So you're co-owner and head chef of the new Citizen in Lower Queen Anne. How does it feel?
Kind of like I just had a baby. You think about it constantly and you care about it constantly. Like when a spider dangled over the alarm detector at the Hangar Cafe—my first restaurant—I had to wake up in the middle of the night and talk to all the police who showed up. You know, you wake up in the middle of the night and you're thinking about your restaurant. But, overall, it's such a great experience that it's totally worth it.
What was this building before it was a cafe?
It was an office-type space for a collision center. There were a couple of offices and random open spaces. My co-owner completely stripped off the drywall and power-blasted the paint off the roof. At first it was hard for me to see her vision. She found these cranberry boxes on the side of the road in Oregon and stacked them on top of each other to create a place to show off our wines. She even dismantled her own furniture to create shelving. This was originally going to be a coffee shop, then it eventually turned into a coffee and crepes place, and now we also serve wine and Vietnamese sandwiches.
Are you able to enjoy yourself when you're cooking on deadline?
Absolutely. We were also fortunate enough to be able to create the kind of kitchen we always wanted. Crepe-making is all in the wrists. If you accidentally tear a crepe, you can still make it beautiful. You can really do anything with a crepe.
What's the most popular crepe on the menu?
People seem to really like the mushroom crepe. It's filled with mushroom cream sauce, caramelized onions, paprika-infused goat cheese, and spinach.