After five years serving muhammara, lamb meatballs, and unforgettable za'atar fries in Ballard, Maria Hines is making serious changes at her second restaurant, Golden Beetle. The Mediterranean-focused spot will become Young American Ale House, a gastropub doing meaty, pubby classics, hewing to the rigorous organic standards that makes Maria Hines's food all the more impressive.
Hines still has much love for the eastern Mediterranean flavors at Golden Beetle. But living in Crown Hill, the chef says, she has plenty of opportunity to observe what people in the neighborhood need. In her mind, that's someplace casual but culinary, equally welcoming to families and those of legal drinking age. It's how Hines likes to eat—"If I'm dining out, I probably have half my meals in a pub."
This might look like albacore tuna sliders, smoked pork shoulder, or crispy confit chicken wings. Maybe some chowder with local clams. And, duh, of course there be a burger, and of course it will be made with organic, grass-fed beef from the amazing Skagit River Ranch. Young American will use entirely certified or wild ingredients and seek the same hyper-sustainable Oregon Tilth organic certification Hines has at Tilth, Agrodolce, and Golden Beetle. Entree prices will hover around $18. I'm also eager to see Hines's version of a kids menu.
Not on the kids menu: a full-on house cocktail program, plus 12 taps pouring the most local of beer.
Service at Golden Beetle will continue per usual through October 22. For the first two weeks of October, look for a pop-up menu of some Young American dishes alongside the Golden Beetle fare. After an interior refresh that leans more toward light gray and reclaimed wood, the new restaurant will open in earnest October 28 for dinner and daily happy hour from 4-6. Look for brunch to arrive in December. The restaurant's wood-fired grill will stay...and probably come in quite handy with the new menu.
Hines says she originally envisioned Golden Beetle as a more casual spot, but once she got in the kitchen, the food dictated a bit more commitment: "You're dining—you sit down, you go through a bunch of plates." Young American, she says, can be a more versatile, faster, stop-in-before-a-movie experience. Though knowing Hines, the food will be worth lingering.
Updated September 7 to clarify some details on the organic sourcing.