Opening night at Fire and the Feast, downtown Edmonds’s new Italian spot, was slammed; owner Shubert Ho estimates the kitchen put out 150 pizzas, maybe 100 pasta orders in the course of that November evening, all for takeout. He also estimates his other restaurants in the city did about half their usual sales that night as people checked out the newcomer.
Such is the calculus of a one-man restaurant ecosystem. In 2012, Ho and his business partner, Andrew Leckie, opened Bar Dojo in Edmonds’s Five Corners neighborhood. Ho wanted to move his Queen Anne catering business closer to his new hometown, and in the city’s era of “newlywed or nearly dead” jokes, people might appreciate the sort of restaurant where he, a chef, would enjoy hanging out.
Since then, Ho’s Feedme Hospitality and Restaurant Group has built a varied constellation of dining—steak and oyster focused Salt and Iron, seafood hangout the Market, and Italian newcomer Fire and the Feast—all inside Edmonds city limits. He’s a partner in SanKai, Ryuichi Nakano’s destination sushi restaurant, and has multiple projects planned for the Edmonds Waterfront Center.
Longtime food personality Nancy Leson (herself an Edmonds resident) likens Ho to an early-era Tom Douglas, for his drive but also his devotion to community causes and his mentorship of others looking to broaden the Edmonds food scene.
Ho didn’t intend to stick to one place. “We’ve looked, plenty,” he says, from Kingston down into Seattle. But he always weighs the appeal of creating something that doesn’t yet exist where he lives against competing in a more crowded dining landscape. When Ho and his wife first moved to town, they would drive down to Ballard or Greenwood for dinner. Now Edmonds restaurants—SanKai’s sushi counter, Market’s lobster roll—draw fans up from Seattle.