Customers rally to save beloved Belltown restaurant

KING 5's Natalie Swaby reports.

SEATTLE -- Queen City Grill celebrated 30 years of business at the same location, First and Blanchard in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood Monday. But the anniversary party was also a ‘Save the Queen’ rally because the restaurant has been told it has to vacate the space on January 2, according to General Manager and Partner Robert Eickhof.

Eickhof says landlord, Plymouth Housing Group, is refusing to let them stay.

In a statement provided by Plymouth Housing Group it states:

Plymouth Housing Group provides lease space to 15 restaurant and retail commercial tenants, the proceeds of which go toward its mission of helping homeless adults. One of those tenants is the Queen City Grill (QCG). The owners of QCG also owned two other failed businesses which cost Plymouth hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, legal fees and court costs. Plymouth ultimately won the law suits and was deemed to be in the right.

Since 2010, QCG has also suffered from financial problems. Plymouth has worked closely with QCG to help alleviate the situation. Rent has been reduced and leases have been restructured. QCG now is thousands of dollars behind in its obligations. Plymouth regrets the difficulties being suffered by this long time Seattle institution but cannot offer a new lease term to this commercial tenant without risking the financial stability of Plymouth's mission.  Our intent is that this would continue as a restaurant location, but no specific plans have been made.

Partner Steve Good reacted to the statement Monday night.

“I don’t agree with it. We have paid our rent,” said Good.

“There was a discrepancy of a water bill two or three years ago. $5,800. We disputed it. We thought it was outrageous. It’s accrued to the point of $14,800. We have said we will pay that if you will grant us our five-year option,” said Eickhof.

Eickhof added that the two failed businesses mentioned in the statement have connections with the owners, but said, “the corporate structures are entirely different.”

At Queen City Grill, they want more time and more memories on the same block in Belltown.

Eickhof says it cost $500,000 to open 30 years ago, and he doesn’t want to think about what it would cost to start over in a new location today.

Loyal customers, like Mike Rogers, want the doors to stay open at the Belltown location, too.

“It would be a total shame to lose it. I can’t imagine why any city leader or anyone in authority would want to see this place go. It is an institution,” said Rogers.

A letter writing campaign is underway with people letting Plymouth Housing Group and City of Seattle officials know what they think about losing Queen City Grill.

Copyright 2016 KING


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