After more than a decade selling burgers in Mountlake Terrace, local restaurateur and former City Councilmember Seaun Richards has closed 44th Street Sliders, formerly Red Onion Burger (and briefly Red Onion Cafe and Seafood Bar).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people are venturing out to eat, and Richards said that staying open just isn’t an option anymore.
“There were days I was doing less than $50 a day (in sales) and at some point, you know enough is enough,” he said.
Prior to Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, Richards said 44th Street Sliders was already in a precarious position. The restaurant had just undergone its second rebranding in a year, having first transitioned from offering burgers to a cafe and seafood bar before returning to selling burgers.
“It’s been a tough year anyway and (COVID-19) didn’t help at all,” he said. “My business was down 90%.”
Richards has been in the restaurant business for 27 years. Before opening Red Onion Burgers, Richards owned two restaurants in Edmonds — Richards, a waterfront seafood restaurant, and 5th Avenue Grill House.
In 2009, Richards opened his first Red Onion Burger restaurant, which was located on 56th Avenue West in Mountlake Terrace. Following a building fire in 2012, he moved the restaurant to 44th Avenue West.
Now, after nearly three decades of owning restaurants, Richards said he’s looking to try something new.
“I’ve been offered a couple other restaurants, but I’m done with the restaurant business,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for 27 and I’m looking for another opportunity right now.”
Richards said he’s exploring online businesses, which he said have experienced a recent boom as many people have turned to online shopping while following health officials’ guidance to stay home.
Though his restaurant is now closed, Richards said his Cheeseburger Babies Foundation will continue to support local events like Mountlake Terrace Easter Egg Hunt, the annual 3rd of July Fireworks Show and the Snohomish County Shop-with-a-Cop and First Responders holiday event.
“I still plan on being involved, but for now I’m taking that 30 days off and assessing what’s going to be the next step,” he said.
–By Cody Sexton