Chef John Howie Celebrates 20 Years of Seastar Restaurant
On March 11, Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar is celebrating 20 years of business in Downtown Bellevue. Starting next Friday, they’re bringing back iconic menu items, offering a 20% discount, and unveiling new photos on the walls recognizing the people and events that kept the restaurant open. Chef John Howie, owner of Seastar, said he feels tremendous gratitude for everyone who helped them survive the pandemic.
“Without the support of generous guests and my hard-working employees, we wouldn’t have made it,” he said.
Their 20th anniversary also celebrates two decades of supporting the Downtown Bellevue community. Giving back is ingrained in Seastar's traditions.
Every Thanksgiving, with the exception of the last two years, Howie closes the restaurant to host a full three-course feast at no cost for hundreds of underprivileged guests. The event is made possible by staff, volunteers and food donations from local vendors. Dinner guests include families from Bellevue LifeSpring, Hopelink, Olive Crest, Redmond YWCA, and The Sophia Way.
Giving back didn't stop during COVID-19. In 2020, the restaurant prepared and delivered over 10,000 meals to healthcare workers at local hospitals. With help from the community, Seastar also donated 950 Thanksgiving dinners as part of a Pay-It Forward meal program to feed families in emergency shelters and transitional housing.
“I’m so proud to be part of this community,” Howie said. “These are just some of the ways I could pay back everything Bellevue has done for Seastar.”
Howie is no stranger to adversity. In 2002, Seastar made its debut during a recession and successfully navigated a second significant economic downturn in 2008. When the pandemic began, Howie was determined to stay open. Seastar adopted at-home dinners and offered curbside delivery, family meals, holiday meal kits and more.
“In the process of trying to keep my restaurant alive, I believe our food brought comfort, familiarity and some much-needed joy to our guests,” Howie said. “It’s been a long road. I am grateful to continue doing what I love most: feeding my community.”
Howie continues to acknowledge that their survival would not be possible without the community’s help. He invites everyone to celebrate their milestone with 20 days of dining featuring a special rotating menu from March 11-31. Anniversary menu items will be discounted 20%, which guests can receive the discount on their check or donated to three charities Seastar has supported over the years: NW Children's Foundation, Food Lifeline, and Bellevue LifeSpring.
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
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Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar 205 108th Ave NE Bellevue, WA 98004