Belltown Exodus

Condo booms and busts. Yuppies and crackheads. Belltown’s polar tendencies have a way of driving restaurants in and out in waves. While some outposts hold their ground despite the neighborhood’s constant flux, others, like these gems, are dropping anchor elsewhere.

World Pizza
This beloved establishment bailed on Belltown back in 1996, having served countless pies to rock ’n’ rollers breezing in and out of the late Sit-n-Spin and the old Crocodile. Fifteen years later, brothers Adam Cone and Aaron Crosleycone are open for business again—with the same oven—this time in the International District. The new spot is vegetarian, but it still serves some of the old-time faves, including the roasted potato pizza that long ago captured the hearts of many passionate fans. They also have a crazy-cheap happy hour that involves a hearty, delicious slice for $2.

The original Marjorie oozed charm from its tiny quarters on Second Avenue, its summertime patio swelling in an almost European evening repose. Owner Donna Moodie reinvented the restaurant on Capitol Hill, and Paul Hyman is the now chef, by way of Louisiana, New York and Boston. The new, colorful space seats only 40 and hooks patrons with its unusual décor, a sweeping wine collection, fancy cocktails (Appleton Estate V/X rum and fresh coconut water with ginger and lime, anyone?) and a menu bursting with very specifically sourced ingredients, such as Murray River salt, Hudson Valley duck breast and Anson Mills grits. The remake lives up to the original.

Restaurant Zoë
Used to be that foodies in this town called Zoë their favorite among the Belltown bistros, with its classy-but-easy vibe and just the right dash of pretention. All was humming along when Zoë’s owners planted a major stake at the epicenter of Capitol Hill nightlife, opening Quinn’s and its sister private-event space, Sole Repair, in 2008. A few years later, having found much success in their Capitol Hill endeavors, owners Scott and Heather Staples announced that Zoë was moving to higher ground, due to open in January on the very same corner as Marjorie, in the Oola Distillery Building.

Illustration by Tom Dougherty