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Taste of the Town
Tom Douglas is serious about pizza
Seattle Times restaurant critic
Serious? Nah. Tom Douglas says he's just looking to have fun when he and his wife and business partner, Jackie Cross, open their pizza parlor, Serious Pie, later this summer.
Located just off the corner of Fourth Avenue and Virginia Street, in a storefront below the Dahlia Lounge and its adjacent bakery, Serious Pie will host 40 seats, a rotating lineup of cooks from Tom Douglas Restaurants and — here's the too-much-fun part — a weekly "open mike" night. That's when pizzaiola wannabes (yes, that means you, Gianni Q. Public), can strut their pizza-making stuff.
What inspired him to open a pizza joint? "Every cook I knows loves to make pizza," Douglas says. And, on a more practical note, they were running out of space in their existing bread kitchen, says the restaurateur/entrepreneur whose breadstuffs have long been made in-house, served at the Dahlia, Etta's, Palace Kitchen and Lola, and sold at the Dahlia Bakery. "We couldn't make enough to satisfy our own needs — let alone other people's." And then the Dahlia's bread-oven went buns-up.
A new one, imported from France, just arrived "at the dock," says Douglas, and will soon be installed. And once the (newly expanded) bread-baking facility is back in business (they've been using Essential's bread in the interim), it'll be time to get the pie show going. ETA: sometime between late August and early September, serving pies 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.
They've got a Crush on him
Did you see Seattle's own Jason Wilson, playing cover-boy in the July issue of Food & Wine? Wilson, now at a newsstand near you, is chef/owner of Crush (2319 E. Madison St.; 206-302-7874, www.crushonmadison.com), and stands tall among the talented 10 dubbed "Best New Chefs 2006."
This critic certainly isn't surprised to see Wilson — whose restaurant received a rare 3 ˝-star review from me last year — rubbing shoulders with this year's hot-listers, including David Chang, owner of Momofuku (www.eatmomofuku.com), an East Village noodle bar that ranks high on my "Best New York City Restaurants" list.
In his personal profile, Wilson told Food &Wine he'd probably be "broke on a beach with a surfboard" if he hadn't become a chef — one who graciously provided the food-glossy's readers with a recipe for grilled spiced lamb chops. And you've got to hand it to him for giving props to his favorite cheap-eat: the Double Everythang Burger at Seattle's own CC's Burgers (2600 E. Union St., 206-324-2119).
For 20 years, Denise Breen's tiny University Village diner, Mom's (4570 University Village Plaza N.E., Seattle; 206-522-7324), has been the friendly kitchen you always wished you came home to after school: the one with "Mom-made" soups, meatloaf sandwiches and hand-dipped milkshakes at the ready. But on June 30, she's closing up shop and headed for (early) retirement. Well, semi-retirement, says Breen, 51, who invites friends and fans to her shop for a final farewell on closing day, when she'll serve free ice-cream sundaes from 2 to 4 p.m.
There, this self-described former "Earth Mama" hopes to open D'Mom's — a spot she envisions as a kind of counter-culture café. One "with coffee, tea and a consignment shop, a kind of mentor-center for other retired women where I can provided mother-daughter advice — and a place for kids to run amok."
Greg Campbell, chef-exec at Kirkland's Third Floor Fish Café since 1999, is now its owner. And longtime owner and general manager Doug Guiberson is now officially retired — again. (The first time out was after 25 years as GM at Canlis.)
Guiberson, 68, stood at the helm of the Fish Café (205 Lake St. S., 425-822-3553; www.thirdfloorfishcafe.com) for nine years and says he'll be consulting there "for a while yet." Meanwhile, he's keeping busy pursuing passions outside the restaurant arena: fishing, hiking and traveling. Taking on his position as GM is Brian McCarty, who's been aboard as waiter, then manager, for nearly a decade.
Campbell, 38, is ecstatic to be able to call the place his own. "I assumed Doug would never leave, the place is such a part of him," he says, noting, "I was at the point where I was looking to see what my next option was, and when I approached him and asked if I could buy out his part of the business he said, 'I wouldn't want to sell it to anybody else.' " The Third Floor Fish Café is open for dinner nightly beginning at 5 p.m. (lounge opens at 4 p.m.).
Wilde Rover (says) come on over
Hey! Another Irish pub! Wilde Rover Irish Pub & Restaurant (111 Central Way, Kirkland, 425-822-8940; www.wilderover.com), opened in May in the former Waimea Brewing Co. (which you might remember as the former Kirkland Roaster).
Owners Bill Whelan (a Dubliner, late of Paddy Coyne's and The Irish Immigrant) and Benjamin Pittman (a Kirkland native who managed at Kell's), invite you to raise a pint, throw a dart, play a game of pool, listen to live music, hang out on the patio and lift a forkful of Guinness stew — or something more seasonal, like some mustard-glazed salmon. Open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.
Shoreline residents are thrilled about Hills' with the good word coming in fast about this casual 40-seat bistro and wine shop in Richmond Beach. Hills' Food & Wine (1843 N.W. Richmond Beach Road, Shoreline; 206-542-6353) opened in May as the reincarnation of Sweet Basil's.
Owner Chris Hill purchased the place in October, closed it in April, did a thorough remodel, and, with the help of chef and business partner Celestino Jimenez — late of Union Square Grill — re-opened in May serving lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.
Hill and Jimenez have a long involved work history that began when they met nearly 20 years ago in the kitchen at the original Cucina! Cucina! on Lake Union. Today, Jimenez runs the kitchen while Hill helps with the cooking and oversees the front of the house. Their menu runs the gamut of Northwest favorites, with prices that don't even hit $10 by day and average about $12 at night, topping out at $21.50.
In addition to burgers and steaks, there's seafood chowder, Dungeness crab and shrimp Louie, salmon (grilled or in a sandwich) and beer-battered halibut (stuffed in tacos or presented as fish 'n chips).
About a dozen wines priced at under $20 a bottle compose the wine list, or you can buy something off the shop's shelf and pay $8 corkage. Hills' is open for lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; dinner 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and till 10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; and Sunday brunch 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Asteroid has landed
Now open in Fremont: the recently relocated Asteroid Café, known in its larger incarnation as Asteroid (3601 Fremont Ave. N. Suite 207, 206-547-2514). Owner Marlin Hathaway and crew are serving dinner and drinks. Open from 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Nancy Leson: 206-464-8838 or email@example.com
More columns are available at seattletimes.com/nancyleson
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company