Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Last Words

I don't really know where to start. I guess the best place is to convey my deep sense of gratitude to my friends and family. I really appreciate all of your support through the lean first couple years and the busy last couple. I wouldn't have been able to be creative and do something that I truly love without all of your support through kind words, patience, and frankly, patronage.

I know that a lot of people think that the bar is stuffy, pretentious, or the spearhead of gentrification in a neighborhood that I love, but for me it was at its heart just a neighborhood bar. I tried (with varying degrees of success) to create a place that I would feel comfortable coming into after a day working in the yard or taking a date out on a Friday night. It has been a privilege to build something and share it with all of you. I can't express how much it has meant to me that so many people have shared so much of their lives with us – from the parents who had a sitter and grabbed a quick snack and a cocktail to the young man who proposed to his girlfriend out front. It has been fantastic that the bar was the local spot for everyone from the barbers next door to professors at UWT and Puget Sound.

I'm not going to get into details about what happened Monday morning other than to say that they terminated my position, after which I told them that it would be a good idea to dissolve our business relationship. The majority of my equity in the bar was in a handshake agreement which they told me they had no intention of honoring. When I asked them to buy out the equity that is in writing, they offered a small amount in return for me signing a non-disclosure agreement. I declined the offer, they threatened with having my reputation in the community destroyed, and at that point I promptly left.

I don't know what is going to happen to the bar, but it can't and won't be the same because the owners don't share my values. I would be shocked if they continued to work with local farmers and vendors or if they sourced ingredients based on quality and not profit margin. Who knows, maybe it will end up fantastic, but it definitely won't be the same.

My new project Hilltop Kitchen is still in the works with a friend and different business partner. It should be open in about a month or so. We are very excited to see all of you and to get the chance to serve you food and drinks again. You can follow our progress or get in touch through all of the usual social media.

Thank you so much to Katy for being awesome. Thank you so much to Corey, Cynthia, Jena, and everyone else who works or has worked at the bar. It has truly been an honor to work with all of you. You are my surrogate family and are the kindest, funniest, most generous and creative group of people I could have ever asked for. Thank you.


  1. Chris, I'm so sorry this has happened to you too. It looks as though Neil and Richard have worked their magic yet again. Good luck with Hilltop Kitchen. Remember, the best partners are the ones you marry.
    Also, I think your future will be brighter without predatory entrepreneurs. So interesting to hear about the ever popular gag order - it sounds familiar.

  2. Major bummer for all parties involved. I'm just a random guy. I don't know you or your business partners or the whole story. But it is clear to this random guy that Tacoma has unfortunately lost a gem and an instant classic. I've had many memorable conversations at 1022. It was part of my life and a part of my "special occasion" itinerary for out of town guests just as it has been for a thousand other people. 1022s closure is Tacoma's loss. Of course I'll check out HK and I hope for the best as a citizen of Tacoma. But HKs opening and 1022s closure does not offset each other. Tacoma has lost a piece if itself and that is truly unfortunate for all.

  3. As a member of T-Town community, I look forward to supporting you in your new endeavor at the Hilltop Kitchen. Bad endings can lead to great new beginnings!