Smoked alligator in the twilight of Central Smoke, a Central District bar and smokery that closed eight days after this image was taken.
' article, "Is Seattle’s booming restaurant scene showing signs of slowing?" examines a spike in restaurant closures in 2019. What can it mean? Is Seattle experiencing a restaurant glut? Too many of them opened too quickly? If so, this would mean the market is presently self-correcting for a bout of investment exuberance that became irrational. In 2015, Seattle did not have enough restaurants for its booming economy, lots of entrepreneurs rushed in to meet the demand, the market rapidly became saturated, and now it is returning to a kind of equilibrium, a kind of sanity. Something of this story can also be found in the Capitol Hill Blog post
on the sudden closing of a really remarkable restaurant experiment called Central Smoke
This reading presents the market as a domain ruled by the unforgiving law of the survival of the fittest. But Seattle Times' food critic Bethany Jean Clement points primarily to the ever-increasing costs of living in this city—rent and utility bills are breaking the backs of businesses and customers alike. However this answer, which contains a great deal of truth and so should not be dismissed, must ultimately connect those rising costs with the boom in the tech economy, which commands a large number of high-paying jobs. But that reading, in essence, returns us to the logic of supply and demand, the law of market Darwinism. It has this story to tell: many restaurants opened to draw customers with large incomes, and at some point the number of tables in these businesses surpassed the number people who can regularly spend lots of money on meals. Meaning, again, the rise in closures is merely a market correction.
At this point, I want to offer another way of reading and narrating the current "market trend." Seattle, like San Francisco and Vancouver BC, has entered a stage of luxury urbanism that the Stanford professor Adrian Daub calls "second-wave gentrification."Continue reading »