To no one’s surprise South Lake Union, generously dappled with Amazon campuses, is a nest of new restaurants. And the Huxley Wallace Collective, aka Josh Henderson’s restaurant universe, has been cranking out new spots like they’re a Netflix original series.
Joining Henderson’s South Lake Union area restaurants Bar Noroeste Taqueria and Great State Burger is Vestal. The name references Vesta, the virgin goddess of hearth and home, apropos for a restaurant with a six- to seven-foot coal-fired hearth and where Henderson says he “wanted a place that felt like a living room, like you’re in somebody’s kitchen with a big island in the middle.” As for the virgin bit, well, Henderson already has ten notches and counting on his restaurant belt, but hasn’t done much of his own food since the early Skillet days. That changes this month.
At Vestal that kitchen island comes in the form of a vast chef’s counter surrounding the aforementioned hearth. This is where Henderson can be found three or so nights a week cooking his food: “It’s going to focus around Pacific Northwest ingredients with elements of the fire occasionally weaving its way through the menu.” Vestal isn’t tied to a particular cuisine, giving chef/restaurateur the space to play a bit, and there’s nothing quite like playing with fire. It certainly won’t be all charred everything, says Henderson, but you might see a whole clay tagine in the hearth, then brought table side. Don’t be surprised if you see “some chickens [and] ducks roasting on a twine up in the hearth. Then maybe some roti or flat breads cooking on the plancha and fresh sardines on the grill.”
The space, situated at 513 Westlake Avenue North, will seat 49 with eight seats at the chef’s counter, where diners can get an intimate look at what Josh Henderson–created food is really like these days. Joining Henderson in the kitchen will be chef de cuisine Andrew Iacono.
Vestal is aiming for a mid-August opening, perhaps August 15, though that date may change slightly. Keep tabs on opening details and updates at the Vestal Facebook, Instagram, and website. Vestal is the first of three new restaurants; Poulet Galore and Cantine Bottleshop and Bar will be rounding out the market-style space in the coming months.