One of North Queen Anne’s most beloved establishments — and a longtime hangout of SPU students and faculty — will be closing this Saturday. Stell’s Burgers & More is moving out of the neighborhood in the wake of a bitter lawsuit over contamination cleanup costs. “I’m not jumping with joy that I’m leaving, but it is what it is,” owner Stellios Makratzakis told us.
Nearly seven years ago, Makratzakis opened Stell’s in the building across from SPU, which was occupied by a dry cleaning business. A controversy ensued over who would foot the bill for cleanup costs, reported a story in SPU’s student newspaper, The Falcon. It escalated into a lawsuit over tenancy rights, and the suit just settled. “Part of the settlement is I chose to leave,” Makratzakis said, adding he couldn’t elaborate due to a confidentiality clause in the deal.
In April of last year, SPU said it bought the property that houses Stell’s from Lyle Olsen, who continues to lease out the other half of the building. SPU wouldn’t discuss the lawsuit, but it said it’s “considering a number of options for the property, including food formats that can serve both the University students and employees but also the general public,” SPU’s SVP of Business and Planning Don Mortenson told Queen Anne View in an emailed statement.
“The kids and the faculty are absolutely wonderful,” Makratzakis said, gazing out the window at the SPU campus. “It’s a shame it didn’t work out.” He said he’s exploring a location on Market St. in Ballard as well as locations in Northeast Seattle. “I hope we can stay in the vicinity,” he said, noting they have a growing list of customers who want to be notified when he opens again.
“It’s time to move on and get a new venture going,” he said.