Eater Seattle recently wrote about Skillet founder Joshua Henderson’s latest plan—a "water-inspired" restaurant called Westward, perched on the north shore of Lake Union. Henderson says Wes Anderson movies—particularly The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou—informed the décor. Where Skillet is comfort food served amidst urban restraint, Westward will be more about technique and Hamptons-style nautical whimsy. It’s the first project from the Huxley Wallace Collective, the Skillet founder’s repository for non-Skillet projects. Sharing the space is Little Gull Grocery, a stop for beer, wine, morning coffee, and boat-friendly deli grabs…as well as a 15-seat oyster bar.
As reported earlier, former Madison Park Conservatory chef Zoi Antonitsas is coming on board as executive chef for the seafood-focused menu. And, in late-breaking oyster developments, champion shucker David Leck will be plying his trade at Little Gull. I love living in a city where oyster shucking can be not only a profession, but a source of fame.
Westward’s sample menu includes sandwiches like a Dungeness crab roll and a tuna melt upgraded to an albacore tuna confit melt. I’m excited about the spicy fried squid sandwich and the smelt, served either cured like an anchovy or as “fries with eyes.”
The restaurant sits on a slice of land at 2501 Northlake Way, just up the shore of Lake Union from Gas Works Park and tucked in next to a boat storage facility. There’s a long dock out front and when the buildout is done, the restaurant will have one hell of a patio space as well. Henderson is envisioning boaters mooring and wandering up the dock to grab a few things. (Westward will also serve up fancy picnic basket setups.)
“Six months out of the year, we’ll be crushing it—hopefully” says Henderson. Those other months? I’m guessing Antonitsas’s mad skills and Seattle’s love of oysters will bring in plenty of people during the winter months, too.
Henderson (also busy working on his Hollywood Tavern project) is envisioning a late July open for Westward.