This week, the wrestling-themed watering hole Lariat Bar opens in White Center, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel gets a swanky new speakeasy, and Cookie's Country Chicken has opened its new Ballard location. Plus, beloved local spots Kamei, Pho Hai Yen, The Shambles, and Tup Tim Thai say goodbye. Read on for all of that and more of the latest culinary updates. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.
NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS
Cookie's Country Chicken
Last weekend, the cult-favorite, finger-lickin'-good pop-up Cookie's Country Chicken soft-opened its new Ballard brick-and-mortar location, which features an expanded menu with more bowl concepts, biscuits, hot items, and soup specials, plus free parking and warm indoor seating. Check out our list of fried chicken places in Seattle for more restaurants to get crispy breaded poultry.
The downtown Fairmont Olympic Hotel just added a dark, swanky speakeasy-style bar, accessible from a bookcase inside the Olympic Bar. The cozy spot, which seats 30, offers aged, limited-edition, and hard-to-find spirits, as well as cocktails like the "Naked & Famous" (Palenqueros Omar Nolasco Espadin Mezcal, Aperol, aged yellow Chartreuse, and lime) and the "Betsy Ross" (Delamain XO Cognac, Barros 20 Year Tawny Port, Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire, and Bogart’s Bitters).
Let's get ready to rumble: This highly anticipated wrestling-themed bar opened in White Center last Saturday and reopened again yesterday after temporarily closing due to "family matters and minor building issues," according to Eater Seattle. A project of three bartender friends, the watering hole boasts wrestling memorabilia (including vintage posters and a life-sized likeness of André the Giant), stage lighting, skeeball, pinball machines, and even a small ring that will be used for live music performances and TV wrestling commentary.
Nekter Juice Bar
This Southern California-based juice bar chain opened a location above the Capitol Hill Station building on Wednesday, serving açaí bowls, fresh juices, smoothies, wellness shots, and cleanse packages.
A year after Bastille reopened as this Ballard cafe modeled on trendy counter-service spots like Los Angeles's Sqirl and Gjusta, it's finally opening its back bar Bar Sabine, offering casual bites like crispy chickpeas, house-made pickles, za'atar fries, crab dolmas, and merguez lamb smash burgers alongside craft cocktails, beer, and wine. According to the bar's website and social media, the bar will be closed this weekend due to a vaccinated employee testing positive for breakthrough COVID-19.
Pickup, delivery, dine-in
Bellevue's popular Taiwanese and Chinese restaurant Facing East, which has been praised by the likes of Ali Wong, is departing its current location for a smaller spot with a larger kitchen just five minutes away. The new spot, set to open sometime next week, will be takeout only and features work from artists Eian Hsu, Caroline Lee Liu, and Charlotte Hong.
This beloved family-owned Japanese restaurant in West Seattle plans to close after over 20 years of business in early 2022. The spot's building, which was built in 1924 and also houses Lee’s Asian Restaurant and Naked Crepe, is slated to be demolished and redeveloped into a seven-story mixed-use development.
Pho Hai Yen
Another mom-and-pop spot is saying goodbye. After 15 years of business, this restaurant known for its excellent bún bò huế is likely closing by the end of 2021. The owners told Vanishing Seattle that they are ready to move on from running the business after their mother, owner Judy Nguyen, passed away this summer.
This popular neighborhood bar and butcher announced on Instagram yesterday that they are not renewing their lease at the end of the year, writing, "If we are unable to find a buyer, we will be forced to permanently close the restaurant. We are currently in discussions with some phenomenally talented folks to take over where we are leaving off. As of today, negotiations are not finalized, and thus we are still seeking someone to continue the work of The Shambles in 2022. Our intent is to stay open until December 24...Thank you to our wonderful friends that have visited The Shambles and shared food and drinks with us over the years. We built this place in the hopes that we could share it with you and build community together, and we are very proud of the work that we have done here. We are disappointed to make this announcement, but if we are able to find the right folks to take over we hope to continue to enjoy The Shambles alongside you for years to come." The post also reminded fans that the Shambles is offering Thanksgiving turkeys for pre-order and noted that it will be offering Christmas rib roasts and hosting a last "blowout beer dinner" with Holy Mountain on December 12.
Tup Tim Thai
This longtime Thai staple told the Seattle P-I this week that it will be closing at its current location after 33 years after December 18, due to its building being torn down in January. Owner Nat Chien says that the restaurant may open at another location in the future.
OTHER FOOD NEWS
Dough Zone expanding to Portland
Washington's rapidly expanding dumpling destination Dough Zone, known for its juicy xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and sheng jian bao (pan-fried steamed dumplings), has announced that it plans to open its largest location to date in Portland in spring 2022.
Washington cideries win big at the Portland International Cider Cup
The Northwest Cider Association announced the 2021 winners of the Portland International Cider Cup yesterday, and several Washington cideries took home medals. Among the notable wins: Puget Sound Cider won Small Cidery of the Year, Yonder Cider won a silver medal for its Yonder Bar Anniversary Blend, Finnriver Farm & Cider won a gold medal for its Traditional Perry, and Seattle Cider won a silver medal for both its City Fruit and Pumpkin Spice ciders.
POP-UPS AND EVENTS
The Northwest Chocolate Festival
This gathering of artisan chocolate makers actually extends beyond the Northwest to more than 20 countries around the globe. It's virtual this year, so you won't get to eat the samples, but you can still look forward to educational workshops, seminars, and cooking classes with cacao experts.
Retail Wine Sale
Peruse vintages selected from Serafina's cellar by sommelier Salomon Navarro, perfect for pairing with your holiday feasts. Afterwards, kick back with a special Saturday happy hour in the bar.
Serafina, Saturday, 12:30-3:30 pm
Just in time for Thanksgiving (and the subsequent holidays), Urban Craft Uprising will host this specialty food show for the fifth year in a row, promising over 75 local vendors slinging everything from caramels to small-batch pickles to nut butters.
Magnuson Park Hangar 30, Saturday, 10 am-5 pm
Nordo Presents: Curiouser and Curiouser
Immerse yourself in the whimsical world of Lewis Carroll's classic novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass with two original dinner theater performances from Nordo. First, you'll enjoy dinner in Wonderland at "The Feast of The Queens" in the Culinarium. After your meal, wander "Down the Rabbit Hole" for "an interactive subterranean experience."
Cafe Nordo, Thursday-Saturday through December 19, 7:30-10:30 pm
The Alice - An Immersive Cocktail Experience
Take a jaunt down the rabbit hole into this "immersive cocktail adventure" inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The experience will feature two custom cocktails, riddles, challenges, an "Eat Me" cake, a rose-painting activity, and other "curious and curiouser" oddities.
Knee High Stocking Co., November 24-December 30
The James Beard-nominated "whiskey and bitters emporium" imagines what a certain Disney princess might be like as a stoner with its apple-red "Snow White's Bong" cocktail, made with apple brandy, quinquina, falernum, Drambuie, quince, sparkling rosé, and caramel smoke, garnished with a gummy worm, and served in bong-like glassware.
The all-day cafe and specialty market's weekly sandwich special is a brined and roasted lamb sandwich with zucchini, dill, cilantro, scallions, harissa, golden raisin purée and feta on toasted ciabatta.