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The Green Lake Grill: A history

What do you think? (13 Comments) April 25, 2010 at 7:10PM

We received the following query from My Green Lake reader Victoria:

I grew up in the green lake area. I am looking for any information on the history of the old Green Lake Grill, that was run in the 1960′s and 70′s by two women who were twins.

It occupied the same space on Greenlake Way as the current Greenlake Bar and Grill.

I spent many an afternoon with friends after school eating burgers there and I have always remembered the two women who ran it.

We’re always happy to tackle your questions about Green Lake – thanks for reaching out, Victoria!

The current Greenlake Bar & Grill is located at 7200 E Green Lake Drive N.

The restaurant’s website offers a little bit of history:

This beautiful lake side location has been home to a number of eateries including two other Greenlake Grills, neither one being associated with the current Bar & Grill. The original opening date was October 20th of 2000. Since then the restaurant has flourished, becoming an exciting addition to the Greenlake environment.

Green Lake Grill #1

Chronicles of Strobo offers the following tidbit about “Old Greenlake”:

[...] back when the Greenlake Grill was run by Vaudevillians Claire and Bernice Richardson, [...] the Richardson Twins [...] were definitely worth knowing.

Vaudevillians?  Sounds like the “Dancing Champions” mentioned in a January 10, 1929 Seattle Daily Times article:

Dancing Champions
The Richardson twins, Bernice and Clarice, will be members of a dancing ensemble that will present a sports pageant next Saturday evening at 11 o’clock at the Fifth Avenue Theatre.  It is being staged by the Seattle Lacrosse and Queen Anne Clubs.

The twins’ mother, Katie Richardson, passed away in 1959.   Her obituary lists her address as 7721 Sunnyside Ave, six blocks from the current Greenlake Bar and Grill.

The first mention of the original Green Lake Grill that I can find is in the June 17, 1952 classifieds section of the Seattle Daily Times.  A listing under “WOMEN WANTED” reads: WAITRESS.  days.  Green Lake Grill.  300 East 72nd.  Apply in person.

The current Greenlake Bar and Grill is located at 7200 E Green Lake Drive N … which a google maps search reveals to be at the same location as 300 NE 72nd St.

Green Lake Grill #2

This was before my time in Green Lake, but many readers may remember Chef Karl Beckley‘s Green Lake Grill, which opened in 1979.

It sounds like Beckley’s Green Lake Grill was a special place.  A January 19, 1990 Seattle Times article declares that, with the closing of Green Lake Grill, “the ’80s are really over.”

The Green Lake Grill [...] was almost a local microcosm of 1980s restaurant themes and trends:

Some nouvelle cuisine, a mix of regionalism tossed with fresh-fresh-fresh, a touch of California cuisine, an imaginative chef with a deep streak of maverick . . .

Very “Now.” Very “Then.” Very closed. Farewell Corn and Oyster Pancakes.

Beckley’s Green Lake Grill was immortalized in the 1986 novel Blood of the Albatross, by Ridley Pearson:

The Greenlake Grill had an oak bar separated from the dining area by a partician.  The decor was art deco and spare: black and white checkerboard floor tile, white linen tablecloths, wicker-and-stainless-steel chairs, a few healthy well-placed plants relieving the starkness with splashes of lush green.

She parked across from the restaurant in the parking lot of a Baskin-Robbins.  Once under the awninged portico of the Greenlake Grill, she collapsed her umbrella.  The maitre d’, an acne-scarred man with gentle eyes, escorted Marlene into the bar.  [...]  Her hair curled under, the left side clipped back.  Her lips were a soft, wet, glossy red; her eyes, a brilliant green.  The gardenia pinned above her breast emitted a faint perfume.

