Josh Henderson and his Huxley Wallace Collective are readying an astounding seven new bars and restaurants across Seattle. Thus it’s downright bananas that he’s adding a hotel restaurant and rooftop bar to the mix.
Henderson has signed on with the new Thompson Seattle boutique hotel downtown. When it opens this summer at First and Stewart, the 158-room hotel will include a morning-to-nighttime restaurant, Scout, and a rooftop bar known as The Nest.
Scout's main dining room will serve the sort of accessible, seasonal breakfast, lunch, and dinner items suited for a hotel a block from Pike Place Market, says Henderson—club sandwiches, pancakes, a burger, salmon, dishes centered on local produce. He’s bringing in Quinton Stewart as Scout’s chef de cuisine, a guy who showed a really nice touch with a similarly approachable menu in his most recent gig as chef at 99 Park in Bellevue.
The restaurant’s 18-seat chef’s table will be something else entirely. Henderson promises the seats here will be exceptionally comfortable—good thing, because the diners who occupy them will embark on a 13- to 18-course menu, all small bites.
Last year, Henderson wooed Eric Rivera home to Seattle from his role as Alinea’s director of culinary research to head up Huxley Wallace operations—seems he knew the company had a busy year ahead. The restaurateur says he and Rivera will mastermind these tasting menus, Rivera’s modernist aptitudes balancing Henderson’s tendency toward comfort food.
“This is an opportunity to really play and make it fun and push the boundaries, even of what I’m comfortable doing,” says Henderson. “I wouldn’t do this for 75 seats, but I certainly would do it for 18."
Menus will progress geographically through Washington, perhaps starting with coastal ingredients like mussels served atop driftwood, subsequent courses working their way to Seattle, then Eastern Washington’s farmland. A chef's table dinner will also progress around the hotel itself; a meal might start with an aperitif in the courtyard or finish with a drink on the roof. “We’re not going to have balloons and circus clowns,” says Henderson. “But it certainly will be an experience.”
Upstairs at the Nest, the bar staff will run a full ice program (i.e. hand-carved blocks for cocktails up here, and ones served at the chef's table) and do a significant amount of tableside service. The indoor-outdoor bar on the rooftop of the 12-story hotel will come with some impressive views of the mountains, skyline, and Puget Sound.
Huxley Wallace will also do room service and food for private hotel events like weddings. Thompson Seattle is aiming for a summer open. Meanwhile, Henderson's busy readying the first location of his Great State Burger concept (word is the Amazon location opens February 3) with his taco-focused Bar Noroeste, Saint Helens bistro, and a second Great State Burger in Laurelhurst following later in February.