SEATTLE — A well-known restaurant in Seattle coping with a devastating fire this past summer is dealing with another setback. Thieves broke into Vito's restaurant in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood over the weekend, stealing a precious icon from the space.
Barbara the taxidermy cougar, which is an iconic staple of the business, was stolen.
“She is as much of a part of this restaurant as the food, and the music and the cocktails,” said Jeff Scott, the co-owner of Vito’s. “So, for us to have her gone, is just … It's unimaginable."
Scott has endured hardship the past few months. The restaurant has been around since 1953. Back in June, a massive fire ruined the apartments above the restaurant, and the water used to put it out ultimately led to its indefinite closure.
" (An) amazing amount of damage all throughout the building and destroyed the restaurant,” said Scott. “So pretty tough right after COVID."
Workers are bringing the business back to life, but as construction continues, just this past weekend thieves broke into the restaurant's Cougar Room, which is the restaurant's private dining room, and stole Barbara the cougar.
The stuffed cat is part of the restaurant's history, Scott said; a history that consists of thousands of people visiting the restaurant, with Barbra there in the background adding to the special memories.
"You don't understand what you did, and if you do understand then it's just so, so wrong, all we want is to get that cougar back," said Scott.