Renee Erickson Eliminates Tipping
This week, chef Renee Erickson, along with business partners Jeremy Price and Chad Dale, announced that, effective May 4, tipping will be eliminated at her restaurants the Whale Wins, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and Barnacle. Instead, customers will pay an 18.5 percent service charge. In a statement, the owners said that:
• Service charge dollars can be shared among all of our employees. This means a smaller wage gap between back of the house and front of the house workers.
• A Service charge will help us to provide comprehensive benefits to employees, including health insurance and matching retirement savings accounts.
• Implementing a Service charge will allow us to pay employees a higher minimum/guaranteed wage, while maintaining everyone's current total take home pay.
While acknowledging that this new policy was influenced by the Federal Affordable Care Act and Seattle's new minimum wage ordinance, Erickson and partners said they are making the change "mostly because we believe that it is right thing to do for our employees, and by extension, our customers."
Entre Amis French Bistrot has opened its doors on Queen Anne, in the space that was once Portage and, most recently, Cioppino. Owner Benjamin Bernard-Luneau has brought in chef Matt Cyr of Chicago's Girl and Goat to execute a small, frequently changing menu with as many local, seasonal, and organic ingredients as possible.
Exciting news: Darren McGill, owner of Rainier Beach's Nate's Wings & Waffles, has begun construction of a second location in the Central District/South Capitol Hill. McGill tells CHS that the new space, which he plans to open this fall, will have "an extended menu and a full bar."
Chef Kevin Davis and his partner, Terresa Davis, owners of downtown's Steelhead Diner and Blueacre Seafood, announced that they will take over the former Brasa space in Belltown to open Orfeo. No menu details yet, though the space, which has been vacant for more than five years, is home to a wood-burning oven that will hopefully be revived. The Davises are aiming for an August opening.
Venessa Goldberg Awarded a James Beard Foundation Women in Culinary Leadership Grant
Chef Venessa Goldberg, proprietor of the former food truck How Pickle Got out of a Jam, was recently awarded a Women in Culinary Leadership Grant from the James Beard Foundation. WICL allows women in the culinary industry to build in-depth back-of-house and front-of-house skills through a mentorship program. Goldberg will complete a yearlong training with Tom Douglas Restaurants. Before she begins, though, she's hosting a pop-up dinner next Thursday, April 30, in the former La Bête/Spaghetti Western space on Capitol Hill. Called Orchard, the dinner is "five courses of spring-inspired fare," including roast chicken with rhubarb, pea vine, and fava beans. Cost is $48, and you can make reservations here.