Vendemmia has been hopping ever since chef/owner Brian Clevenger opened his doors on Madrona's main drag last May. Now Clevenger is readying a second restaurant, Raccolto, in West Seattle, just north of the Junction.
At 40 seats, Raccolto will be a little larger than Vendemmia, similarly focused on vegetables, pasta, and seafood, but with a more relaxed atmosphere. Raccolto will also have more pasta—eight types made in house every day—with prices a few bucks lower than in Madrona. "I don't want to see any pastas over $15," says Clevenger (most will run $10 to $13, with entrees around $18 to $24).
West Seattle is Clevenger's own neighborhood, and one he describes as underserved when it comes to restaurants; all the new developments along California Avenue portend even more people on the way. The chef—who came up cooking at Delfina in San Francisco, then headed up the kitchens at Tavolata and Staple and Fancy—serves Italian-inflected plates that seem simple, but are prepared with so much care that you can't shake the memory of a simple plate of tomato-basil spaghetti, or that salad of snap peas, endive, and Dungeness crab.
"My style of food translates pretty well to the neighborhood," says Clevenger. "It doesn't have to be a special occasion to go."
Marian Built is currently outfitting his second restaurant (proper address: 4147 California Ave SW). Like Vendemmia it's a new building; unlike Vendemmia it's big enough to have a mezzanine. Look for Vendemmia's front-of-house guy Ahmed Suliman (everyone calls him Suli) at Raccolto when doors open, likely some time this summer. The restaurant has a fledgling website that should be useful for keeping tabs on the opening date.
It seems like Clevenger has absorbed the far-reaching business ethos of former boss Ethan Stowell. In addition to opening a new restaurant just one year after his first one, Clevenger and partner Kayley Turkheimer also have a brand new seafood market called East Anchor in Madrona, right next to Vendemmia.