The Paragon started as a San Francisco concept. Todd Ivester was hesitant about leaving the Bay Area to run its Seattle outpost when the bar and grill opened in Queen Anne nearly 25 years ago.

But by the time the owners decided to sell the Seattle location in 1999, Ivester was determined to make it his.

“I think every bartender wants to open his own bar,” Ivester said, “and I had an opportunity here of a great buildout in a great neighborhood in a great city.”

He pulled together the financing within the week he was given, teaming up with the chef, a family member and the Small Business Administration, according to a 2014 Seattle Dining article. He later bought out his partner in 2007.

“It was an easy decision and a pretty easy transition,” Ivester said.

He expects the next transition to also work smoothly, having sold the Paragon to Eric and Kim Rogozienski, who will shut the restaurant down for several weeks starting on Wednesday, May 1, for a beautification project.

“We did pretty much everything we could to try not to shut down, and it just wasn’t possible with the kitchen in the condition it’s in,” said Eric Rogozienski.

Before the deal closed, the Rogozienskis considered what to do with the space. After exploring its rich history, they decided it needed to remain the Paragon, Rogozienski said.

Ivesters said he worked hard to get a good lease on the space to attract a new buyer, and he’s had a huge outpouring of support from customers. He also threw a party to welcome the Rogozienskis to the neighborhood.

“I think people are thankful that it’s going to stay the Paragon,” Ivester said.“What the word paragon means is mark of excellence, and that’s their overall goal.”

While it wasn’t the first, The Paragon in Queen Anne is the last.

The original San Francisco Paragon is long gone, as is the one opened in Berkeley. The Paragon in Portland’s Pearl District shuttered in December. Ivester said some rebranded and others simply closed.

He credits his stubbornness and showing up every day as part of the reason for Paragon’s success.

“It’s a tough business, and you have to show up every day and make sure the doors are open and the beer is pouring,” Ivester said. “I think the live music with no cover has been key.”

The live music has been less of a draw over the past few years, he said, but it’s not because of the talent of the musicians taking the stage.

Many musicians have graced the stage at The Paragon over the years and gone on to greater things. Brandi Carlile, who earned three Grammys this year, used to play at the Queen Anne venue every Sunday.

“She was 20 years old when she was gigging here,” Ivester said. “She was this little girl, but huge talent, huge voice, and she worked it.”

Carlile’s mother would bake brownies and come to her set with the musician’s sister.

“If you bought one of Brandi’s CDs for 5 bucks, she’d give you one of her brownies,” Ivester said.

Carlile was joined by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl for some busking down at Pike Place Market on April 20. The two musicians and their entourage popped into Paragon for lunch, Ivester said.

“She was great,” he said. “She was so kind. She was really kind to the bartenders and servers.”

The Paragon has also changed with the times, settling in as a neighborhood bar and grill, Ivester said. It started offering lunch and then weekend brunch, catering to families in the neighborhood.

“In the late ‘90s, we were more of a hip, happening spot — lines out the door. Occasionally you’d have celebrities come through the door,” he said. “It’s still a good hangout spot, but not the scene that it was in the late ‘90s.”

Rogozienski said the layout of the Paragon won’t change during the beautification process, which will include a deep clean, some new paint and upgrades in the kitchen.

“We’re not going in and blowing out walls or anything like that,” he said.

More details will be rolled out when the restaurant is closer to reopening, which Rogozienski hopes is 2-4 weeks. The goal is to bring back any staff that want to return once Paragon reopens.

“It was originally opened in 1995,” he said, “and pretty much everything dates back to 1995.”

Rogozienski said he wants to keep Ivester involved in the bar, and Ivester said he’ll be popping in from time to time, though his longterm plans haven’t been made.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Ivester said. “I’d love to sit and rent rafts on the beach.”

At this time it’s still expected that the annual Queen Anne Running of the Bulls will take place; the event is set for July 13. This Running of the Bulls is where people dress up in white with red scarves and race shopping carts filled with liquor from the Paragon to a local park.

“It’s kind of become a big event. We don’t really do a lot of promotion on that,” Ivester said. “People just come out of the woodwork wearing their red and white.”

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