Fremont’s Silence Heart Nest — the meat-free restaurant that devotees of Bangladeshi guru Sri Chinmoy opened 34 years ago — recently announced that it has closed permanently and that the space is for sale. No reason was given for the closure, although it joins an ever-growing list of restaurants that have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Silence Heart Nest opened in the U District in 1986, then moved to Fremont in 2005, serving up popular vegetarian breakfast and brunch dishes, including sesame pancakes, tofu migas, and soy bacon BLTs. The welcoming spot maintained a spiritual vibe throughout its decades of operation in both locations, with sarong-clad servers, inspirational messages displayed on the tables, and soothing music filling the dining room. It’s also part of a chain around the world owned by Sri Chinmoy students, and bills itself as one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in Seattle.
However, even before the pandemic, this past year proved to be a challenge. Last August, the restaurant bid goodbye to its customers, announcing it would be closing for good. Then, after a public outpouring of support, the owner’s son took over and reopened the restaurant at the end of September. Even when restaurants had closed for dine-in services earlier this spring, it continued to stay open with a limited selection of menu items for takeout and delivery, including barbecue Beyond burgers and a vegan Thai peanut stir fry.
The restaurant was saved once before, so there’s always the possibility a buyer could swoop in and revive it. On Capitol Hill, brunch spot Americana closed earlier this summer, then reopened under new ownership weeks later.
But the headwinds facing restaurants during the pandemic are not easy to overcome, and after more than three decades, Silence Heart Nest doesn’t look like it’s primed for another comeback, unfortunately.