Fremont restaurant Hunger has some big expansion plans in the works. Owner Brian Brooks says he and wife Jaime Mullins-Brooks are moving their Mediterranean-influenced program down the hill to the Fremont Avenue space that was most recently Dad Watson’s.
The new Hunger will be 3,500 square feet, roughly three times larger than the original, with 80 seats, a communal dining and private party space, and a 30-seat patio. While the Spanish-hewing seasonal concept will remain the same, Brooks says Hunger 2.0 will have an expanded menu, thanks to a far superior kitchen and the arrival of sous chef John Connolly, most recently at Local 360. Connolly has already revamped the restaurant’s brunch service, and when the new Hunger adds lunch service, he’ll oversee daytime operations. Current sous chef Andrew Coker will be exec sous.
Meanwhile, bar manager Greg West, who ranked as a favorite bartender in a recent Seattle Weekly poll, will get to ply his trade in a more defined bar space.
“The plan is to go from a little neighborhood joint to a destination,” says Brooks. “The sad part is having to see this [original] place go.”
Hunger opened in 2010 in one of the neighborhood’s oldest buildings. Brooks and Mullins-Brooks previously planned to add a cocktail lounge in the basement, but then caught wind of the prime real estate opening up down the street.
Before opening Hunger, Brooks worked with Todd English at his former Seattle restaurant Fish Club. Mullins-Brooks spent the mid-90s through early 2000s in Belltown, cooking at Andaluca, Restaurant Zoe, Dahlia Lounge and the Pink Door. The couple actually met as exec chefs for Microsoft’s food services, but Brooks would rather tell you about his culinary school externship at the French Laundry.
The ink is barely dry on the lease and construction begins Monday, so the relocation timeline is likely to bounce around a bit. But Brooks says the restaurant will likely move in late February, and will have to shut down for at least a few days. That Fremont building will be busy this spring. Going in right next door to Hunger is a new spot called Four Lions. Several occupants of the building have told me that this will be a cafe by day and live jazz club by night, though I’m still trying to confirm with the owners.