‘My heart sank’: Green Lake restaurant burglarized for 4th time in a few years

SEATTLE — The owners of the Green Lake-based restaurant, ‘Eight Row,’ are recovering – again— after their small business was burglarized for the fourth in a few years, the co-owner said.

“This was by far the worst one,” said Director of the hospitality at ‘Eight Row,’ Kate Nichols.

‘Eight Row’ is located on Woodlawn Avenue.

Police told KIRO 7 that the burglary happened in the early morning hours on Friday, November 10.

Two thieves shattered the front window, leaving the front entrance littered with pieces of glass.

“They had this tool that shattered this window, very quietly,” said Janice DeWitt, beverage manager at ‘Eight Row.’

The thieves knew what they were doing, Nichols said, and went straight for the most expensive items, including the safe, computers, kitchen equipment, cash, and kitchen knives.

“A lot of these handcrafted Japanese crafted knives, they can be over upward $500 plus,” DeWitt said.

The burglary will cost the owners around $50,000, including the increase in costs from their insurance company, said Nichols.

“It’s just one more thing (increased deductible) to add to the expenses and the loss of feeling safe,” Kate Nichols said.

“It’s too bad we know so many people who can fix broken windows because it’s happening so much,” said David Nichols. “It’s part of the business right now. That’s what we kind of have gotten from the police. It’s like, it’s hard to run a business right now in Seattle. That shouldn’t be the case. You should be able to run a business without the fear of being broken into and vandalized. "

The thieves also stole an item that was priceless – the workers’ feeling of safety.

“Then your heart sinks and goes all the way down of just like how is this happening? And then it sinks even further down because you start to realize all of the other people it’s going to affect. It’s not just me and David. It’s not just our family for the day. It’s our employees. It’s our employee’s families. It’s the guest list from a weekend, of hey, we can’t serve you dinner tonight. Hey, it’s your birthday? It doesn’t matter, you don’t get your birthday dinner tonight,” said Kate Nichols.

The owners are working to keep their business afloat following the several break-ins, while they navigate other external challenges - high inflation, supply chain issues, etc. - that significantly affect small businesses.

“In order to do those super basic things (provide employee benefits and fair wages), because of rising costs, because of losses from thefts, those kinds of things, that we’re having to raise the prices, and raise the fees. It sucks,” Kate Nichols explained.

KIRO 7 also spoke with Janice DeWitt, beverage manager of ‘Eight Row,’ to understand how the burglary affected the restaurant’s staff.

“Having somebody come in to break into our restaurant, it’s like breaking into our home,” said DeWitt.

The burglary forced the restaurant to close on Friday, which is one of the busiest days for the restaurant.

“It impacts us immensely as far as what we are able to make that week and how we’re going to be able to support ourselves outside,” DeWitt said. “A lot of us live paycheck to paycheck. Having close to half of your paycheck of that week, per se, week’s worth of pay being taken out, affects us being able to make ends meet.”

Seattle police told KIRO 7 that officers are still searching for the suspects.

We requested surveillance footage from Green Lake Village, the company that owns the plaza where ‘Eight Row’ is located, to get a better picture of both suspects and what had happened.

Management declined our request and referred us to the Seattle Police Department.

If you have any information that can help police find the suspects, you’re asked to call Seattle Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

A close friend created a GoFundMe to help the restaurant and its staff members during this difficult time. If you’d like to support them, please click here.