Cafe Racer is Closing This Week

Bid farewell to the University District institution on Wednesday.

By Michael Rietmulder


October 17, 2017

After struggling to stay afloat for the past year, Café Racer is closing. Owner Kurt Geissel announced yesterday in a Facebook post that Wednesday will be the beloved U District hangout’s last day.

“Lord knows the café has had it’s [sic] ups and downs but it has been 14 years of art and music and community,” he wrote. “No one can take that away from us.”

Geissel stated he could no longer keep the restaurant, which was popular among artists and musicians, running. Last November, Café Racer launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay off debt from refitting and repermitting the building, as well as make up for dwindling business during construction along Roosevelt Way Northeast. The campaign raised $33,000 (shy of its $50,000 goal). However, in March Geissel put Café Racer up for sale.

The cafe had been a neighborhood staple for 14 years, initially under the name Lucky Dog, hosting live music and art shows. In 2012, a regular patron shot and killed four people inside the cafe before killing another person in a downtown parking lot. Later that day the shooter killed himself before police could get to him. 

In his Facebook post on Monday, Geissel noted that the business is still for sale. But despite some interest, he’s been unable to find a buyer.

“I’m sorry. This is the last thing that I wanted to happen,” he wrote.

Read Geissel’s full post below.


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