Community Post

A CD restaurant closes – others say things getting worse

It was just a few weeks ago when some friends told us about the great meal they had picked up at King Creole Louisiana Gumbo & BBQ. Others really like it too – it accumulated 6 five-star reviews since we first wrote about it almost two years ago.

Last night Kedra of All Purpose Pizza (a CDNews advertiser) sent us a note that King Creole had closed and its building was up for lease.

Coming on the same day that Kedra announced the end of their new brunch service, she said it’s clear that the economy is still bad and seems to be getting worse. She said that while July is always a slow month in the restaurant business, this month is unusually bad, forcing her to cut employee hours to the bone.

Remember that your neighborhood businesses depend on people like you to keep going. If you don’t spend your dollars in the neighborhood, it’s very likely you’ll lose the opportunity to do so again in the future. So buy a pizza, get a coffee, and enjoy your summer cocktails here in the Central District instead of elsewhere.

0 thoughts on “A CD restaurant closes – others say things getting worse

  1. I took my family there once. The food was so good, but the prices
    were just too much for what you got. That gumbo was some
    of the best I have had West of the Mighty Miss……

    Shame to see a neghborhood business go. I heard rumors of him moving the place
    to Bellevue?????

  2. In these economic times it is as simple as this. If you want services and goods closeby in your neighborhood you need to back that up and spend your dollars in the neighborhood.
    I own the building at 55o 12th ave home of the Watertown coffee and cocktails….It is a wonderful place for great coffee and pastries in the morning and then a GREAT lounge in the afternoon and evening for the locals. They try very hard ( the owners) to give the neighborhood what they want and need so come on folks When you want that coffee or beer with friends this summer head over to the Watertowm.
    Say hi to Amy, Daniel,Allecia, and Jody….and the whole gang at Watertown Its a GREAT place and they are Great people!….Bennett

  3. And how we don’t know how much more waiting our neighborhood can do. Its getting ugly.

  4. I like supporting local businesses; I just don’t like overpriced gumbo (yes, it was delicious, just too expensive) and I don’t think about going to a pizza place for brunch. So, while the economy sucks, business owners also have to make smart decisions and run their businesses wisely. It’s easy to say, “if the economy was better, ____ would have worked out”, but that isn’t usually the case.

  5. Thankfully, I still have a job, and we still go out. We DO mix CD eateries and bars/pubs into our selection of places to hit. But I agree with ‘anon’: All-Purpose makes a mean pie but breakfast was mediocre at best, so we didn’t go back in the mornings. (Believe me, as a lover of breakfast, I was ready to cheerlead for the joint.) Businesses need to know what they’re doing and do it well, especially these days. You get a very short window to wow us customers. Fall short or do something half-ass, and you’ll lose a lot of us. That doesn’t mean I’m not rooting for local businesses. I am. But don’t get upset if we move on to try something else a few blocks over or up the hill when we’re just not impressed.

  6. King Creole will be missed – hopefully can open up elsewhere in the future with better times. As for All Purpose. I can say one bad order has ruined you for 50 people. I work in an office in the area. A while back a few of us ordered food in for a meeting. The vegitarian soup had meat in it (women wanted to argue about it. Five non vegitarians confirmed it was meat) After getting a rude response, and not an appology or refund, you have been written off – no one will touch you. Bad service, bad customer service leads to no customers.

  7. I will counterbalance Sadie by saying each and every time we have had a pizza at All Purpose Pizza it has been high quality and good service. I have mentioned this to several people so hopefully that will neutralize the bad press Sadie is putting out there.

    Bennett – A big fan of Watertown coffee. We recently discovered the joint and love the ping pong table and the general vibe. It was a great location for the World Cup. Maybe it will be for NFL football as well? The liquor license makes it happen…

  8. Are you sure about this???? I cant believe it….i love their food and i am so sorry to hear about that…is there a web page or email addy that we can locate to see if the move to Bellevue is true or a rumor??? gosh. They have some excellent food…..:(

  9. they had dine in prices and carry out service (and maybe dine in food). they needed a place where you could sit and have dinner, not carry out a $10 bowl of gumbo. when there is a choice to go to NAAM and have a nice experience inside, you probably do that.

    that said, i didn’t walk a mile in his shoes and have no idea about his cost structure. wish they stuck around, and wish them the best.

