Shake Shack is Officially Coming to Seattle
The incredibly popular Danny Meyers chain recently announced a Seattle location, set to open sometime in 2018.
The announcement already has people freaking out, from venerable food writer Rebekah Denn on down to Eater Seattle, which described it as "HUGE NEWS." Eater also reports that, per Shake Shack's tradition of partnering with local restaurants, and in light of CEO Randy Garutti's friendship with Mark Canlis, there will likely be a Canlis collab. Sounds fancy.
Also freaking out, by the way, is our own Dan Savage. "This is Good News," he titled a recent post about the announcement, rejoicing that he would "finally be able to get a Chicago hot dog here, with celery salt—and no goddamn cream fucking cheese. Yay!" While I understand how a Seattle Dog could be challenging, I do have to admit that I'm surprised that Savage is throwing his lot in with the right-wing, Seattle-Dog-hating rabble.
Anyway, according to their website, he'll be able to get his Shack-cago Dog "in a striking freestanding building, just minutes away from Amazon Headquarters." That building will be at 2115 Westlake Ave.
Kraken Chef Keeps Going
Two weeks ago, Eater reported that Kraken Congee was closing, probably forever. With the departure of Chef Garrett Doherty, most people (including Kraken cook Jesse Smith and my friends at Leafly News who lunch there a lot) opined that there was no way to keep the concept going. Sad news.
Doherty, however, is going to keep going, just not with his signature Filipino cuisine. He'll be the new head chef at Jerry Traunfeld's Lionhead.
"Fans following Doherty in hopes of tasting his take on cuisines like Filipino should be aware that he's to stay the course as far as the menu is concerned, at least for now," warns Eater's Adam Callaghan. Callaghan also reports that Doherty's former partner, Shane Robinson, is tending bar at The Dray in Ballard—for now.
Derby Fires Up its Engines
Callaghan has been busy this week, and just posted a big preview of Derby, Ethan Stowell's new New American restaurant that's in a fancy members-only car club in SoDo. He reports that Thomas Dodd, most recently of Marjorie, is running the kitchen, and that he'll serve "mostly classic American comfort food with creative touches here and there for lunch, happy hour, dinner, and weekend brunch." Stowell also promises things like a beef and lamb bolognese paparadelle, poutine with red-eye gravy, and albacore crudo. Stowell tells Eater he hopes the restaurant will "really fill a hole," and, despite his odd choice of phrasing, I think he's right. Since Gastropod became Mollusk, the neighborhood hasn't really had anything fancy. Not sure it needs it, but I guess we'll find out!
Rider Rides in With Hotel Theodore
Chef David Nichols will helm a new restaurant in the "highly anticipated" Hotel Theodore, per their press release. It's called Rider, and it'll be on the corner of 7th and Pine. Nichols is joined in the front of the house by industry veteran Jonathan Fleming, most recently of Ciudad.
"Seattle was built on a foundation of logging and fishing and at Rider, under the direction of Nichols and Fleming, the bounty of the sea will meet the transformative power of an open wood-fired grill," they say.
That's not much of a thesis for a restaurant these days, but then PNW cuisine has never really had any unifying principles. Nichols is fresh from stints at Queen Anne Beerhall and the erstwhile Ernest Loves Agnes, which didn't fare so well, but it'll be interesting to see what direction he takes things here. I went to Outlier recently, and was forced to eat my assumption that hotel restaurants can't be good, so I'm not going to write Rider off preemptively. True, it will be a cavernous 3,000 sq. ft. affair, which doesn't always bode well, but they're promising seafood towers that "bring the Seattle fish market experience right to diners’ tables" and "artful yet approachable starters like crudo, smoked trout fritter, and beef tartare." So, who knows?
I remember the good old days when we decried Stumptown's arrival as "too much Portland," and vowed never to venture past Bauhaus. Now here we are, bemoaning the closure of one of the chain's two Capitol Hill locations. As Rich recently reported, the one on Pine Street "with the best sign" is done on the 20th. As commenter kasa noted, "that 12th Ave location is also 100% less enjoyable to hang out in." Yes, yes it is.
They Say Everyone Should Wait Tables Once
And it looks like, given current employment trends, that will be a reality before too long. The latest jobs report is out, and—spoiler alert!—it's not dominated by the coal and manufacturing jobs ol' Donnie promised to bring back.
"Restaurant jobs are on fire in 2017," the Atlantic writes, "growing faster than health care, construction, or manufacturing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calls this subsector 'food services and drinking places,' and the jobs are mostly at sit-down restaurants, which make up 50 percent of the category. "
While I think it should absolutely be a law that people have to wait tables once before turning 25, just so they can learn a little empathy, it's not exactly great news that the service economy is becoming most people's bread and butter.
"Compared to factory workers, restaurant staffers consistently receive lower wages, fewer benefits, are, in most cases, unable to unionize, and almost never receive parental leave," Eater's Daniela Galaraza observes. "The average job in the hospitality industry pays around $13 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the average manufacturing job pays $20 per hour."
Put more succinctly, the restaurant industry pays like shit, unless you're a server or bartender at a fancy place. Even then, it generally works you to the bone. Also, it's fraught with racial and gender-based disparities. Also, we're all fucked. See you at the Applebee's in hell.