A bit of digging indicates that, in 1987, the second Green Lake Grill moved from 7200 E Green Lake Drive N to 7858 Green Lake Dr N, the current location of Duke’s Chowder House.  By 1989, 7200 E Green Lake Drive N was occupied by a Thai restaurant, the Lemon Grass Bar and Grill (Source: Seattle Times, pg. C1, May 24, 1989).  As late as January 2000, it was the location of Zi Pani Cafe.

And, then, in October 2000, the current Greenlake Bar & Grill landed at 7200 E Green Lake Drive N.

There you have it: Green Lake’s three grills.

Can you fill in the story a bit?  I would love to hear from My Green Lake readers who remember the Green Lake Grills of past.  Share your memories.

Update – Monday, April 26, 2010: Thank you to commenters Nina and latonamom for alerting us to another business that once occupied 7200 E Green Lake Drive N: Bruegger’s Fresh Bagel Bakery.

Bruegger’s opened in September 1994, following the closing of the Lemon Grass Restaurant. Bruegger’s eventually changed its name to Zi Pani, and was the last restaurant in place before the current Greenlake Bar & Grill opened in 2000.

IMG_0245
Creative Commons License photo credit: jwalsh

The Green Lake Bar & Grill, 2007

13 Responses to “The Green Lake Grill: A history”

  1. seattler0cks says:

    Another nice piece on our local history, Amy. However, this was just too much to pass up . . . long before people were eating cows on that corner, they were raising them:

    http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en

    http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm-ayp/item_

  2. Amy Duncan says:

    Ha! Love it. Thanks, seattler0cks!

  3. Nina says:

    I think it was also a Bruegger's Bagels.

  4. latonamom says:

    It was a bagel shop in 1995 for sure. I think that closed by 1998 or 1999?

  5. Amy Duncan says:

    Thank you, Nina and latonamom! You are absolutely correct – there was a Bruegger's Bagels at this location for several years in the 1990s. I've updated the post.

  6. Victoria says:

    Thank you so much to everyone that contributed information about the old Greenlake Grill and the twins who worked there.
    I am truly grateful!

  7. wh344 says:

    The Greenlake Grill was the awesome place to eat a wonderful lunch before going to work. I'm glad I saved his business card so that I could remember the fabulous small entree's and the desserts he served. This was during the '80's, when I was finally earning a decent wage & had income from multiple sources. Really overheated the ol' credit card, but my money market fund was earning 15%. Karl Beckley was a true culinary genius.

  8. Nelda says:

    When we moved to Sunnyside in 1982, Claire and Bern were in good health and they invited my husband and me to their annual Christmas party. The guests were mostly neighbors who had gathered there for years, and many were in their late 70's and 80's. The moment we stepped in the door, we realized that our casual attire was a big mistake. Women literally wore gowns for that party, and no one out-dressed Claire and Bern (who were almost as wide as they were tall by that time). They held court for hours, sharing funny stories and amazing albums filled with photos from their dancing days.

  9. Amy Duncan says:

    Nelda – what a fabulous recollection! Thank you so much for sharing it. -amy

  10. wh344 says:

    The Greenlake Grill was the awesome place to eat a wonderful lunch before going to work. I'm glad I saved his business card so that I could remember the fabulous small entree's and the desserts he served. This was during the '80's, when I was finally earning a decent wage & had income from multiple sources. Really overheated the ol' credit card, but my money market fund was earning 15%. Karl Beckley was a true culinary genius.

  11. Nelda says:

    When we moved to Sunnyside in 1982, Claire and Bern were in good health and they invited my husband and me to their annual Christmas party. The guests were mostly neighbors who had gathered there for years, and many were in their late 70's and 80's. The moment we stepped in the door, we realized that our casual attire was a big mistake. Women literally wore gowns for that party, and no one out-dressed Claire and Bern (who were almost as wide as they were tall by that time). They held court for hours, sharing funny stories and amazing albums filled with photos from their dancing days.

  12. Amy Duncan says:

    Nelda – what a fabulous recollection! Thank you so much for sharing it. -amy

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