Four years ago, Logan Cox moved from one Washington to another. In DC, or the other Washington, he was the chef at the critically acclaimed, but now soon-to-be-shuttered, Ripple. In 2013, he and his wife Sara Knowles uprooted and landed in Seattle, where Cox helms the Sitka and Spruce kitchen on Capitol Hill. At Matt Dillon's Melrose Market restaurant, Cox deftly transforms little-loved ingredients, like the oft-spongy eggplant, into Middle Eastern–flavored feats: eggplant escabeche, layered with fennel seed, coriander, chilis, charred eggplant puree, and housemade yogurt. It's this nuanced touch that Cox is bringing to his new restaurant on Beacon Hill.
“My wife and I have only lived on Beacon Hill, and I remember when I first moved here, I thought, That would be a perfect restaurant,” says Cox, and a restaurant it shall be. At 3013 Beacon Ave South, a former yoga studio, Cox plans to keep with the Sitka and Spruce ethos—local produce from local farms all the way—but more affordable, with dishes ranging from $7 to $20. Cox says he wants his 50-seat charmer to be a part of the community and cater to the neighborhood. But that doesn't mean sacrificing flavor or ambition.
“I really love spicy, high-umami flavors,” says Cox. Hey, knock usage of the word “umami” all you want, umami things taste good because, well, umami. And here that means Middle Eastern flavors, chilis, and herbs. A pizza oven will be the heart of the restaurant much like Sitka and Spruce, where not pizza but pita will come cooked to order, perhaps slathered in one of Cox's molasses spreads. Besides pita, the wood-fired oven will churn out lots of loaves per Cox's bread program. Also, bring the kids. It's a neighborhood joint after all, and Cox says, there will be soft serve.
The as yet unnamed restaurant will also have a full bar with cocktails crafted by seasoned folks from the likes of Salare, Delancey, and Jarr Bar. But the ink is still drying and Cox hopes to be open in the spring of next year, maybe March or April. In the meantime, he's passing the Sitka and Spruce torch to Danny Conkling.
This article has been updated on June 28 to reflect the correct spelling of Danny Conkling (not Cockling).