Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Restaurants Unlimited Buys Portland Group

IN THE NEWS: Pacific Coast Restaurants Inc., which operates some of Portland's best-known eateries, is being sold to Seattle-based Restaurants Unlimited Inc, the Portland Business Journal portland.bizjournals.com reports. The 2,000 employees of Pacific Coast were notified of the sale agreement recently. A company official who asked not to be identified confirmed the two restaurant operators have entered a purchase agreement and are in a quiet period until the deal formally closes in 30 to 45 days. Portland-based Pacific Coast operates 27 restaurants in Oregon, Washington and California, along with a Newport Bay franchise in Seattle. Its holdings include the Portland City Grill in U.S. Bancorp Tower, Henry's 12th Street Tavern, Manzana Rotisseri Grill, Newport Seafood Grill, the Portland Steak & Chophouse, the Stanford's Restaurant and Bar chain and the Newport Bay Restaurant chain. Restaurants Unlimited Inc. formed in 1969 in Seattle with the opening of The Red Baron, described as a steak and lobster house. Today, it is a nationwide operation with a handful of concepts. Its restaurants operate under the names Simon & Seafort's, Palomino, Kincaid's, Clinkerdagger, Stanley & Seafort's, and Maggie Bluff's. ...

The P.I.'s Leslie Kelly gives three stars in her review of The Pink Door (1919 Post Alley; thepinkdoor.net) and notes Pike Place Market tours as well as the June 20 opening of the much-anticipated bistro Cafe Press (1117 12th Ave. on Capitol Hill, from Le Pichet's dynamic duo, Joanne Herron and Jim Drohman, as well as Via Tribunali on Queen Anne. ... She also notes a new location of Mad Pizza on South Lake Union (1263 Thomas St.). ... Claudia Rowe reviews Alki Crab & Fish Co. (1660 Harbor Ave. S.W.; alkicrabandfish.com). ... Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman reviews the Spanish restaurant Gaudi (3410 N.E. 55th St), while the new 13 Dollars column visits Commuter Comforts Cafe & Wine Bar (Colman Dock, Ferry Terminal, 801 Alaskan Way, Pier 52) and the Bottom Feeder column stops by Dome Burger (111 Occidental Ave. in Pioneer Square), one of only two businesses to refer to their seven-years-gone neighbor the Kingdome, since the recent forced shuttering of Dome Stadium Tavern on Fourth Avenue. ... Seattle Times' seattletimes.com Nancy Leson gives three stars to Opal (2 Boston St., Seattle; www.opalseattle.com), while Leigh Haddix considers Gorgeous George's Mediterranean Kitchen (7719 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle). ... Karen Gaudette reports on the scheduled June 30 closing of five-year-old West Seattle eatery Ovio Bistro (oviobistro.com). ... The Stranger's thestranger.com Angela Garbas reviews Entre Nous (216 Stewart St, Seattle) and also visits La Medusa (4857 Rainier Ave S.), while Bethany Jean Clement reports on the closing and relocation of Cha Cha (1013 E Pike St.).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

