The news is not, fortunately, unremittingly dreadful. Not crazy-great, but not entirely morose, either. Consider that Ricky Eng, a chef with a restaurant called BeachHouse, on the Kirkland waterfront, bought up the unlucky space at the end of E. Madison this summer (home to Sostanza, home to Madison Park Conservatory) and is giving it a new floor and some new banquettes. BeachHouse Madison will be the name, and the menu, strong on seafood, will be expanded to allow for a few carnivorous items to come out of the wood-burning stove that Cormac Mahoney left behind. Don't look for upscale cuisine, though; BeachHouse is known for classic American comfort food.
And a second encouraging spot of news. Replacing the Madison Park outpost of Mad Pizza is a pho parlor. Spirits be praised, a pho parlor! The owners are business partners chef Tani Phan and Elena Vo; the name is Bella Viet Café.