Dan Bugge is the owner of Matt’s in the Market and Radiator Whiskey in Pike Place Market—thus a man who knows how to serve drinks and a great meal in the middle of Seattle’s most scenic environs. Now Bugge is getting ready to open another pair of establishments on South Lake Union's prime waterfront, formerly home to BluWater Bistro (and, for a minute, a Terrible Beauty).
White Swan Public House will be “very Radiator Whiskey style, but with fish,” says Bugge. Here the housemade sausages will be predominantly seafood; instead of whole pig head, the big brick oven will roast whole rockfish, or crab with garlic and chilies.
Bugge’s crew from Radiator Whiskey will oversee food and drink at these lakeside spots, each boasting a pretty ridiculous dockside view. Radiator co-chefs Tyler Palagi and Charlie Garrison are working on a juicy lucy–style burger (something that’s somehow never made an appearance at their meaty whiskey bar) and steamed clams with different broth options like sausage and white bean, white wine with charred lemon, or smoked pork loin with cream and potatoes. Bar manager Sara Rosales is planning beer aplenty and relishing a chance to create cocktails that diversify from Radiator’s brown liquor focus. Radiator’s Josh Nebe will run the kitchen at both places.
Out on the adjacent waterfront patio, a fish and chips shack dubbed The 100-Pound Clam will be a walkup window with a full booze lineup. Bugge says his team has plans beyond the standard fried whitefish—smelt, maybe trout, definitely clams. You can get oysters all over this compound, but Bugge himself will be shucking at a patioside oyster bar this summer.
White Swan will be open seven days a week, and do brunch on weekends. The fish and chips shack should be open by 11 most days, and stay open until about dinnertime. Lloyd Hounsell, a partner in Radiator and a friend of Bugge's dating back to the eighth grade, will run operations at the new restaurants.
The 100-Pound Clam gets its (nebulously filthy-sounding) name from Bugge’s ancestry—his family used to own a clam cannery in Sequim Bay, where diggers would go out at night and fill gunny sacks with 100 pounds of clams. The White Swan Public House derives its name from an antique sign Bugge found while scouting whiskey-themed objects for Radiator. The Bohun swan’s heraldic badassery aside, it didn’t really fit with Radiator’s dark wood and dark spirits vibe. Bugge told the guy if he ever opened another restaurant, he’d come back for the sign; three years later he made good on that promise.
Speaking of things that sound vaguely dirty, Bugge already got clearance from his insurance agent to set up a dinghy delivery service for nearby boats, complete with growlers in little life jackets. The restaurants do have their own dock, should you want to nose up your vessel for some carryout food. The restaurant (proper address 1001 Fairview Ave N) is also next to a trolley stop, so you can access by land or sea.
No website or Facebook yet, but if all goes well, the 100-Pound Clam will open in late May, with the White Swan Public House following by mid June. If nothing else, says Bugge, “we need to be ready to roll for the Fourth of July, so we can have a big party to watch the fireworks.” Agreed.