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Hawks Nest Bar and Grill hit hard by COVID shutdown, robbery

Fans wave the 12th Man flag to celebrate Seattle Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVII during a parade on February 5, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

One of the owners of the Hawks Nest Bar and Grill in downtown Seattle near CenturyLink Field spoke to the Dori Monson Show in May, and expressed that the family-owned business would not probably not be able to open during Phase 2 because of the reopening restrictions. Plus, being so close to the stadiums means much of their business is dependent on sporting events, which are currently being played in empty stadiums.

Joe Piano, one of the other owners of Hawks Nest, had some more bad news to share this week.

“We had the Hawks Nest boarded up just because of the activity down there and just the transience and everything … it’s a dead zone down there. So we opened it up like last month to try and do some third-party online delivery services and stuff like that, but that really didn’t pan out,” Piano explained. “So we left. We didn’t board back up. And so last Wednesday, I went in and somebody jimmied open the door, broke in, took some merchandise, trashed the office, took some expensive point-of-sale computers and a bunch of liquor.”

Also stolen were a few signed Mariners jerseys and a lot of memorabilia from giveaways at games and other collectibles.

“Everything was just ransacked and trashed and, you know, bobbleheads taken, and anything they could get a hold of,” Piano said.

In addition, the family had recently canceled their insurance since they were unable to afford the rate while the shutdown continued.

“The insurance was around $1,500 a month, … and then when I contacted my agent, I was like, is there anything you could do? He said, no, … there’s really nothing you can do,” Piano added.

Between an insurance bill, internet, rent, and all the other necessary payments, Piano says it was “becoming insurmountable.”

The Hawks Nest has been open for nearly 14 years, Piano says, but he’s not giving up on the business.

“It’s disappointing because the SoDo area is kind of like the crown jewel of Seattle. You’ve got those two beautiful stadiums and all around it is just kind of falling apart,” Piano said. “I think the crime in conjunction with just the outrageous amount of taxes and fees that are just slammed on small businesses, especially restaurants, is to the point where it’s almost becoming … unsustainable.”

He’s worried about the rising costs of rent, taxes, wages, and unemployment rates, but said the family will kick in some of their own cash to keep the Hawks Nest open if they have to.

“I’ve got some good family and friends, and I was in the tech industry, so I’m getting back in there. My daughter, … she was a full-time owner as well, she’s in the mortgage business now, so she’s got a pretty good full time job. So we’re going to do our best to keep it open,” Piano said.

The family isn’t really looking, at this point, to turn a huge profit. They just want to remain part of the community.

“It’s just been such a valuable area for the community, I think, especially for the sporting events,” he said. “Like if you look on the GoFundMe page, that picture there was the morning of the Super Bowl that we won, and those guys were lined up … that was probably 6:30 or 7 in the morning. So it’s something I don’t want to give up. And we’re going to work really hard not to.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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