Business partners and day-to-day operators of The Bridge bar and restaurant pose in front of their new location coming this fall: the old Chuck and Sally's Tavern building in the Morgan Junction. From left to right, Ahmed Almukhtar, Rita Dixson, Jenny Almukhtar and Trevor Garand.
UPDATE 2: Dormant Chuck and Sally’s Tavern coming back to life as The Bridge; First looks at the new design
The Bridge will take part in the Morgan Junction Community Festival, June 22
Update 2 June 21
The Bridge has shared an early iteration of their re-design for the old Chuck and Sally’s Tavern building in the Morgan Junction.
Showing the building from the California Ave. S.W. side, the redesign exhibits sidewalk seating and a maximization of windows to let that natural light shine on in. The Bridge’s current location at the corner of 35th and Avalon Way, while praised for the way the inside turned out after a revamp, still lacks in the window department.
These images are not the final renderings, but show the direction the revised building will take, according to The Bridge co-owner Rita Dixson.
Here's the look during the day.
And what the new Bridge might look like at night.
Update for June 12
Deb Barker, president of the Morgan Community Association, shared her take on The Bridge taking over the Chuck and Sally's Tavern building in the Morgan Junction. Here's what she had to say:
"The Morgan Community Association (MoCA) is always glad to have new businesses coming into Morgan Junction and we know that residents always enjoy new dining options. This is an important corner location in Morgan Junction and we know that The Bridge will provide a well-known vibrancy.
"In addition we’re excited to announce that although they will still be under construction, The Bridge will participate in the June 22, 2013 Morgan Junction Community Festival by hosting a 'Cornhole Derby' in their new parking lot off of S.W. Graham Street. They also plan to hand out coupons for the existing and new The Bridge, according to owner Rita Dixson.
"The Bridge will be a welcome addition to Morgan Junction."
Six years of closure have taken their toll on the façade of the old Chuck and Sally’s Tavern building on the north end of Morgan Junction along California Ave. S.W., with soiled paint, the occasional marring of graffiti and windows frosted by time and dust, rather than holiday snow sprayed from a can.
In what is starting to look like a trend, the owners of The Bridge bar and restaurant at Avalon and 35th are packing up in the coming months and moving in to Chuck and Sally’s, with plans to revitalize the building just as they did with the dilapidated ex-Redline. This time, however, they hope to stay for good.
If all goes as planned, The Bridge partners and longtime West Seattle service industry gurus Rita Dixson, Trevor Garand and husband-wife culinary team Jenny and Ahmed Almukhtar (who just came on as partners) will be moving into the Morgan Junction in late October to early November.
Fully aware of what season that represents, Garand said their plan is to pull the move off in only a few days, in between all-important Seahawk games.
Dixson and Garand said the decision is hinged primarily upon their understanding that the current lot at Avalon and 35th is primed for mixed-use apartment development and, although there are no specific plans they know of yet, they wanted to find a long-term location – both for the sake of the business and the stability of their employees.
“We don’t even want to play with it,” Dixson said of the development guessing game. “We’re just going to go someplace that has a long lease for us and make a home out of it.”
The Bridge crew is keeping most of their Chuck and Sally revamp plans under wraps for now, but Dixson’s preview included basic repairs to the building, a centrally-located circular to horshoe-shaped bar, outdoor seating and opening up windows for oodles of natural light (a far cry from their current location).
They will likely keep the name the same, based on the brand they’ve built and loyal customer following already in place, but Dixson said there could be slight logo changes.
For those who enjoyed Chuck and Sally’s during its run and have a nostalgic connection, good news, then, that they plan to bring the iconic (if a bit weathered) tavern sign indoors to keep it on display.
Live music is out, however, as Dixson said, “We want to be good neighbors.”
Fan favorite menu items will continue on (burgers and bacon-wrapped dates were mentioned), but husband and wife chefs Jenny and Ahmed Alnukhtar said they plan to experiment and expand at the new location.
“I think we are going to find some other fun stuff to play around with and have an opportunity for people to come in and check us out for the first time,” Ahmed said.
When we met with the owners at the Morgan Starbuck’s they were busy brainstorming new ideas for their brunch menu, so know brunch is coming to the Junction.
The biggest challenge Dixson and Garand met in opening The Bridge was overcoming the stigma of their location. Luckily, they said, they were able to do just that.
“We have been in the service industry in the West Seattle area, all of us, for so long that we’ve touched hands with so many people who gave us a shot and then word of mouth – that’s why I love West Seattle so much - the word of mouth just kept us afloat when a lot of people were hitting hard times in this industry,” Dixson said.
Their goal in becoming business owners when The Bridge opened two and a half years ago was to create a neighborhood bar with “good food, good service” where the staff works hard to remember customers' names and say hello to everyone who walks in the door. They believe that philosophy has paid off, and it’s well evidenced by their financial ability to move over to the Morgan Junction.
Now they have a neighborhood to go along with the concept.
“We are going to have neighbors!,” Dixson exclaimed. “We are so excited to become part of the Morgan Junction.”
Garand said he is also looking forward to joining the Morgan food and bar scene already in place, with Zeek’s Pizza, Feedback Lounge and Beveridge Place(to name a few) just down the road.
Matt Johnson with Feedback shared that sentiment in a blog post on their website, stating, “Trevor and Rita are great people, and we’re looking forward to having them in the neighborhood.”
While it might be hard to find a Morgan Junction resident against the revival of a gathering spot at Chuck and Sally’s, there may be concerns about parking spilling over into the neighborhood streets with another coming in.
Dixson said their parking lot will hold 18 vehicles and a RapidRide bus stop just down the road will help, but they are also considering the possibility of working with other business owners to buy a lot collectively and create 3-hour parking, similar to the Alaska Junction.
If people have overindulged, she said they want to make sure customers have the option to leave their car overnight and let someone else do the driving.
As the new owners stood below the Chuck and Sally’s Tavern sign and a building on the precipice of major changes, Garand said “I think with the history behind Chuck and Sally’s too, with so many people who used to go there, who’s parents used to go there, everyone is like, ‘Wow, I wonder what it’s going to be like now.’”
For a sneak preview, you could always visit The Bridge at their current location. Just imagine more windows.