Wow, when Ethan Stowell said he was realigning his restaurant group to focus on Tavolàta and How to Cook a Wolf locations, he wasn’t kidding.
The restaurateur announced today he will close three of his 15-ish restaurants: Marine Hardware, Bramling Cross, and Super Bueno. All three will call it quits after service on New Year’s Eve.
I’m pretty bummed about Marine Hardware; to my mind it’s one of the most adventurous, unexpected, and best of the Stowellian restaurants. In January this little pocket of Ballard’s Kolstrand Building will become an event space, with longer-term plans to make it a popup spot for aspiring chefs looking to wade into the brick-and-mortar world.
Bramling Cross is getting a brief remodel and a similar future as an event space, geared toward larger events, corporate parties, and such.
Super Bueno will become a Tavolàta; look for it to reopen in late spring, after a remodel to shift from sunny vibes and mom tacos to fresh pasta and sorta-industrial Northwest minimalism. Stowell’s gleefully non-authentic Mexican restaurant was for sure an outlier in his brand (his ex-wife, Angela, came up with the concept, a smart take on family friendly dining where kids can play and parents can down margaritas).
In today’s announcement, Stowell was pretty candid, especially for a press release, saying he loves the concepts, but they’ve been an operational challenge and not as profitable as some of his other spots.
When I spoke to Stowell about his forthcoming How to Cook a Wolf in Madison Park, he said his company is going all in on How to Cook a Wolf and Tavolàtas. He’s got one of the latter slated to open downtown, just before this new one debuts on Stone Way. Earlier this year the chef opened a HTCAW sibling, called simply Wolf, in Nordstrom's new NYC flagship.