9/12/2016

 

It is with equal parts embarrassment, regret, resignation and acceptance that I'm announcing that Sunday was our last day of operation.

 

2016 has been a year of extreme ups and downs for my family, the kind of which we hope to never, ever experience again in such a short time frame.  We've endured a sudden rush of business and interest that we were not prepared for, a crushing personal loss in our family, a terrifying medical scare followed by a welcome new member of the family and months upon months of desperately crunching numbers and trying to make things work out for everyone.

 

We believe our biggest error was underestimating how much money we really needed to simply make it through the first stages of the restaurant's lifecycle.   We didn't open a restaurant to try and get rich, and we certainly didn't start out that way, but we were naive about how long it would take for the business to be able to start paying the debts we accrued to open up shop, no matter how many hours I put in.

 

We were actually doing reasonably well up until the Fourth of July weekend, after which it was like a switch was turned off down here in the Oldtown area.  We went from looking forward to an action-packed summer to wringing our hands and borrowing too much money to survive until people came back from vacation or stopped having fun on the weekends.  Now that school’s back in session we have seen an uptick in business, but it's just not enough to make up the difference and the math, while cruel, does not lie.  With enough money in the bank we believe that the restaurant would eventually be the small success we'd hoped for, but with winter coming up it just seems like borrowing even more to try and keep the lights on would be throwing good money after bad since the repayment would take years of grinding away in debt service.

 

To our regulars:  Thank you so much for your kind words and support.  There have been so many hours and days when your enthusiasm for our food was all that kept me going on an emotional level.

 

To those who tried us and hated it:  We never intended to be normal or regular, even the grass-fed beef itself has the potential to turn people off, and I acknowledge that our ketchup is weird and that we didn't have Coke.  Thank you for giving us a try all the same; some mistakes were made that were human error and if you reached out to me about a poor experience I did whatever I could to make up for it and I hope that showed.

 

To our gift card holders:  Our point of sale system has recorded the purchaser's email address and I will be reaching out to try and arrange refunds.  Any unclaimed gift card dollar amounts will be donated to North Kitsap Fishline in six months in your name.

 

To Katherine:  Thank you so much, I can't think of a better souvenir to represent this adventure.  Your art will be displayed with pride as a reminder that only a tiny part of this experience was painful.

 

To everyone who's read this far:  Soapbox time, I think I've earned it.  Making food that I could be proud to serve was only half of our restaurant's mission.  The other half was to make sure we were using ingredients and techniques that are positive for our ecosystem and society.  There are fewer things more demoralizing to me than the times when I worked a 15 hour day busting my butt just to have the opportunity to do it again the next day, only to drive past the full parking lots of the chain restaurants on my way home at night.  I want to take this opportunity to remind us all that we are voting with our dollars.  Every penny we provide to businesses that use products and practices that are harmful in the long run to the sustainability of our way of life and ease of food access is like saying “Great job!  Keep it up!”.   It won't be us who suffers, but our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; people who we will never meet.  We don't have the right to rob them of the things we are privileged to take for granted.

 

Stephen and Family