  10. Your comment is right on … be realistic – there are places thriving in this “economy” – to blame it on the economy is an easy way out. serve a great product at a fair and decent price and you have to wait for a seat. you can’t find great bbq in seattle, end of discussion.

    i would like nothing more than to patronize all purpose, but their quality has gone down hill – service is fair at best and brunch, really? i’d rather wait for a table at Hi Spot or St. Clouds.

  11. I’m all for supporting local businesses, but you have to meet people half way. All purpose charges crazy high prices for their mediocre pizza. They don’t offer a happy hour and they don’t offer individual slices after a certain time. Listen to public feedback and then go from there.

  12. We dined out last night and chose Naam. Amazing country style Pad Thai for 10 bucks and a huge portion. I couldn’t even finish it. Anyone who knows me knows that means something.Their cocktails are also reasinable priced at 8 bucks where most other joints are charging 12 for specialty drinks. We almost never go out for pizza. We end up spending the same as we would elsewhere and all we get is pizza. My complaint at All- Purpose was the 8 dollar glass of wine. I need a 5 dollar house option.Maybe that has been addressed. As pizza goes I always thought it was fantastic. I’m with Elvis on King Creole. That place was never going to succeed with just take out options.

  13. I don’t know anything about a vegetarian soup issue and if I had, I would have done something about it. When was this?

  14. I don’t feel as if quality has gone down at all. But maybe I am missing something because I am too close to the picture. The pizzas I personally put on tables are beautiful and what I hear from those customers is always good feedback (and I always ask!). There are certainly times where someone’s pizza isn’t perfect, but we are happy to make a new one. And, as for service — TELL ME what you are experiencing! I can’t be there all the time and to have some experience and not tell me doesn’t help me correct the problem. It isn’t fair to ANY business to complain amongst yourselves and not give the business an opportunity to know and correct the issue!
    Anything from quality, to service (be specific about what you don’t like), to meat in your vegetarian soup just let me know! Anyone who knows me knows I listen, correct the problem, and otherwise openly invite constructive criticism.

    As for pricing, I have analyzed all of the competitors and APP pricing falls in line with them all. Sometimes it is even cheaper. It is no secret that our pizza is a high-maintenance gourmet pizza. But it is a filling high-maintenance gourmet pizza that people usually get two meals out of. We don’t do slices (nixed that with lunch in 2007). We DO have happy hour and half price wine night!

    The kitchen staff has been there two years. Nothing has changed so it is hard for me to understand how one might say quality has gone downhill. What specifically is the quality issue?

    APP used to make enough money for me to take a small and livable wage. Not anymore. Not much has changed but people’s spending behavior: you want to spend less money, I want to charge less money but, sadly, I am screwed by so many things from high rent my landlord won’t renegotiate, to overall fixed operating costs that hover around 30k a month. I believe in my neighborhood and have done all I can to stay open because of it. I want to offer a product people love (and believed I was doing so…)

    It has heartbreaking for me to read any of this because I take it so personally. A lot of places that seem to be “thriving” in this economy are struggling too (they aren’t just making “as much” profit) – but a lot of them have also been around longer, or have a full liquor license or who knows what – everyone’s situation is individual and I can’t try and compare mine to theirs. APP is just breaking even.

    If you have feedback like $5 glasses of wine (tell me where you get your $5 glass of wine and the brand!) or something specific about the quality of the pizza and certainly any customer service issues you have encountered) let me know: [email protected]

  15. My bad about the bashing. I commend you for even serving this area. There are certain pizza chains who won’t even deliver in this area.

  16. I really appreciate you being in the Central Distric area Kedra when so many others are reluctant to move in – not sure why this story had to turn into an APP bashing session – that is unfortunate and really annoying!

  17. Kedra,

    We order from APP every couple of months and are always impressed with the quality and product you deliver. The pizza options are exceptional, and the hummus appetizer is one of my favorites from any restaurant in the area specializing in pizza. It’s also refreshing to see a business owner interacting with patrons (happy or not) in a public forum.

    I wish you all the best and will continue to support your business when our budget allows.

