in partnership
Yay! Cafe Racer is back in action, baby. (Image: Chona Kasinger / Seattle Refined)

Cafe Racer Lives Again! The iconic Seattle bar reopens in University District

Late last year, it was announced that Racer was shutting its doors and going up for sale following a tumultuous couple of years. Although there were a couple prospective buyers after the initial closure, everything fell through until husband and wife Jeff and Cindy Ramsey stepped up to the plate.

Cindy found out through Vanishing Seattle that Racer was closing and forwarded the info to her husband. Jeff has a rich history with Ravenna - he was raised there and attended Roosevelt High School.

"This was really his neighborhood," Cindy said.

At the time, the Ramsey family had been traveling through South America and homeschooling their son, but felt a calling to the kooky neighborhood mainstay.

"We felt we were ripe and ready after being away for so long" she said.

One of the former partners of Colourbox (a defunct Pioneer Square venue that was in operation between 1991 and 1999), restauranteur and consultant; Jeff Ramsey is a logical choice to carry the torch.

"We feel that this restaurant chose us, we didn't choose it" said Cindy of the serendipitous change of hands. "It was a lot of hard work, but the things that blocked other people didn't block us".

Founder Kurt Geissel definitely remains a part of the group - when you walk in, you'll even catch a portrait of his likeness on the wall. On Friday and Saturday nights, Racer will host live music. The Racer circle on Sunday night will continue, and there are talks of a partnership with a local women's opera group.

"We want it to continue to be an art community" said Ramsey.

Virtually all the old relics of the quirky spot were kept intact, though rearranged ever so slightly and complemented with tchotchkes galore by the thoughtful hands of Marlow Harris and Jo David. The peeps portrait lives on, but now has good company on the Jesus wall.

The front of house art is overseen by Lisa Gallow and will rotate every three months, allowing lots of local flavor to pass through the walls.

With an emphasis on great service, plans for table service and "fork food"(Jeff makes a mean meatloaf); Racer is holding fast to its promise of keeping the integrity of the former Racer with a few upgrades.

Home of the OBAMA or Official Bad Art Museum of Art, Cafe Racer is a beloved diamond in the rough of what Cindy calls "beige land".

"We're keeping a little of the grunge alive and stopping the beige land from happening with our little green building."