The team behind Seaplane—a Kenmore sibling to Stoneburner, Poquitos, Rhein Haus, and the newly reimagined Sabine—has entered into an uncommon partnership with the owners of Stoup Brewing. This joint effort will transform Seaplane into a second taproom for Stoup, but retain a food menu overseen by Jason Stoneburner. It will reopen, likely in March, with a new and understated name: Stoup Brewing Kenmore.
When Seaplane Kitchen and Bar arrived 2018, just a few blocks off Kenmore's harbor, co-owner Deming Maclise says he and business partner James Weimann envisioned a casual spot where someone might drop in a couple nights a week. Jason Stoneburner, also a partner in the company, designed a tavern menu that still reflected his high standards, particularly for sourcing. The resulting prices made customers in the area view Seaplane more as a destination for a nicer night out, says Maclise, than for a weekly drop-in. (Obviously this was all pre-pandemic, when both nights out and drop-ins were more common than fraught.)
Rather than simply making things cheaper, Maclise and Weimann and crew considered different formulas as Covid permanently altered their industry's landscape. The notion of installing a brewery here (cool, but crazy expensive) lead to an idea: “We asked ourselves, how can we partner with a brewery?” recalls Maclise. “Someone that’s already got respect in the community.”
Stoup, he says, was their top pick on a very short list, based on the quality of the beer, not to mention owners Brad Benson, Lara Zahaba, and Robyn Shumacher. While the overture was unexpected, says Zahaba, “expanding has always been on our radar.” The move will export some energy from Seattle’s Ballard beer nexus, where taprooms and patios buzz with families and outdoor socializing, but seldom with much in the way of food, beyond a nearby truck.
When Stoup Brewing Kenmore arrives, taps will dispense standards like the Mosaic pale ale and Citra IPA, plus taproom-only creations. Stoneburner will oversee a pared-down, shack- and share-focused food lineup—his pizzas, burger, loaded fries, maybe some nachos. The counter service setup (plus that more casual menu) also suits our current takeout paradigm.
Collaborations are inherent to the brewing community, and have proved a helpful tool for popups or other ascendant businesses to weather Covid. But they’re relatively unusual at this level. Another less-than-expected move: The Seaplane team let the Stoup folks come up with the name. After weighing a Google doc’s worth of iterations with words like “kitchen” and “eatery,” they decided to keep things simple and let the food speak for itself. “This really is a taproom,” says Zahaba. “We should just call it what it is.”
The partnership (which applies only to this establishment) also opens up possibilities for beer pairings, in-house root beer, or, say, malted milkshakes made with actual malted barley, as the Stoup team engages with Stoneburner’s kitchen.
Right now the space is closed while the new partners bolster the outdoor seating and add a bit more Stoup aesthetic to an already striking setup. When building the Ballard brewery, Zahaba recalls, “we really had to soften the space” since it was so full of steel and concrete. Here, “it’s wood everywhere and we’re bringing in the industrial any way we can.”
Keep tabs on the Stoup Instagram for more updates and a potential March open.