Tom Douglas's next restaurant is taking shape at Ninth and Pine, across from the Paramount Theatre. And there will be wine, cheese, and rotisserie rib roast.
Its working name is The Carlile Room, though Douglas can't promise he won't change things up. (remember when Cantina Leña was the Lone Stranger?) He has also contemplated a name that pays homage to Ben Paris, a Seattle dining institution with an oddball formula (equal parts bar, restaurant, pool hall, and sporting goods store) that would actually be quite at home in the current dining landscape.
But the man does love himself some Brandi Carlile. Douglas isn't shy about the fact that the singer was his naming inspiration. He has a soft spot for a certain type of "great crooner" (he also name checked Annie Lennox, Bonnie Raitt, and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks...the man needs his own Pandora channel) and he and Carlile both got their start in Pike Place Market.
Clearly the location across from one of Seattle's storied performance halls offers another musical tie-in; Douglas has a piece of art in the works which he says will make sense of all these tuneful elements.
Whatever its final name, the Carlile Room will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week. Douglas promises "a strong cheese presence and approachable but thorough wine service." The centerpiece of the dinner menu will be slices of aged rib roast, slowly rotated to peak juiciness on a rotisserie.
Beef aside, smaller plates will dominate the menu. Douglas says the finished space will hover in that middle ground between bar and restaurant. It won't be 21-plus, but he is envisioning a predominantly business and theatergoing crowd: "We're in the middle of downtown; we want it to have a certain bar feeling."
Plans for the Carlile Room originally included show tunes and karaoke, but after his ventilation ordeal at Cantina Leña, Douglas is wary of bothering upstairs neighbors with late-night renditions of the Cabaret soundtrack. So he's installing a DJ booth and some soundproof padding on the ceiling and seeing what happens. Don't most really good parties start that way?
The Carlile Room is aiming for a June 1 open. You might hear a few more details this Saturday on Seattle Kitchen, T-Doug's weekly radio escapade with Thierry Rautureau.