Bastille owners James Weimann and Deming Maclise can’t say enough good things about chef Jason Stoneburner. Since ascending from his sous chef role when Shannon Galusha departed in May 2011, his bosses say the executive chef has “just elevated that place over and over again.”
So how do you hang on to a talented guy with ambitions to run his own restaurant? You give him one. And name it Stoneburner. “As a chef, he was born with a pretty damn good name,” says Maclise.
The duo behind Bastille, Poquitos, and Macleod’s is hard at work on a new restaurant just a block down the street from their Ballard bistro (oh, and a beer hall, Von Trapp, in Capitol Hill). While Weimann and Maclise are known for turning century-old spaces into memorably appointed dining rooms, this one will be on the ground floor of the new Hotel Ballard, rising adjacent to the Olympic Athletic Club.
Stoneburner (the chef, not the restaurant) and general manager and wine director James Lechner will be partners in the restaurant and split their time between Bastille and the new place.
Stoneburner (the restaurant, not the chef) will focus on seasonal, handmade pizzas and pastas—the combination of which Weimann and Maclise say is relatively rare in Seattle. The restaurant will have an open pasta station, and proteins and lots of vegetables will get acquainted with a fancy stone hearth oven, which heats from above and below, “like a brick pressing on a chicken.” These brave men spent an arduous week in San Francisco and LA, fitting in 34 restaurants’ worth of carb-laden “research.”
“When Jason gets a hold of pasta, he turns it into something magical,” says Maclise, who defines the upcoming eatery as a “Northwest restaurant with Italian techniques” and "farm-focused" sourcing. The guys were equally fired up about a flatbread sandwich Stoneburner devised, essentially pizza dough folded over with lasagna in the middle.
Lechner is devising the wine list, while Bastille spirits director Erik Carlson will design a cocktail program. Stoneburner will seat about 100 people in the dining room, and 12 more at the bar.
The building might be new, but the dining room will reflect Weimann and Maclise’s penchant for memorable antique objects. The guys went to Amsterdam and came back with some “crazy lights” from an old East German factory. Oh, and they bought the interior of the Italian embassy from Buenos Aires, and plan to install it in Stoneburner’s private dining room. Whatever…no big deal.
On top of the hotel, the guys will also run an event space, the Rooftop Pavilion, boasting ridiculous views, floor-to-ceiling windows that open in nice weather, and an airy wooden roof with a lengthy skylight that's already visible to drivers on Shilshole Avenue. The entire floor is heated like the patio at Poquitos. The Pavilion can hold 100 for a seated dinner, around 150 for a standup event, and is pretty much guaranteed to be a go-to wedding/bar mitzvah/party/event spot.
Weimann and Maclise say Olympic Athletic Club owner James Riggle approached them about this same space when they were scouting locations for Bastille. But then 2008 happened, and the funding landscape changed. When Riggle reapproached them this time around, the duo had no plans to open another restaurant in Ballard, but decided it was a good opportunity to give Stoneburner and Lechner an ownership stake, and secure the good synergy happening at Bastille.
Stoneburner will serve weekend breakfast, weekday lunch, and dinner every night. Look for an opening some time this spring.