As fireworks from the Space Needle lit up the Seattle sky ushering in 2018 on New Year’s Eve, LloydMartin at the top of Queen Anne Hill, Ten Mercer on Lower Queen Anne and Two Bells Bar & Grill in Belltown, all were ushered out of Seattle’s dining landscape.
New Year’s Eve marked the last night of service for all three restaurants under the shadow of the Space Needle, as well as Volterra in Ballard. Volterra’s Kirkland location remains open.
LloydMartin chef and owner Sam Crannell cranked out gourmet comfort food combining exotic ingredients and staples producing culinary alchemy from a tiny kitchen with no exhaust hood. Crannell labored over induction burners and a convection oven, compensating for his tiny kitchen with back-breaking prep work, accounting for 14-hour days.
It was the promise of finally installing a new hood, however, that was the deal breaker.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back is that we brought in a ventless hood,” Crannell explained. “The city said there were too many violations. The hood people would not take it back and the city said we couldn't install it.”
Crannell wants to reopen LloydMartin elsewhere in Seattle. In the meantime, he’s consulting with El Camino owners Robert Coburn and Paige Crandall to open a pizzeria in South Park by this spring.
“I am sure there will be a reincarnation of LloydMartin. I just don't know where,” Crannell said. “I have outgrown this space. I proved I can do it on a shoestring. I am looking for someone who is interested in my next chapter. I am not done with Seattle by any means.
“I want to feed you great product. I want you to have fun and I want you to be satisfied. I ran premium product at no-so-premium prices. My goal has been to over deliver. Our goals are gluttony, satiation and love.”
Two Bells delivered gluttony in Seattle dating as far back as 1941 on Fourth Avenue and Bell Street. Over time, it became the media capital of Seattle, of sorts. Surrounded by news organizations within a mile radius, it became a regular destination for journalists by day. At night, it became a hub for artists from multiple mediums.
By the end of 2017 it had become the victim of commercial development. Seattle-based Security Properties bought the building and will likely tear it down to replace it with residential towers like Angeline in Columbia City and Janus in Greenwood, which they built.
Another journalists’ haunt, the 13 Coins in South Lake Union, closed at the end of the year. It will re-open in mid-January at Stadium Place as the lobby restaurant for the new Embassy Suites by Hilton adjacent to the CenturyLink Field north parking lot.
Restaurateur Brian Curry opened Ten Mercer on Lower Queen Anne in 2000, his first venture into fine dining after stints at neighboring T.S. McHugh’s and the now defunct Floyd’s Place. Curry and his commanding elegant service built Ten Mercer into a pre-theater/ballet/opera destination for patrons of the arts and post-show destination for the artists performing at the neighboring Seattle Center or On the Boards, where Curry was a board member.
Volterra’s Ballard lease expired at the end of 2017 and the building has been sold. Volterra owner Michelle Quisenberry said she and husband and chef Don Curtiss will be looking for a new Seattle location. The Volterra Kirkland, however, remains open.