I went to the Eastlake Red Robin one last time yesterday with my cousin who is visiting from Korea. I wanted to show him a delicious burger and fries, and also introduce him to a bit of UW. Red Robin has always been a college staple – it was where I went for my going away dinner before I went to Paris for a semester, I celebrated my 21st and 25th birthday there, as well as other friends birthdays, sorority dinners, and it was the perfect place for a summer date on the patio, even if your date was a d-bag. But I digress. Even though 3/5 times the service was terrible, I continued to go back. Something about the gorgeous view of UW as well as the kooky, high bird painted on the wall was addicting.
You can read about the restaurant closing and a quick blurb about the history here. Red Robin began as a Sam’s Tavern (because really, UW could never have enough bars/taverns) in the 1940s. The owner Sam was a member of a barber shop quartet and loved to sing “when a red robin goes bob bob bobbin’ along…” Hence where “Red Robin” comes from. In 1973 Red Robin expanded to more than just a tavern, introducing the Red Robin Gourmet Cheeseburger, the Red Robin Bacon Cheeseburger and the Royal Red Robin Burger™, which is crowned with fresh fried egg. And the magic is made. You can read further into their history here.
I’m really disappointed the company doesn’t do SOMETHING to keep their original store open. Maybe this is what happens when a company goes public. Remind me if I ever own a cafe, to not get large and go public. No offense to everyone, but I don’t want the public to dictate whether I stay open or not! Unless my food is just THAT terrible. It’s a shame though, when we went yesterday the restaurant was crowded and there was a constant wait for tables. It was so delicious though, and the server was great. It was a good memory to go out on!
As always, I ordered a basket of fries to munch on while we waited for our burgers, it was definitely a good call as we had to wait awhile for our burgers.
I went with the turkey burger and added jalapenos, mushrooms, red onion, and minus the mayo. I usually get the 5 Alarm burger with turkey no mayo and salsa. And of course, I had to do ranch with the fries. I don’t think there’s any other way to go. Ketchup and honey mustard are good.. But ranch is FTW! I’m really glad I made it in before it closed. I overheard a gentleman speaking to the manager about what they were going to do with it after, and he was interested in turning it into a bar. I hope it stays a bar/restaurant. It has the most gorgeous view and is in a great location. Besides Red Robin, Ivars and Aqua Verde, there’s not much else on the Lake Union/Washington connection! Hopefully whatever it turns into, it will continue to have the same enthusiasm and fun as Red Robin. Thanks for all the memories, Dirty Bird!