Shifts & Shakeups

This Week in Restaurant News: Semilocal Vodka and Sea Creatures' Surcharge

A micro distillery opens in Ballard, a Spanish chef and luxury hotel to converge in 2017, and Renee Erickson's nautical-themed eateries opt for a surcharge.

By Jeanny Rhee April 24, 2015

Microdistillery Our/SeattleVodka opens with a tasting room, bar, and retail space on Market Street in Ballard. Photo via Pernod Ricard


A new distillery has opened its doors in the former Ballard Camera space on Market Street with a tasting room, bar, and retail space. Though the micro distillery has partnered with some great Seattle names, including local designers Nin Truong and Christa Thomas, it’s part of a string of Our/Vodka concepts opening in places like Detroit and Berlin, launched by the Pernod Ricard company.

Kraken Congee
The congee popup has finally arrived in its Pioneer Square address, with a soft opening last Friday evening. More details here in Allecia Vermillion’s Nosh Pit post.

Fat’s Fried Chicken and Waffles
In keeping up with the spirit of the now-obsolete Catfish Corner in the Central District, Marcus Lalario, late-night food guru and owner of Li’l Woody’s guarantees soul food with fried chicken and waffles. Read on for more details at Nosh Pit.

Entre Amis
Benjamin Bernard-Luneau, French restaurateur honed in on the longtime vacant Cioppino space and opened its intimate 28-seater bistro in Queen Anne on April 11, reports Eater. The name translates as “Between Friends,” and rightfully so for its quaint Parisienne ambiance with a seasonal French menu. Expect charcuterie, French wine and beer, happy hour and classic bread with housemade butter. You can view sample menus here.


Spanish Chef José Andrés and SLS Luxury Hotels 
Back in 2013, rumor had it that chef José Andrés' and SLS Hotels' luxury project would be complete by 2016. Fast forward two years and the rumor is confirmed: The slick Phillip Starck-designed hotel is set to occupy the Fifth and Columbia Tower, along with the Spanish chef as its culinary director. There is one caveat: It’s been pushed back another year. The 30,000 sq. ft. hotel will house 184 rooms with two restaurants and a bar. The Wall Street Journal calls Andrés “the face of Spanish food in America." We'll have to wait and see what he brings to Seattle.

Please Maid Café
Avalon Zanoni, former chef at Portage Bay Cafe is opening a cosplay-slash-otaku-themed cafe in October, with servers clad in maid attire according to Eater. Set either on Capitol Hill or the International District, Zanoni is undergoing fundraising for the cafe through IndieGoGo. Like Ivar’s and Renee Erickson’s Sea Creatures, is going tip-free. Expect a pastry-filled menu with occasional (and seasonal) savory dishes like omelette rice and curry as well as Sunday brunch.

Portage Bay Cafe
Seattle’s favorite brunch spot is opening its fourth location in late July on the corner of 65th and Roosevelt, according to Eater. The menu, decor, and mission of sourcing as locally as possible will remain the same as the other three locations, adding a sizeable space (3,400 sq. ft.) and patio.


Elliott Bay Cafe
While EBC’s chef, Tamara Murphy bids farewell after seven years of running the Capitol Hill cafe, cozy neighbor Linda Derschang is expanding Oddfellows. More details at Nosh Pit.


Renee Erickson Swaps Tipping for Surcharge
Starting May 4, Whale, Walrus, and Barnacle will replace tipping for a 18.5 percent service charge in compensating for Seattle’s minimum wage hike. Let’s just hope it doesn’t pull a Tom Douglas calling it ‘wage equality surcharge’ only to take it back.


Sorrento Hotel
The historic hotel on First Hill reworked its Fireside Room and threw out the Hunt Club, replacing it with the Dunbar Room, the same name of Sorrento’s restaurant from the ‘60s, according to The Seattle Times. The restaurant has snatched former chef Seth Caswell of Stumbling Goat and Lummi Island’s Beach Shore Cafe with a standard, local and seasonal menu.

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