Mandalay Cafe

topic posted Fri, July 28, 2006 - 4:01 PM by  shamus
My favorite seattle restaurant, Mandalay Cafe, is closing its doors on August 1.

The owners are moving to Canada and opening a restaurant there.

The space that Mandalay is in now will be redone and a new "northwest organic" restaurant will open there. I'm sure it will be good and all, but you can't fling a copper river salmon fillet in this town without hitting another restaurant carrying on the Tom Douglas tradition. there is nothing else quite like Mandalay.

I went last night, I'll probably go as many times as I can before it's all over.

So, heads up. you've only got three more nights (they're closed Sun/Mon) to get the best spring rolls you will ever eat, or a bowl of the Laksha.

I'll probably cry on Tuesday.
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  • Re: Mandalay Cafe

    Fri, July 28, 2006 - 4:18 PM
    How sad. Do you know why they are leaving? Were they forced out for higher rent? Just curious.
    • Re: Mandalay Cafe

      Sat, July 29, 2006 - 1:33 AM
      They own that house, so they were not forced out by rent. I'm not sure if they are selling the land or going to be landlords to the new restaurant. I'll ask at the going away party, and report back.

      Finances played a part. But so did boredom. boredom is probably the wrong word. More like a certain feeling that they had accomplished what they set out to do, and the restaurant was on the cusp of becoming an institution, and dead, like wild orchid, which is the closest place to Mandalay that there was in town. Restlessness is a way to put it.

      As for finances, the walk-by business in that part of wallingford is dipping with that new construction around the corner of Stone and 45th. chunks of retail have also gone to non-nightlife things like the library. That's probably transitional, but it hit at a bad time. They did this refurbishment of the second floor of the house where they raised the roof and put an apartment up there for an in-law, and that ended up being a money pit. The contractors kept screwing it up. they put the door in the wrong place on the back. They did the electrical wrong so that blowers would cut out in the kitchen. The plans were all good, but the contractor mis-interpreted them. They should have sued, but didn't. So they lost money on that.

      Then the restlessness got mixed up with bad finance, as they got involved with a plan to revamp some supper clubs in portland, with a relative. Basically trying to bring a Mandalay style menu to these supper clubs, but at the same time refurbishing them. The relative signed a bad contract before the Mandalay people got into it, and the Landlord/minor investor was able to step in about a week from opening and steal the business. It was a pretty bad burn. That's about the time that the selling talk started.

      I went to a wedding that they catered about a year ago, which was near the end of the portland fiasco, and they said that they had committed to this restarurant in BC. Janny has more family up threre. So the attention was already divided.

      Then I was at the restaurant in like February, and Erik was there, and I asked him if they were selling. They thought that they had a buyer for the online spice part of the business, but he was all gung ho about the restaurant. They had fresh reviews in the Weekly and a best of citysearch that was bringing in new customers. They were saying that they were going for it. But Erik was still commiting to the restaurant in BC, and doing both.

      Then the business trailed back off a bit, and they just got tired of going so long distance. I guess. I never heard from them why they decided to close. I do know that they always sounded more excited about the place in BC.