making the degrading and snobbish comments that you made, you are not helping them or their employees earning a living as a small business.
    Be a good neighbor and help positively!

    Small businesses are the key to our economic recovery, let’s lend them more positive support!

  • Kevin Rinderle

    Agreed. If you appreciate having small, locally owned businesses on the Ave, please support them. We can’t get away with charging higher prices to offset the higher rent, we just eat it. Your patronage is what makes that happen.

  • Kevin Rinderle

    Agreed. If you appreciate having small, locally owned businesses on the Ave, please support them. We can’t get away with charging higher prices to offset the higher rent, we just eat it. Your patronage is what makes that happen.

  • JBL

    I believe LowerQAProfessional has said it all and said it best. (Your points are succinct and informed. Thank-you.

  • JBL

    I believe LowerQAProfessional has said it all and said it best. (Your points are succinct and informed. Thank-you.

  • tico

    Serious questions Lower QAProfessional:

    -Are you a homosexual, caucasian, 28-45 y.o male with a partially completed liberal arts bachleors degree?
    -Are you an only child?
    -Adopted?
    -Are you from the East Coast?
    -Is your family wealthy?
    -Are you estranged from your family?
    -Have you traveled to more than a dozen countries in your life?
    -Do you, or have you, owned a VW, BMW, or Saab?

  • tico

    Serious questions Lower QAProfessional:

    -Are you a homosexual, caucasian, 28-45 y.o male with a partially completed liberal arts bachleors degree?
    -Are you an only child?
    -Adopted?
    -Are you from the East Coast?
    -Is your family wealthy?
    -Are you estranged from your family?
    -Have you traveled to more than a dozen countries in your life?
    -Do you, or have you, owned a VW, BMW, or Saab?

  • Seattle Trending Down….

    I have lived on upper QA since 1993, and go out of my way to frequent local QA businesses.
    I don’t even mind the premium you usually pay to do so.

    But at some point – the model breaks, and Queen Anne Books is a perfect example.
    I wanted to buy a Best Selling (popular) book – Unbroken – for a Christmas Gift.
    It is $27.95 at QA Books, $13.98 at Amazon (with free delivery), and $15.59.

    I paid TWICE the amount for the same product at QA books, and when I discovered my recipient also received the same book from another family member, I offered to return mine.
    The book is perfect condition, and I was surprised to learn QA Books does not provide any refunds -even though I had bought it just 6 days earlier and had the original receipt.
    They only offer store credit.
    Which means I now get to pay 200% mark-up on my future purchases to utilize my credit.

    A small premium is worth paying to support local businesses, but when that premium grows to 200% and significantly less convenience (no returns), that support will eventually erode simply out of necessity.

    Communiqué Toys on the other hand does it right.
    They are consistently approx. 10-20% higher priced on their wide range on children’s toys than Amazon or others.
    I will gladly pay that type of premium to support them and keep them in the neighborhood.

    This is not a rant against QA Books – which is a fantastic place with nice people.
    But it’s an illustration of how the economics in retail (where the product is basically a commodity) will eventually force the customer towards easier and less expensive options.

  • Seattle Trending Down….

    I have lived on upper QA since 1993, and go out of my way to frequent local QA businesses.
    I don’t even mind the premium you usually pay to do so.

    But at some point – the model breaks, and Queen Anne Books is a perfect example.
    I wanted to buy a Best Selling (popular) book – Unbroken – for a Christmas Gift.
    It is $27.95 at QA Books, $13.98 at Amazon (with free delivery), and $15.59.

    I paid TWICE the amount for the same product at QA books, and when I discovered my recipient also received the same book from another family member, I offered to return mine.
    The book is perfect condition, and I was surprised to learn QA Books does not provide any refunds -even though I had bought it just 6 days earlier and had the original receipt.
    They only offer store credit.
    Which means I now get to pay 200% mark-up on my future purchases to utilize my credit.

    A small premium is worth paying to support local businesses, but when that premium grows to 200% and significantly less convenience (no returns), that support will eventually erode simply out of necessity.

    Communiqué Toys on the other hand does it right.
    They are consistently approx. 10-20% higher priced on their wide range on children’s toys than Amazon or others.
    I will gladly pay that type of premium to support them and keep them in the neighborhood.

    This is not a rant against QA Books – which is a fantastic place with nice people.
    But it’s an illustration of how the economics in retail (where the product is basically a commodity) will eventually force the customer towards easier and less expensive options.

  • Matt the Engineer

    I’ll chime in on this crazy thread. High rents means that we’re doing something right – businesses want to be on QA Ave so much, they’re willing to pay a high rent. However, to get the small, interesting (and, importantly, affordable) shops that we all love we need lower rents. What to do?

    Use good old basic economics. The laws of supply and demand tells us that more square footage of storefronts would lower prices. The market is asking for more space. Which, again, is a good thing. I want more shops on QA.

    Let’s extend QA Ave a bit. We should zone Galer and McGraw the same as QA Ave to continue the storefronts. If we still have enough demand we can continue down 6th to have a whole loop of stores. That will drive down prices to reasonable levels, and give us all great new places to shop.

  • Matt the Engineer

    I’ll chime in on this crazy thread. High rents means that we’re doing something right – businesses want to be on QA Ave so much, they’re willing to pay a high rent. However, to get the small, interesting (and, importantly, affordable) shops that we all love we need lower rents. What to do?

