Jeff Ramsey is a brave man. He is now the owner/operator of Cafe Racer. A restaurant consultant, Jeff Ramsey was traveling in Peru when he heard that Cafe Racer was for sale and decided to buy it. He hopes to eventually have a restaurant similar to it in Portland, but for now he and his wife are trying to make a go of this alternative kind of place in Seattle.
Jeff is brave for several reasons. For one, Cafe Racer was the scene of a mass shooting in 2012, so he is trying to build a business associated with a local disaster. I was not aware of this event because I don’t live in Seattle; and, unlike other horrific gun incidents, it didn’t get much national coverage. In 2012 Ian Stanwicki, who had been previously thrown out of Cafe Racer, used 2 handguns to kill 4 patrons and wound another. Later that afternoon Stanwicki committed suicide. Secondly, Cafe Racer is not your typical restaurant. An Obama museum is upstairs.
Obama stands for Official Bad Art Museum of Art. When Barak Obama was running for President, the then owner of Cafe Racer was a big fan of both him and art. He established this museum, which is non-changing, in his honor. It is truly bad art. There are 3 examples of what you see atop this blog. The fourth is the painstakingly painted floor below that looks leopard-like. I heard about this museum from Atlas Obscura, which lists 99 unusual places to explore in a city that Ramsey described as increasingly sterile. Cafe Racer is NOT sterile. Atlas Obscura describes this bad art museum as for “…one who appreciates visions of the absurd.” This is definitely true.
The restaurant downstairs also displays art, but it changes every 2 months. I might describe it as non-serious serious art. You can see what I mean by checking out Miroir Magazine that describes itself as “an international fashion and arts magazine promoting aspiring and established creative artists…and curates a theme for each issue”. Jo David is its editor-in-chief; and Marlow Harris, a Seattle real estate developer and arts curator, is involved in its publication. There is live entertainment at Cafe Racer each night. Its menu is imaginative and the most traditional thing about this entire operation, but Ruth and I sampled nothing because we were too busy talking to Jeff Ramsey and learning about the art on the premises both upstairs and downstairs. Its fried cheddar spuds, a cold meatloaf sandwich, and Mac N cheeses sounded interesting.
I suspect that Cafe Racer’s story will continue to be both interesting and weird, like Atlas Obscura.