by Ronnie Estoque
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country abruptly in March of last year, many worried what the impact on local small businesses would be.
Small businesses in South Seattle had to adjust and pivot their business models to weather the brunt of the pandemic, and many of them found unwavering support from the local community.
Continue reading Community Rallies Behind Local Business Owners
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Baja Bistro is coming back. For almost 25 years it was North Beacon Hill’s longest-running neighborhood Mexican restaurant — and eventually became its one and only gay bar. But Baja was forced to close last summer during the pandemic. Now they’ve secured a new location: the ground floor of the new Colina Apartments. “The ball is rolling,” said owner Oscar Castro.
Continue reading Mexican American Family Restaurant — and Only Gay Bar on Beacon Hill — Making a Comeback
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Family-owned Beacon Hill restaurants Baja Bistro and Kusina Filipina were known for more than just their delicious, authentic recipes. Their customers and neighbors were welcomed like family when they came to dine. That was partly why the loss of both restaurants was so painful. After a change in building ownership led to a rent hike, the Paraiso family closed Kusina in 2017, and Baja shuttered after 25 years in 2020 due to the pandemic. The closures also reflected the decades-long trend of displacement and gentrification in Seattle. With the support of the Beacon Business Alliance (BBA) and a community-minded developer, these two legacy restaurants are planning to reopen in the same neighborhood they were previously forced out of.
Baja and CheBogz — the latter is owned by Paraiso family sisters Trixia and Paula — are returning to Beacon Hill, splitting a storefront space in the new Colina Apartments.
“It’s almost kind of like a fairy-tale story for People of Color,” Trixia said when reflecting on moving the restaurant back to Beacon Hill. “You don’t really get this opportunity to have a landlord say, ‘We want you guys here so that we can keep this community as diverse as it was before.’”
Continue reading Beacon Hill Restaurants Baja Bistro and CheBogz to Reopen at Colina Apartments