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Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Taste of the Town / Nancy Leson
Creating Via Tribunali a block from his flagship café and roasting plant was a selfish endeavor, McConnell insists. "I didn't do this to make money. I've traveled to Naples a lot and wanted to bring back something for me from a place that I love."
To that end he imported materials and manpower to build a "very authentic, very traditional" Neapolitan wood-fired pizza oven. A couple of Italian pizzaiola have been imported too, along with the ingredients needed to build those authentic-tasting pies meant to star on a limited menu. That menu will also list a handful of antipasto, salad and pastas complemented by a mostly Italian wine list.
With the assistance of Seattle restaurateur (and not-so-silent business partner) Peter Lamb and celebrated salumi-maker Armandino Batali (whose cured meats will flavor the menu), McConnell's latest enterprise has success written all over it. Via Tribunali will be open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Lunch and nightly service are in the offing.
Fact or Fiction: 727 Pine to become Ruth's Chris?
With the rumor mill's gears reaching cacophonous levels, I must ask, "Is it true what they say about 727 Pine, the grand restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Seattle: that it's soon to be the new Seattle home of Ruth's Chris Steak House?" Word from reliable sources inside the hotel and out confirm what I've been hearing, though no one wants to go on record as saying it's a done deal.
Meanwhile, inquiring minds want to know: Given that 727 Pine (727 Pine St., 206-774-6400) is the Hyatt's sole restaurant, will Ruth's Chris serve breakfast? Now that should be one terrific plate of steak and eggs! While I might eventually find myself with egg on my face for saying so, the latest word is the changeover won't occur until January a date that jibes with what Anne Queyrouze has to say on the subject.
Speaking through an interpreter (her press agent), Queyrouze, co-owner of the local Ruth's Chris franchise (800 Fifth Ave., Seattle; 206-624-8524), confirms that plans are afoot to move the Seattle restaurant from its big, dark, long-standing location.
They are looking at several locations, she told said agent, adding that the company's objective is "to select the best site possible to better serve its loyal and dedicated customers of 15 years."
With the busy holiday season approaching, official word is that "We are excited about the wonderful opportunities in the Seattle market and look forward to a great holiday business in our current location."
Catering business bears fruit
Located just off the busy intersection where soccer moms meet commuter traffic (at East Lake Sammamish Parkway and Redmond Way), family-friendly Pomegranate will serve "the food you crave at home but never have time to make."
Expect such savories as Southern-fried chicken and grits, shrimp hot-pot, sopas with chili verde, "Jewish Mama" chicken soup with rye toast and chicken livers, and Joe's sticky pork chops. A grab-and-go counter offering housemade breads and pastries, sandwiches, salads and other pre-made specialties should appeal to the on-the-go crowd.
Those willing to sit and relax can do so at rustic wood tables, sipping wine or cocktails while watching the antics in the open kitchen. Despite the plethora of "theater kitchens" in restaurants everywhere, Zimmer points out that "most people have never witnessed the scale of what goes on in a catering kitchen."
They'll get a chance to see that here, via a wall of windows with a view of Lisa Dupar's 14,000-square-foot catering kitchen. Pomegranate will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
What's the big I.D.?
Reader Tom Adamsen writes: "This weekend my 58-year-old mom, visiting from Norway, was denied a beer at Von's because she didn't have a proper I.D. card. She doesn't walk around town with her passport, and her Norwegian I.D. card was not accepted. She was not the only one there being carded; a couple in their mid-60s were also being asked for I.D. Are they lacking common sense at Von's, misinterpreting the liquor law or both?"
It's a cockamamie world, Tom. We just live in it. According to a manager at Von's Grand City Cafe (619 Pine St., Seattle; 206-621-8667), the staff was playing by the house rules, which he defined as follows: "If you want to sit in the bar, we card everybody. In the dining room we'll card you if you look under 40."
As for denying disgruntled patrons who do not have "proper identification" even those old enough to be his grandparents the manager ruefully reported: "That's the policy and that's what we do. We deal with [the unhappy-guest] problem every night."
As for your question, "Are the folks at Von's lacking common sense?" Well Skål! I'd drink to that, while granting that it's the policy at many bars and taverns to card all who enter. (Once, in my early 30s, I was asked to leave Fremont's Red Door Alehouse after ordering a burger and an iced tea because I'd left my identification at home. They were quite apologetic and I didn't forget my driver's license the next time.)
Was the treatment given your mother a misinterpretation of the law? To answer that query I took a trip to the Washington State Liquor Control Board's Web site and found the handy-dandy section, "Frequently Asked Questions: Information for Liquor and Tobacco Licensees and the Public" (www.liq.wa.gov/enforcement/enforcementQA.asp).
In answer to question No. 87 "What kind of I.D. can be accepted for liquor service?" John Law states that to be acceptable, identification must include the person's photograph, date of birth and signature. Legally acceptable identification to establish age for the purpose of liquor sales includes the following:
A driver's license or instruction permit issued by any U.S. state or Canadian province. (If the customer's Washington state license has expired, he/she must also show a valid temporary driver's license with the expired card.)
A U.S. military I.D. card, including active duty, reserve, retired and/or dependent.
A Merchant Marine I.D. card issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
A state liquor control I.D. An official age identification card issued by the liquor control authority of any U.S. state or Canadian province.
A state I.D. card. An official state or Canadian province I. D. card.
An official passport issued by any nation.
If, as you say, your mom's Norwegian I.D. included her photo, date of birth and signature, I'd say Von's owe you and your mom a beer and an apology.
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