'Food & Wine' Taps Sitka & Spruce's Dillon

IN THE NEWS: In its July 2007 issue, Food & Wine magazine foodandwine.com features its prestigious Best New Chefs of 2007 list, including: Ian Schnoebelen of Iris in New Orleans, Sean O' Brien of Myth in San Francisco, Paul Virant of Vie in Western Springs (Ill.), Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland (Ore.), Gabriel Bremer of Salts in Cambridge (Mass.), Gavin Kaysen of El Bizcocho in San Diego, April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig in New York City, Johnny Morris of Komi in Washington, D.C, Steve Corry of Five Fifty-Five in Portland (Maine) and Matthew Dillon of Sitka & Spruce in Seattle. ... The mag also features Seattle's "outsider" chefs, including wild food champion Johnathan Sundstrom of Lark. ... A Florida-based restaurant chain is putting out feelers that it wants to greatly expand its reach, the Denver Business Journal reports. Earl of Sandwich, founded in 2004 and based in Orlando, says it's looking for franchisees around the United States, including Denver. Other cities on the company's radar screen include Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco (including Oakland and San Jose), Dallas/Ft. Worth, Seattle, Columbus, Nashville, San Diego, Cleveland, St. Louis and Sacramento. The company's president, Michael Grodi, said the goal is to add more than 100 locations a year. A former executive at Denver-based Quiznos, Grodi was named president and CEO of the sandwich chain in January. Quiznos sued Grodi and Earl of Sandwich in federal court in Denver in April, alleging Grodi would hurt Quiznos by disclosing their trade secrets about selling sandwiches to his new employer. Grodi left Quiznos in May 2006. He has denied Quiznos' allegations. ... The one-and-a-half-year-old smoking ban has had a "minimal effect" on the Washington bar and tavern business, according to state officials, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. Gross business income for taverns and bars grew 0.3 percent in 2006, compared with a 1.1 percent average annual growth rate from 2002 to 2005, according to the state Department of Revenue. Voters passed Initiative 901 that took effect in December 2005. ... The Seattle Times' Nancy Leson gives her outdoor dining picks and fondly recalls her years visiting Pike Place Market, while Providence Cicero visits Baguette Box (626 N. 34th St., Seattle; www.baguettebox.com) ... Leson also reports, "Steve Rosen and James Allard, the tech-boom entrepreneurs who brought us the ever-(r)evolving Blue C Sushi, have another project in the works: Boom Noodle, which borrows its name from the Japanese phrase "my boom" — used to describe one's latest obsession.Their boom is a Japanese noodle house that spans 4,500 square feet of high-profile slurping space anchoring the new mixed-use building at 12th and Pike. The Capitol Hill restaurant and bar (1121 E. Pike St.) is slated to open in September, as is the third Blue C Sushi (www.bluecsushi.com) at Alderwood Mall." seattletimes.com ... The P-I's Leslie Kelly gives two stars in her review of Madoka (241 Winslow Way W., Bainbridge Island, madokarestaurant.com), blogs about the opening of Cafe Presse (1117 12th Ave) and also stops by Tandoori Hut (2616 Second Ave.) seattlepi.com ... Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman reviews Rose Petals Restaurant (6901 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S.), while the paper blogs about The Redwood (514 E. Howell St). seattleweekly.com ... The Stranger's Bethany Jean Clement reviews Boat Street Cafe and Kitchen (3131 Western Ave). thestranger.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tavolata Makes 'Bon Appetit' Hot List

The June issue of Bon Appetit magazine epicurious.com/bonappetit lists 10 restaurants as "summer's hotspots," new foodie destinations around the country. Prices range from $10 pizzas at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles to the $54 and $67 prix fixe menus at Bijoux in Dallas. Here's the full list:

Momofuku Ssam Bar, 207 Second Ave., New York City
Central Michel Richard, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Trois, 1180 Peachtree St., Atlanta
Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, 641 N. Highland Ave., and 6602 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
Tavolata, 2323 Second Ave., Seattle
Radda Trattoria, 1265 Alpine Ave., Boulder, Colo.
Aigre Doux Restaurant & Bakery, 230 W. Kinzie St., Chicago
Bijoux, 5450 West Lovers Lane, Suite 225, Dallas
Osteria, 640 N. Broad St., Philadelphia
Ad Hoc, 6476 Washington St., Yountville, Calif. (Napa Valley)

