First Look: Skelly and the Bean

Tour Zephyr Paquette’s new farm-fancy eatery before it opens Thursday.

By Allecia Vermillion February 20, 2012


Capitol Hill’s flurry of new arrivals continues February 23, when Skelly and the Bean opens its doors in the space that most recently housed Easy Joe’s (and before that, the original Tidbit Bistro). Skelly populates a quieter stretch of the neighborhood north of the hopping Pike-Pine and Broadway corridors.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Zephyr Paquette, a longtime local chef who spent three years cooking for Tamara Murphy at Elliott Bay Cafe, and before that worked at Café Flora and Ballard’s dearly departed Dandelion. Paquette somehow managed to put together an entire restaurant without taking out a single loan. Skelly’s tables and chairs were all donated, thrifted, or bought on the cheap with donations from the restaurant’s membership program. A considerable amount of manual labor and some unifying coats of green paint bring the eclectic assortment into harmony, beneath a sky-painted ceiling.

A Capitol Hill Seattle post about the project back in December uses the word “grange,” and the 50-seat space definitely has a charming farm feel. In a lovely twist of fate, the restaurant’s general manager is Jef Fike, who ran the popular bistro Cassis in that very same 10th Avenue address until it closed in 2004. Hit up the slideshow above for a sneak peek at the space, which includes a stained-glass garlic butterfly and a wall of love bearing the names of various people who contributed to making the restaurant a reality.

Paquette has planned a menu that doesn’t let its hyperlocal stance get in the way of having fun. Dishes include a “mystery half-chicken” whose preparation changes daily, and a plate saucily titled “three-way on the side” that consists of any three items from the side dish menu. The tater tots are likely to become one of the restaurant’s signatures, but in SkellyBean parlance they are referred to as “petit paquets.”

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