As reported a few weeks back, RockCreek chef Eric Donnelly and his partner Christy Given have signed a lease in Greenwood, in the former home of Antika furniture at 85th and Greenwood. The pair have been busy in recent weeks bringing the uncommonly handsome 1926 brick building back down to its bones. This will be one hell of a restaurant space, though Donnelly and Given won’t be opening another seafood spot inside of it.
FlintCreek Cattle Co. will be about meat. Though not, as the name implies, a steak house. Here Donnelly will focus on leaner proteins like buffalo, lamb, venison, and bison. “Interesting things that have a more friendly carbon footprint.”
The name refers to a stream in Montana's Phillipsburg Valley that Donnelly, an avid fly fisherman, proclaims “a technical fisherman’s wonderland.” It’s actually not too far from the stream that inspired RockCreek; Donnelly describes its surrounding hills filled with beautiful cattle pastures. He used to stand in that stream and watch actual cowboys driving cattle from horseback.
However, proteins at his restaurant will come from smaller operations, meat free of hormones and requiring fewer natural resources to raise. This concept of being “protein aware” is nothing new, he says. In fact, this is exactly what Donnelly and Given originally planned to do in the RockCreek space. At that time there was concern about meat overload, since Uneeda Burger is next door, and Seattle was in the throes of the great smoked meat and whiskey boom of 2013, so pivoting to seafood, which Donnelly knew very well from his days at Toulouse Petit and the Oceanaire, felt like the right thing to do. Given all the raves RockCreek incites from both critics and the general population, that was apparently a wise move.
FlintCreek's menu will be organized a bit like RockCreek's, with large and small plates, including some braised dishes and housemade pastas. And, yes—wine, beer, and a full bar. As the operations manager, Given says it will be her job to educate diners on the joys (both philosophical and culinary) of these lean, grassy, sometimes gamey meats.
Given says the couple wasn’t looking for a new restaurant space just yet, but the building’s owner approached them as a fan of Donnelly’s cooking. And it’s hard to argue with 17-foot ceilings, steel beams unearthed in the demo process, and stunning floor-to-ceiling windows with two levels of frosted glass transoms. Not to mention a neighborhood full of great spots (Naked City, Coyle's Bakeshop, the Yard, and Teacher's Lounge) but needing a cornerstone restaurant; the building has in the past reportedly been a grocery store and a home appliance dealer.
FlintCreek is similar in size to RockCreek, and both spaces will ultimately have a mezzanine and an open kitchen. Since RockCreek has a modern exterior, Donnelly and Given went more old-school industrial inside. Here, they'll do the opposite—classic on the outside, a more modern feel within.
Look for the restaurant to open later this year; Donnelly and Given are shooting for fall.