Each Eureka location has a distinct look, though the proliferation of brown spirits is a constant. This shot is from the Eureka Bakersfield's Facebook page.

 First it was Kurt Beecher Dammeier’s new place, then news of Din Tai Fung. And here’s a third promising new restaurant project going in at University Village. 

Eureka is a California-based chain of burger-focused, full-service restaurants—with eight locations in central and southern California—making its first foray across state lines. It's going in at 2614 NE 46th Street.

I confess, I wasn’t familiar with Eureka, but when I asked partner Robert Suzuki what inspired the jump from California to Seattle, he explained that the restaurants focus on American-made, often locally sourced ingredients, craft beer, and small-batch American whiskeys. In other words, a Seattle location was kind of a no brainer. 

The menus vary slightly at each Eureka location, but in addition to a lineup of about a dozen burgers, reasonable expectations include sandwiches, entrée salads, and a host of starters that range from all-natural Polish sausage corn dogs to tempura green beans. The existing locations seem populated by a mix of families and young professionals.

And then there’s the booze. Suzuki is really proud of the relationships these restaurants have with smaller breweries (and distilleries) in California and sounds excited to do the same up here. And, people—Eureka will have 40 taps. A third of them will be rotating Washington brews; the others will include some locals and some favorites from California, but all smaller-scale American beers. Each restaurant builds its list individually, so beers vary widely by location.

A 21-bottle whiskey list pays tribute to the 21st Amendment and includes brown liquors from California, Oregon, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Utah. Ask about the unprinted “antique collection” list each location keeps behind the bar. The words “Pappy Van Winkle” were definitely uttered during my conversation with Suzuki. 

And here’s something I find especially cool: Eureka’s bars only stock one type of each non-brown liquor. So only one gin, one vodka, etc. But every one of these is a spirit (a good spirit) made by a brewery. Suzuki mentioned gin from Anchor Steam and a vodka he loves from San Diego brewery Ballast Point. "They make a superior product and we always choose to support the small local business first," he says.

Once the Eureka team gets comfortably established in Seattle, Suzuki says other locations will follow, perhaps in Bellevue and Kirkland. But meanwhile look for its first outpost to open toward the end of the year—perhaps December. Eureka will open at 11 and close some time in the neighborhood of midnight or 1am. Stay tuned for more details closer to the opening.

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