Tacoma Urbanist

Feb. 16, 2011 at 12:01am

Can the Sea Grill (space) on Pacific Avenue Be Resurrected?

Remember Sea Grill on Pacific Ave?





In the early early pioneer days of the Tacoma blogosphere, before FeedTacoma, Tacomamamma or other blogs, Exit 133 performed most of the online food reviews. Here is what Derek Young said about Sea Grill on February 25, 2006:


Was it worth it? We havent decided. The atmosphere sort of bothered us. The El Gaucho restaurants are so distinctive. This interior seemed prosaic, almost bank-like indicative of the Rainier Pacific Bank in which its located. It couldve been a restaurant at the Mall of America. If were going to drop some decent change on a night eating out, theres something about atmosphere that really matters to us. Maybe I simply prefer old buildings.

Hmm Well try it again sometime. In an odd end to the evening, we found ourselves trapped in the parking garage when the attendant stepped away shortly before we tried to leave. We sat there at the gate waiting and waiting A little sign in the window explained that theyd be back shortly.

It probably wasnt more than five minutes, but it felt like forever. As I said, we found the food impressive, but maybe not extraordinary. At some point, well be back again and will also try the new Pacific Grill across the street. Maybe we should try to find a few hole-in-the-wall cafes or diners first to save our pennies.


When restaurants fail in Tacoma, bloggers usually give their frank autopsy like diagnosis for the reasons for the failure as did Jake from Tacoma Untapped on Exit 133:


I personally dont think it was all the economy. There were flaws with Sea Grill. I have heard many people comment on the interior of the restaurant, how it looks like it should be in Miami or on a cruise ship. It just wasnt very warm, sexy, or inviting. The space doesnt seem like it was even designed for a restaurant.

You have to go out to the office building hallways to use the bathroom. The parking validation, and for that matter finding your way back to the parking garage was confusing. The restaurant should have been placed on Pacific Ave. Sea Grill just never really took off, period.


Sea Grill's closed on March 29, 2009 nearly two years ago.  I remember dining with the owner of Amocat Cafe on this night (which was packed).


Imminent Rise of Zara Mediterranean!!


Today, the Business examiner reports that Zara Mediterranean will soon open at the Sea Grill site:


Galazios Inc. plans to open a fine dining restaurant, Zara Mediterranean, in the former Sea Grill space in downtown Tacoma.

"There are a number of vacant restaurant locations, but this location seemed to be the best," said Chip Venzone, Zara's general manager. "We expect to be a destination restaurant."

Venzone, the former general manager of Pacific Grill, said that in addition to visitors, Zara will look to draw local residents and business professionals. The restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and a "generous" happy hour.

While details about the infrastructure are still being worked out, Venzone said the restaurant should end up having a Grecian feel and will be able to seat about 140 patrons in the dining room, 40 in the lounge and about 40 in the private dining area.




Despite Russell leaving downtown Tacoma, more people seem to be coming down at night to the grid to dine or play video games. Getting a table is a challenge now at decent restaurant on 6th, Proctor or downtown.  The Sea Grill space has unique "bar of the round" in Tacoma with striking views.

The layout of the space may lend itself to a more casual restaurant than Sea Grill as few happy hour patrons want to traverse a path of fancy white table cloth tables to get to the ever popular happy hour area.  Plus, although Sea Grill was always good, it seemed duplicative.

A lot of restaurant which are succeeding in Tacoma often follow failed restaurants.  The Tap Room. Hub and The Office are all successful and followed other restaurants which did the initial build out.

Now if something can open up soon in the adjacent abandoned Starbucks space.


comments [2]  |  posted under tacoma


by Erik on 2/16/2011 @ 12:36am
Sea Grill on Yelp:

OK, The Sea Grill has amazing seafood in a high class luxury environment and you pay for what you get, this is relatively well known...

What is not well known is that this gem has one of the best happy hour menus in Downtown Tacoma.

Right across from the Courtyard Marriott and the Convention Center enter through the side door and you are in the bar of the Sea Grill. The bar is round and has a great view. Premium Draft beers are half price and you can get a number of food items for $5.00.

My favorite is the Prosciutto and Gorgonzola Burger with Fries.... Absolutely Amazing .. and $5.00

The bartenders are all pretty chill, and very ... professional.


by Erik on 2/16/2011 @ 12:43am
Tribune on the closure of Sea Grill:

This is disappointing news for the Tacoma dining community. Sea Grill was one of the anchor restaurants in the revitalized Pacific Avenue "restaurant row."

I just finished writing a burger report for this Friday's GO section and TNT Diner, and I devoted ink to Sea Grill's prosciutto and Gorgonzola burger, and I had plans to write about their Happy Hour menu in April.

I rewrote the burger entry to read as an homage to what is (soon to be was) one of the best burgers in town. But you do still have until this weekend to enjoy the Sea Grill burger, so long as the restaurant keeps the regular menu until they close. I also give high marks for the bar's Happy Hour specials. It really is (was) one of the best deals in town.