According to a post from our news partners The Seattle Times, experimental Ballard restaurant Belle Clementine (5451 Leary Ave NW) will be closing its doors for good on February 8. Owner David Sanford is reportedly heading to California to take a position as chief of staff for co-founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman.
Belle Clementine opened back in December 2011 and quickly became a Ballard favorite by bringing the community together through communal dining. Sanford opened the restaurant with a family feel in mind, “I want it to feel approachable, like eating at a friend’s house,” Sanford told Jessica Voelker of Seattle Met when Belle Clementine opened. Even the restaurant’s name incorporates the importance of family, being the namesake of Sanford’s grandmother.
The meal-by-subscription restaurant is unique in many ways and features seasonal multi-course meals for the entire family to enjoy. Regular subscriptions at Belle Clementine operate like season tickets to the symphony or a sports team. Guests purchase a package of meals that can be used throughout the year, which includes some special pricing and perks, such as a no-tipping policy, 15 percent off bottles of wine, invitations to subscriber-only events and preferred booking.
Seattle Times writer Rebekah Denn reports that Sanford is currently working on selling in the business, “though it almost certainly wouldn’t continue under the current setup.” Sanford spoke to Denn and told her that “there are plenty of great folks out here that can do great things, and I hope one of those things happens in that space.”
Sanford is reportedly very sad to be leaving but is appreciative of how community interaction has been fostered through the communal dining setting that is so unique to Belle Clementine.
Sanford told Denn that “it’s been wonderful getting to know people at a level that, I think, is unusual for most restaurant operations. It’s more than a transaction, it really is an opportunity to share a meal together and host them essentially in our home.”
The final meal will grace the tables of Belle Clementine on February 8. Reservations for evenings up until the closure are available on their website.
Photo courtesy of Belle Clementine.