After 37 years, longtime Ballard staple Louie’s Cuisine of China is closing, and I blame Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage! Although probably, its closure had something more to do with this:
The property was sold last month for $2.49 million, property records show.
In fact, restaurants and other businesses close all the time, and for all kinds of reasons:
Louie’s expected closure comes three months after the landmark Frontier Room, around since 1954, closed in Belltown. Last year the legendary Alki Tavern closed, and Funhouse music club was closed in 2012 to make way for a seven-story building near Seattle Center. Claire’s Pantry, a Lake City staple since 1974, closed in February 2013, and Piecora’s Pizza on Capitol Hill closed in April after 33 years.
In March 2010, the first restaurant in the Red Robin chain closed in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood.
Brace yourselves. In the coming years we’re going to hear all kinds of stories about businesses closing because they can’t afford to pay Seattle’s minimum wage. If $15 was already in effect, we’d be hearing it about some of the businesses above. But correlation is not causation, so you can cast all these anecdotes aside.
It will take a decade or more to truly suss out the impact of Seattle’s minimum wage by comparing local economic trends to both historical data, and to economic trends in other locations. But that won’t stop the scare stories from coming.