Road Trip Dining

Nick Coffey Will Open Ursa Minor on Lopez Island

The isle’s allure for the Seattle chef: “It clears my brain and inspires me to create different dishes.”

By Rosin Saez February 16, 2017

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Plenty of funghi to be foraged on Lopez Island, like chanterelles for one. 

The restaurant: light-filled with waterfront views. The ingredients: sourced within the borders of the island. The Kickstarter: up and running as of three days ago.

Last summer, Coffey helped Matt Dillon and Marcus Lalario open their Georgetown venture, Ciudad. And before that, he held down the kitchen at Cafe Barjot and worked with Dillon at Sitka and Spruce. Soon though Coffey will open a restaurant of his very own: Ursa Minor.

Lopez Island’s dining scene, many would agree, is scant. But despite this, chef Nick Coffey keeps returning there. “Over the last couple of years when I’ve been thinking about my own space, my own restaurant,” says Coffey, “I’ve always kept one eye on Lopez.”

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Coffey will work with local farmers, foragers, and fisherman to “figure out what the cuisine of Lopez Island will be” at Ursa Minor. What indeed... The inaugural menu so far has such things as confit gizzards with peas and toasted seeds, lamb over grain porridge with nettles, and dry-aged duck. Something sweet may come in the form of a golden brown doughnut, glazed with creamed honey and sprinkled with bee pollen or buckwheat cake with maple blossoms. Expect some foraged fungi, too.

Intriguing combos are sure to be had on an island that’s home to more farms than the rest of the San Juan archipelago. True, it’s a ferry ride away. Sure, you may have to stay at a cozy Airbnb. But perhaps the island will pull you in like it did Coffey: “I feel like it clears my brain and inspires me to create different dishes that I haven’t thought of before.”

Ursa Minor (210 Lopez Road) is slated to open this April. But first, some funding. To hire help, to put flatware on the table, and to get a table to put said flatware on, Coffey has launched a Kickstarter campaign. And it runs until March 15. Keep tabs of the restaurant’s progress on Instagram, at the handle @ursa_minor_lopez.

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