Hit with first blackout in 71 years, Canlis breaks out the champagne and orders 100 Dick’s burgers
Famous for being one of Seattle’s premier fine dining restaurants, Canlis was forced to get creative this week after stormy weather knocked out its power for the first time since it opened in 1950.
As co-owner Brian Canlis described in a post on Facebook, the restaurant lost power shortly after 8 p.m. on Wednesday night. That included four private event spaces and a dining room suddenly lit only with tabletop candles. A hush then fell over a full house, broken only by Canlis’ in-house pianist, who “hadn’t missed a note” as he kept playing through the blackout.
With the kitchen having lost power as well, Canlis “did what any fine dining restaurant would do” in that situation.
“We passed Champagne, raised our glasses to being part of history together, and ordered a hundred Dick’s burgers,” Brian said. “Turns out, that’s not a bad way to spend an evening here.”
Canlis has been no stranger to outside-the-box solutions to big problems over the last year and a half, having operated as a breakfast bagel shed, a burger drive-thru, and a family meal delivery service when restaurants across Washington were shut down in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time, it was also holding virtual “Friday Night Bingo” sessions, where customers could participate by ordering a family meal or bottle service, or by simply sending in their name and address to receive a bingo card, free of charge. Canlis also streamed live piano performances on several nights throughout that period.
Then, in July 2020, it temporarily shifted its business model again, this time by converting itself into a fully outdoor crab shack, with tickets for the experience running a comparatively modest $59 a person (a typical four-course meal at Canlis starts at $165 a person).
After statewide capacity restrictions lifted over the summer, Canlis returned to normal operations, excepting this week’s short-lived power outage pivot.
Perhaps the champagne and Dick’s burger experience might stick around, though.
“New tradition?” Brian Canlis posited on Facebook.