    Best Regards,

  18. What’s going on is that people find it easy to lash out from behind the cloak of Internet anonymity. You see this all the time with a variety of topics. It’s just another example of good old Seattle-style passive/aggressiveness!

    If there’s a problem at APP, tell Kedra about it IN PERSON so she can do something about it. She’s always there every single time I’ve been there.

  19. This became about APP when the original post gave more space to APP and its financial woes than the closing of King Creole. And why does expressing an opinion other than “attagirl” become bashing? I agree, that some comments may be more appropriate – and useful – in the reviews section, but they’re not necessarily out-of-place here if they help shed light on an establishment’s drop in business.

  20. APP – We love you, and so does everyone we’ve taken there! Don’t order wine, ever, but love your beer prices – they are better than most! Every dish has been great, and exactly what we wanted. Never had bad service, and I love that you guys give my daughter dough to play with – we cannot drive by without her asking to go there for dinner! We didn’t get the opportunity to try your brunch. Thank you, we are very glad you are here! So sorry to hear about your rent, you would think the landlord would wake up and look at the real estate signs outside and realize how little demand there is for his building – some of those sellers are looking at $100k loses on their condos – ouch! If he were to lose you as a tenant I think he would be hard pressed to find a replacement.
    But, all that said, yes the economy has highly affected our personal spending. I’ve recently lost my job, and our income is stagnant with no chance of an increase in the forseeable future. Whereas we used to eat out once a week, at least, we now eat out once every other month, and we go cheap. We are one family, but all our friends seem to be in the same boat from our discussions.

  21. Spiffy D – I can’t agree more with your observation about internet anonymity. Spot on.

    Kedra – Please keep it going. We are coming in this week for a pie and will continue to support you. Thanks for being a positive contributor to our neighborhood.

  22. What does it matter if they say their name or they don’t? It’s still the internet. Also, why can’t people express their dislike or like for a certain place without becoming the enemy?

  23. Tasha – it’s about bashing versus constructive criticism. instead of saying “quality has gone downhill” how about providing an example, some suggestions, instead of just expressing dislike? some of the people did that above, and that’s helpful for a business owner to read that and get some ideas for improvement.

    as for the anonymity thing, many people say things on the Net that they would never have the guts to say face-to-face. I do this too sometimes. not always proud of it, but it happens.

  24. New to the neighborhood, so have never been to King Creole. But, you’re right on that we need to frequent spots in our backyard if we want things to pick-up econo-wise. No business will move into a place without a local interest.

  25. How do you people telling people how to behave know what they do at a restaurant unless you are with them? To assume they do not give feedback in person when you have no way of knowing is awfully arrogant.

    No dine in service, expensive wine, orders not fulfilled as requested isn’t bashing from my perspective. There were also some nice comments about large portions for a good price, affordable cocktails, good food and service about some local eateries. The feedback about the short window to wow people is very true and isn’t bashing either. Even if people aren’t giving feedback in person for whatever reason, there have been some comments that I would find very helpful if I were a restaurant owner. Instead, the people providing them are attacked and dismissed for posting critiques anonymously online. Wake up! The internet has always been this way, always will. People will vote with their wallets. It’s common knowledge that you don’t send your food back at a restaurant, it’s safer to just suck it up and move on to another restaurant or try another night. Many people also understand that things don’t always go as planned and sometimes just let things pass without making a big deal about one less than stellar experience after many good ones.

  26. I am sad to see any neighborhood place go/small business unable to make it – especially one with such nice people behind it. King Creole was run by a good guy who made delicious gumbo…unfortunately I’m in the same camp with others weren’t willing to pay in the double digits for a bowl of take-out gumbo on any kind of regular basis. Sad for King Creole and the neighborhood that the economics of the business didn’t support $7 or $8 take-out gumbo…

  27. Well if you bught a five dollar bottle of wine and charged five bucks a glass wouldn’t that be enough? I’m no restaurant owner so maybe I’m missing something in the math here.

  28. Please, owners if you are reading this, many of your customers love your food…prices location set up etc…are always open to debate…one thing that we are ALL wanting to know is are you relocating to another area or just closing down for good???????? If someone knows this info, or knows that owners and they can post,,,please pass this along….thanks.