On Friday, August 5, chef/owner Ericka Burke made a hard decision and quietly closed the doors of her one-year-old Chop Shop Cafe & Bar and Chop Shop Juice in Chophouse Row on Capitol Hill.
The decision comes after a year of struggling financially to get ahead on a project that was critically underfunded from the start. Burke’s Chop Shop is the anchor tenant of local developer Liz Dunn’s most recent mixed-use project. The gorgeous 2,800 square-foot space has lofted ceilings and exposed wood elements, brightened by Burke’s additions of botanical wallpaper and vintage art and collectibles.
“Liz has been such a great support through all of this,” says Burke. “From the get-go, she has been there with sage advice and friendship. I am so grateful to her and my group of investors for giving me this opportunity.”
The growth of the neighborhood and the construction on 11th Avenue left the street right in front of Chop Shop closed for the most of the last year, making foot traffic almost non-existent.
“Sadly, I think it was mostly bad timing,” says Burke. “ Evenings were nice and busy, but I took on more space in the building than I had originally planned to, and the lack of street visibility during the day was hard and we just couldn’t catch up. In hindsight, I also should have put the juice bar in a more accessible location.”
Burke says she’s deeply disappointed, of course, but she’s thankful to all that devoted their time and energy to making Chop Shop as great as it was.
“I had such big dreams for Chop Shop, and my sincere thanks go out to all of my wonderful staff that helped make it happen,” says Burke.
Burke plans to focus her energy of her first spot, Volunteer Park Cafe, which will celebrate 10 years on North Capitol Hill in January. She also plans to spend a lot of quality time with her young son. It’s been a very busy and intense couple of years.
Chop Shop Cafe & Bar is located at 1424 11th Avenue in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.