Photo: Seattle Public Library

Seattle has always had a strong attachment to our restaurants. From 1897 to 1898, thousands of migrants traveled through Seattle on their way to the Klondike goldfields of Alaska. Many families who struck it rich opened restaurants in Seattle and found great success for generations. Menus and clientele have changed over the years, but some of Seattle’s historic restaurants are still here. Let’s take a look back at some of Seattle’s old food joints and watering holes.

Outrigger Restaurant – 1958

Photo: Seattle Public Library

Created by Trader Vic for the Benjamin Franklin Hotel in 1948, the Outrigger Restaurant was located on Fifth Avenue between Virginia and Stewart Street. The menu featured exotic items like ostrich meat and Tahitian cocktails served by costumed waiters. The Outrigger served up good times until it closed in 1992.

Four Winds Restaurant – 1950

Photo: Seattle Public Library

According to Seattle’s Historic Restaurants, Moultray’s Four Winds Restaurant was originally a ferry boat. The owners converted it into a pirate-themed restaurant at 900 Westlake Avenue North and served up delicacies including frog legs, lobsters and a “cannonball drink.” Waiters in pirate costumes (of course) ran the place to the delight of adventurous locals.

Moscow Restaurant – 1953

Photo: Seattle Public Library

According to Paul Dorpat, for more than 35 years the Moscow Restaurant was a fixture for the Russian-American community that settled on the western slope of Capitol Hill. It opened in 1923, serving borscht, beef stroganoff, jellied pigs’ feet, Turkish coffee and Russian pancakes. In 1958, the construction of the I-5 freeway unfortunately put them out of business.

Canlis Charcoal Broiler – 1953

Photo: Seattle Public Library

In 1949, Canlis became the most expensive restaurant built in Seattle in 30 years. Greek-born founder Peter Canlis favored eastern influences, hiring a staff of exclusively Japanese women and dressing them in kimonos. Canlis still stands today, winning many James Beard awards and featuring a modern chef.

Crawford’s Sea Grill and Coral Room – 1953

Photo: Seattle Public Library

During the 1940s and 1950s, Nick Zanides bought and ran Crawford’s Sea Grill, a beloved Seattle restaurant. Zanides got his start working as a waiter at the Fairmont after immigrating from Turkey, where his family experienced extreme hardship. When he struck out on his own and bought Crawford’s, he renovated the place with a new coral mural, new lighting and copper wallpaper.

Ivar’s at Occidental and Washington – 1958

Photo: Seattle Public Library

Ivar Haglund was best known as a folksinger until he established Seattle’s first aquarium at Pier 54, along with a fish-and-chips stand in 1938. In 1946, Ivar opened the renowned “Acres of Clams” restaurant. Ivar went on to have a career in radio and a recurring role as First Mate Salty on a children’s TV program. Even today, Ivar’s fish restaurants are still a great place to eat seafood in Seattle.

Steve’s Gay Nineties Restaurant – 1979

Photo: Seattle Public Library

Originally opened in 1941 as Steve’s Cafe, the restaurant name was updated to match its eccentric decor. Steve’s Gay Nineties featured can-can girls, tables decorated to look like “surrey’s with the fringe on top” and a San Francisco cable car to transport tourists to the restaurant.

Gasperetti’s Roma Cafe – 1963

Photo: Seattle Public Library

Gasperetti’s Roma Cafe, which closed its doors in 1981, was an Italian restaurant owned by two brothers and run by the family. The spot was known for attracting baseball players. Baseball greats Yogi Berra, Elston Howard and Carl Yastrzemski all ate at Mr. Gasperetti’s when they came to town.

Clark’s Twin T-P Restaurant – 1954

Photo: Seattle Public Library

Built in 1937, the teepees were designed to attract passing drivers on Aurora Avenue in Greenlake. In 2001, a stray cigarette lit the place on fire, damaging the basement. The owner planned to reopen after repairs, but before he could do so, the city demolished the building without notice.

The Rendezvous Restaurant – 1979

Photo: Seattle Public Library

The Rendezvous, which featured a screening room, restaurant and basement speakeasy, was opened by B.F. Shearer in 1927 in the midst of Prohibition. Later converted into a porn movie theater and a dive bar, the space has seen many iterations. In the 1960s, the basement was converted into a card room where Jimmy Durante often gambled. The city shut it down. It was bought by new owners in 2002 and restored to its original 1927 condition. The place lives on today featuring movies, theater and Burlesque.

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