Ethan Stowell Restaurants took over the Via6 food spaces in late 2019, then scuttled (most of) its plans as the pandemic hit. Now the restaurant group is getting ready to open The Victor Tavern here in the former TanakaSan space on Tuesday, September 7. The project will add burgers and happy hour to a neighborhood still waiting on the return of many nearby Amazon employees.
Sennen David, ESR’s vice president of marketing and culture, describes the Victor as a proper, approachable tavern rather than something that edges into higher-end gastropub territory. The menu skews heavy on snacks—wings, an everything pretzel, fries of both the polenta and potato persuasions. Sandwiches (a crab roll, a french dip, a fancy club) and six-ounce burgers anchor the rest of the menu.
Takeout dinner packages have been part of the conversation since the early days, says David, but after 2020, diners should be well versed in the notion of ordering a two-person meal of prime rib, burgers, or rotisserie chicken with sides and salad. (The dinners Stowell’s restaurants offered during last year’s dining room shutdown were among the best in the city.)
After more than a decade impressing cocktail fans on Ballard Avenue, Erik Carlson recently signed on as ESR's executive beverage director. “He’s been leveling up all the cocktail programs across the company,” says David. Carlson also built the Victor’s drink menu, with sections for fizzes, sours, and punches as well as stirred and more spirit-centered creations.
The Victor also inherited the large sidewalk patio out front, with its overhead heaters and generous cover.
It will be open daily from 11 to 10 with a formidable happy hour menu available from 4 to 6. The bar will join Rubinstein Bagels in the open-concept lobby space once occupied by Tom Douglas Restaurants, back when the area’s office workers streamed in en masse for lunch.
ESR postponed the Victor Tavern plans repeatedly due to…all of the things. Amazon's plan to return to offices signaled a good time to move ahead, says David, and ESR decided to stick to that plan, even after the retail behemoth extended remote work until 2022. The former Home Remedy space remains empty, but Rubinstein’s stays busy, says David. And with limited options for happy hours in the area, “it’s time.”
The Victor Tavern could be something Team Stowell replicates in the future, a la Tavolàta and How to Cook a Wolf. But for now, keep tabs on Instagram for opening updates.