Saying goodbye to Seattle’s beloved 13 Coins

The 24/7 dining institution is moving from South Lake Union to Pioneer Square, where it’ll be bigger and swankier, but it won’t be the same.

Nothing gold can stay, especially not in Seattle’s shiny new version of South Lake Union. After half a century of faithful 24/7 service, the end of this year brings the end of beloved dining institution 13 Coins. New Year’s Day of 2018 will be our last chance to stagger in after the bars close or the party’s over for a lifesaving Hangtown fry, or for brunch as late in the day as we damn well please. The building, which was owned by The Seattle Times Co. until 2011, is slated for redevelopment (of course).

13 Coins will be reborn in a new Pioneer Square location, opening Jan. 13, and owner Al Moscatel says everybody’s favorite retro design elements and dishes will be there (meanwhile, the SeaTac and Bellevue branches also carry on). The new 13 Coins will be bigger and swankier, with two bars on two levels and VIP booths. It may be great in its own right, but it won’t be the same — and it won’t be on the same block as The Seattle Times’ offices. It is right to mourn, and to celebrate, while we can.

There was a wait at the lunch hour one day last week, including one duo swiping at phones and talking about optimizing personalization, another with a patron using a cane. The Coins looks a little tarnished, with tears in the upholstery of the famously insulated, assignation-worthy booths and, at the long counter, an “out of service” sign on one high-backed, cushy swivel chair. But sinking into an in-service one is as marvelous as ever. Here you are the captain of your destiny, with the capacious, classic menu, the burnished lighting, and the warmth from the kitchen line providing timeless happiness. Look up: The owls carved into the wood are watching over you.

13 Coins

125 Boren Ave. N., Seattle, 206-682-2513; final day Jan. 1, 2018. Open 24 hours a day. Also in SeaTac and Bellevue, and, as of Jan. 13, 2018, Pioneer Square (

The choreography of the cooks and servers — consummate professionals of the old-school type — remains glorious to behold, with (controlled!) flames and gentle shouts and clanging metal bowls of big steak fries. Pasta gets twirled, quickly yet carefully, with tongs on a plate; presentation matters. I can personally recommend the drippy, substantial Reuben and the Hangtown fry with still-tender oysters and just the right…

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