Critic's Notebook

Josh Henderson: “We’re in a Unique Moment Right Now in Seattle.”

What possesses a guy to open 9 restaurants in 7 months?

By Kathryn Robinson July 7, 2016

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The busy guy himself.

“It’s not like I’m a greedy motherfucker,” Henderson laughed when I put the question to him.

For the uninitiated, let’s review: Since February Henderson has opened two throwbacky burger joints (South Lake Union, Bryant) called Great State Burger; the casual all-day French cafe in Bryant, Saint Helens; the South Lake Union taco cantina Bar Noroeste; and Scout and Nest in the Thompson Seattle boutique hotel downtown.

Upcoming within the next few weeks: Vestal, Poulet Galore Chicken Rotisserie, and Cantine Bottle Shop and Bar. And all this on top of what he’d already launched, including the first local mobile restaurant, Skillet Street Food, nine years ago, and the Skillet empire of diners (all of which he unloaded), Woodinville’s Hollywood Tavern (which he also unloaded), and Westward and Quality Athletics, which continue to thrive as Seattle’s quintessential waterside and pre-game haunts, respectively.


“We’re in a unique moment right now in Seattle,” Henderson explains. “We’re growing rapidly as a city…not only populationwise, but who we are. I want to be part of crafting who we are as a food city. There’s so much [restaurant space] inventory out there, so there’s good deals that won’t be happening again.”

“I have two kids, and I want to create something for them,” Henderson continues. “I also want to create opportunities for people in our company,” he says, echoing what I often hear from restaurant empire-builders who get to a point where they’ve attracted and developed more talent than they can employ…unless they grow.

“But mostly, I like to create.”

See my review of Saint Helens in this month’s Seattle Met.

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