When Brian Clevenger opened Vendemmia on Madrona's main drag in May, he was already thinking about a little seafood and produce market next door. Six months later, critics and neighbors are all in on the restaurant's simple, exacting pastas, the chef's counter is booked nearly three weeks out, and Clevenger's ready to make that next-door market a reality; it will open early next year.
He's calling his new place East Anchor Seafood, a combination restaurant and market selling produce and fresh fish and shellfish—"if you see any meat here, it will probably be in the cured realm."
A counter will sell food for takeaway, mostly grains and salads, like the Dungeness crab, snap pea, and endive salad that's a showstopper on the Vendemmia dinner menu. If you'd prefer to stick around, there will be a communal table up front by the large windows; Clevenger's envisioning lots of freshly shucked oysters and rosé being consumed here.
"It's taking everything we do here [at Vendemmia] and allowing people to get it in our off hours," he says of the shop. While hours aren't yet firmed up, he's thinking something like 11–7.
The space behind East Anchor Seafood will become a private dining room for Vendemmia, seating up to 12 people. While the restaurant is fairly casual (and the four-seat chef's counter fairly intimate), Clevenger says the new space adds a third element, one where the menu has more of a fine dining feel. It also adds more availability in the perpetually packed dining room, where a large party can take up a healthy chunk of the 32 seats. And if Marian Built is involved, it's bound to look good.
Clevenger's also taking over the building's rooftop, where he's installing a 3,000-square-foot garden—that's three times the size of the restaurant below. "It's absolutely perfect sunlight and exposure," he says. A year from now he hopes about 20 percent of Vendemmia's produce will come from the roof; "five years from now we'll be pushing 75 percent."
Look for East Anchor Seafood as early as January; Clevenger's hoping Vendemmia's private room will be ready by the holidays. Keep tabs on the Vendemmia Facebook page for updates.
Post was edited on November 4 to change the name of the shop; it was originally listed as West Anchor Seafood. Until I got a most intriguing text from Clevenger: "Just realized this place is called east anchor. The next one will be west..." So apparently there's more in store.