First Look: Marjorie on Capitol Hill

Plus, we reveal who will chef the much-anticipated new restaurant from Donna Moodie.

By Jessica Voelker April 14, 2010


Big news: you already know that the second iteration of Marjorie, the beloved Belltown restaurant owned by Donna Moodie, will be in the Chloe building on Capitol Hill. Well today Moodie announced to me who will chef it: rising star Kylen McCarthy, currently at Harvest Vine in Madison Valley.

McCarthy was “a recommendation of a friend of a friend,” Moodie told me this morning when I visited her at the new space. She says he pursued the job persistently, so the two met for what she anticipated would be a 15-minute coffee. Two hours of conversation later, Moodie realized she had found her chef.

“It was almost like I wrote down everything I was looking for and he was it” she says, noting McCarthy’s positive energy, his excitement about working in a small space, and his serious and hard-working attitude. When Moodie and some friends went to check out McCarthy’s food at Harvest Vine, she was encouraged to see his coworkers rally around him to make sure he aced the audition. Because the new Marjorie is a small space, Moodie knew her staff would have to gel exceptionally well, and she was impressed by the show of loyalty.

The two will work together to finalize the menu, Moodie said, but reassured me that she is pushing for plantains, an ingredient used often and to delicious effect at the Belltown Marjorie. She said that there will be a combination of shareable plates and snacks as well as more sit-down stuff. Customers should expect a changing menu—Moodie will see what they like and tinker accordingly—with a focus on local foods. McCarthy has a close relationship with an animal-raising farm nearby, and from there he will source a changing selection of meats. And Moodie has good friends at Lazy River Farms in Kent; they’ll provide organic produce as well as colorful jars of canned fruits that will decorate the steel shelves lining the dining room.

The main man behind the bar will be Ben Sherwood, who many will recognize from the Belltown Marjorie, he will also manage the restaurant. There will be 10 to 12 seats at the bar, and 30 more in the dining room, which has an L-shaped banquette lining two walls and a communal table for both reserved parties and walk-ins. A roll-up garage-door entrance opens up into the courtyard, where there will be additional seating. Moodie has painted the entire space a bright royal blue (the kitchen space is demarcated by a slightly lighter shade). She says she’ll bring back many of the decorative elements that accented the original resto—including pillows on the ceiling. But the new space will have a sparer, updated look. “I’ve been having a lot of fun with the bathroom,” adds Moodie, laughing.

Marjorie’s official opening is planned for Tuesday, May 11. Dinner service will be offered five nights a week. As Marjorie settles in to its new digs, Moodie will make decisions about when and how to extend hours in the way she seems to make most decisions surrounding her restaurant: she’ll ask her customers what they think.

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