IN THE NEWS: The Stranger's Sage Van Wing reviews The Station Bistro (4910 Leary Ave NW), while Bethany Jean Clement visits Moe Bar (925 E Pike St.) and and Marti Jonjak notes Hangar Cafe (6261 13th Ave S.). ... Angela Garbes reports that International District's Japanese restaurant Takohachi closed June 2. "The owner retired and, according to one of the charming and carefully hand-lettered signs that hang on the restaurant's walls, a new Japanese restaurant will open in the spot on 610 South Jackson Street later this summer." ... The paper spotlights Ali Jafari, owner of Noosh Cafe (1629 Queen Anne Ave N). thestranger.com ... Seattle Weekly's Voracious blog visits TASTE Restaurant (1300 First Ave), while Mike Seely highlights the wondrous hot dog stands outside Safeco Field, including Joe's Gourmet Grilled Dogs. seattleweekly.com ... The PI's Leslie Kelly rounds up restaurants with a view. seattlepi.com ... The Seattle Times' Nancy Leson gives two stars in her review of Hae-Nam Kalbi & Calamari (15001 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline), while Nicole Tsong stops by Kurry King (5503 Airport Way S., Seattle). Leson also notes the closing of Redmond's Bar Shu, and reports, "Don't burst into tears if you stop by The Harvest Vine (2701 E. Madison St., Seattle, or www.harvestvine.com) late this month and find the place closed. Owners Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez and Carolin Messier de Jiménez are planning a quick upstairs remodel, closing June 24 and expecting to reopen July 9. They're rebuilding their worn copper bar, reconfiguring the pantry station, replacing stoves and counters and gutting the tile floor — which Carolin installed herself when they opened their celebrated tapas bar on a shoestring budget in 1998. As if that isn't action enough for Carolin and her big Basque, how about this: They're also opening a second place, in Belltown, having recently signed the lease for Txori (say "chor-ee" — it means bird), a darling 900-square-foot space at 2227 Second Ave. If all goes well, the tiny spot will debut in August as a San Sebastian-styled pinchos bar — complete with French doors that open onto a small rear deck, blessedly off the beaten path from Belltown's noise and foot-traffic." seattletimes.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Longtime Ivar's Chowder Cook Retires

IN THE NEWS: The Post-Intelligencer's Leslie Kelly reviews Portage (2209 Queen Anne Ave. N.) and also interviews Einar Larson, who's hanging up his apron after 45 years of cooking chowder at the legendary Ivar's. ... Kelly blogs that Patrick Rolfe, a sous chef at Palisade, is one of the finalists on the new season of The Next Food Network Star, which debuted June 3 ... Cheap Eats stops by Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon (8917 Roosevelt Way N.E.). seattlepi.com ... The Seattle Times' Providence Cicero gives one and a half stars to Southlake Grill (1253 Thomas St., Seattle) and stops by Snoose Junction Pizzeria (2305 N.W. Market St., Seattle). ... The paper also notes the opening of Crow restaurant spinoff Betty (1507 Queen Anne Ave. N) as well as the June 2 closing of chef-owner Mike Manley's Union Bay Cafe after 21 years. Chef-owner David Hahne's Italian restaurant Enotria takes over the space in July. seattletimes.com ... The Stranger's Bethany Jean Clement does the Twist Restaurant and Lounge (2313 First Ave, Seattle), while Chris McCann considers Ephesus (5245 California Ave SW, Seattle) and Kokoras Greek Grill (6400 1/2 California Ave SW, Seattle). thestranger.com ... Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman reviews Salvadorian spot Mi Chalateca (9710 Aurora Ave. N.) and Padi Indonesian Cafe (5004 University Way N.E.), while Aja Pecknold stops by Umi Sake House (2230 First Ave.). And from Kauffman's Voracious blog, "Super Bowl Noodle House, the 10-year-old Ravenna shop with the great Thai soup noodles and better menu descriptions, is closing (May 31), six months after owner Parichad Khumpitak died of liver cancer. But it won't be shut for long. Mary Hoy has taken over the business, and will reopen Super Bowl on June 8 as Big Bowl Noodle House, with much the same menu. If you're free for lunch on June 11, stop by (from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), when all proceeds from your bowl of Old Faithful or M-80 noodles will go to cancer research." seattleweekly.com ... Starbucks Corp. will begin making its espresso drinks with reduced-fat milk instead of whole milk by the end of the year, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. The Seattle-based coffee giant currently makes its lattes with whole milk, unless otherwise requested. Later this year, Starbucks will use 2 percent milk, unless otherwise requested, at all its North American locations. Starbucks officials said they're making the switch because of customer demand for 2 percent milk, which has less fat and fewer calories. Currently, according to Starbucks.com, a 16-ounce (grande) Starbucks Caffe Mocha drink made with whole milk has 400 calories and one made with nonfat milk has 330 calories, the paper reports.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com