    Use good old basic economics. The laws of supply and demand tells us that more square footage of storefronts would lower prices. The market is asking for more space. Which, again, is a good thing. I want more shops on QA.

    Let’s extend QA Ave a bit. We should zone Galer and McGraw the same as QA Ave to continue the storefronts. If we still have enough demand we can continue down 6th to have a whole loop of stores. That will drive down prices to reasonable levels, and give us all great new places to shop.

  • tico

    What’s going on with the selective and anonymous pruning? Is the blog getting less transparent?

  • tico

    What’s going on with the selective and anonymous pruning? Is the blog getting less transparent?

  • QA Hill

    The blog has gone downhill lately. No clue on the “pruning” but it looks to be off topic comments.

  • QA Hill

    The blog has gone downhill lately. No clue on the “pruning” but it looks to be off topic comments.

  • tico

    Looking at whats benn pruned it appears to me that the mod finally realized that one pereson was behind several different handles, did an isp cross check on those handles, confirmed that it was one individual feigning to be many people and removed the offending posts.

    My guess is someone connected to Enzo/ Sorrento/ Polpetta since their ‘supporters’ were most vocal and acvtive in attacking those who mentioned the establishment being way, way, way past its prime, so to speak.

  • tico

    Looking at whats benn pruned it appears to me that the mod finally realized that one pereson was behind several different handles, did an isp cross check on those handles, confirmed that it was one individual feigning to be many people and removed the offending posts.

    My guess is someone connected to Enzo/ Sorrento/ Polpetta since their ‘supporters’ were most vocal and acvtive in attacking those who mentioned the establishment being way, way, way past its prime, so to speak.

  • Travis Godbout

    Anonymous comment posters, so brave and brazen with their comments, yet so shy and aloof when it comes to taking credit.

    The attacks on the landlord here are comical. I grew up in a mom and pop retail world and I am also now a (residential) landlord. Landlords are business owners ladies and gentleman. Leasing your commercial property is business. You provide infrastructure to other businesses so that they can provide a service or sell products to customers. It is how the world works.

    Like it or not, the Wanwig’s are small business owners on Queen Anne. Their small business is an integral cog in making businesses like the Tea Cup, Ototo and whatever name that Italian place ended up calling itself possible, or in this case, not tenable.

    No one would expect either of these two restaurants or the Tea Cup to provide customers free meals or drinks indefinitely if they came on hard time. Why should you expect another small business owner like the Wanwig’s to do the same?

    Try putting your (real) name on your comment next time. You will probably find your response a lot more measured, logical and non-emotional. You probably have something valuable to say, so why not take credit?

  • Travis Godbout

    Anonymous comment posters, so brave and brazen with their comments, yet so shy and aloof when it comes to taking credit.

    The attacks on the landlord here are comical. I grew up in a mom and pop retail world and I am also now a (residential) landlord. Landlords are business owners ladies and gentleman. Leasing your commercial property is business. You provide infrastructure to other businesses so that they can provide a service or sell products to customers. It is how the world works.

    Like it or not, the Wanwig’s are small business owners on Queen Anne. Their small business is an integral cog in making businesses like the Tea Cup, Ototo and whatever name that Italian place ended up calling itself possible, or in this case, not tenable.

    No one would expect either of these two restaurants or the Tea Cup to provide customers free meals or drinks indefinitely if they came on hard time. Why should you expect another small business owner like the Wanwig’s to do the same?

    Try putting your (real) name on your comment next time. You will probably find your response a lot more measured, logical and non-emotional. You probably have something valuable to say, so why not take credit?

  • Florian Hladik

    I really miss Ototo Sushi. They served affordable Sushi of very high quality, way better than what you get on the opposite side of the street at Chinoise, for example. But I guess that’s what did them in – highest quality fish is expensive and you have to price it accordingly. I am very grateful for the good times I was allowed to have at Ototo. I often ate their alone, after work, or with my wife on weekends. Probably on average once a week – it was the only Sushi restaurant in Seattle I visited regularly, after having tried many others who are either of lesser quality or way more expensive (e.g. Nishino). Thanks Ototo !! As for the landlord Susan Wanwig, I am sure she is a decent lady and had good reasons to cancel the lease of the three businesses. In an ideal world I’d wish that the owners of commercial buildings of such importance to our local community actually lived on Queen Anne. If you pass by every day and perhaps even become a customer of some of the businesses you are leasing to, it may open your eyes to things you don’t see when you live and work in a different neighborhood.

  • Florian Hladik

    I really miss Ototo Sushi. They served affordable Sushi of very high quality, way better than what you get on the opposite side of the street at Chinoise, for example. But I guess that’s what did them in – highest quality fish is expensive and you have to price it accordingly. I am very grateful for the good times I was allowed to have at Ototo. I often ate their alone, after work, or with my wife on weekends. Probably on average once a week – it was the only Sushi restaurant in Seattle I visited regularly, after having tried many others who are either of lesser quality or way more expensive (e.g. Nishino). Thanks Ototo !! As for the landlord Susan Wanwig, I am sure she is a decent lady and had good reasons to cancel the lease of the three businesses. In an ideal world I’d wish that the owners of commercial buildings of such importance to our local community actually lived on Queen Anne. If you pass by every day and perhaps even become a customer of some of the businesses you are leasing to, it may open your eyes to things you don’t see when you live and work in a different neighborhood.


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