The neon sign glows once again atop the historic log cabin near Alki Beach. The massive wine rack is filled, the kitchen is stocked with pasta implements. And now, Mike Easton's new restaurant, Il Nido, is taking dinner reservations as of Tuesday, May 21.
Easton kept quiet about the opening date along the way—probably smart given the craziness of opening a restaurant, and the eager interest from his fans. "We did 100 covers twice last week," the chef texted of the recent practice runs for friends and family. "We are as ready as we can be."
In 2011, Easton MacGyvered a little pasta popup inside Procopio Gelato on the Pike Street Hillclimb. Though these days, most people know Il Corvo as the Pioneer Square lunch destination where the line is a given—as is the conclusion that those bowls of pasta were well worth the wait. So his first foray into dinner service would be an automatic big deal, even before you factor in the uncommon space. The 1904 log cabin now known as the Alki Homestead has been a restaurant since 1950 and a designated historic landmark since 1996. A fire shuttered it in 2009, but a new owner and multiyear restoration process has stripped away the damage and recreated its singular dining room, complete with an enormous river rock fireplace and tables built from a single slab of old-growth fir. In short, it's a room as uncommon as the pasta that now happens inside it.
When Easton and his wife Victoria announced Il Nido last year, he said the restaurant would specialize in hand-formed pastas, the sort of labor-intensive stuff that won't fly at Il Corvo given the volume. The current menu offsets four pastas with a handful of secondi, vegetable dishes, and small starters; the sunflower-shaped girasoli made with wild rye won serious raves during the menu testing phase.
The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday; dining room tables are by reservation only, though the bar will attempt to accommodate walk-ins. Given Il Nido's built-in fan base, I'd suggest booking that table, stat.