Ethan Stowell's fancy flagship restaurant Union is closing. If you were walking around Seattle with money falling out of your pockets, you'd be harder and harder pressed to find anywhere to (legally) spend it—witness the recent closure of Brasa and the reformatting of formerly superposh Lampreia and Mistral.

Stowell's then opening Staple & Fancy Mercantile in Ballard in July—a new restaurant that looks to be less spendy, more along the lines of his places Anchovies & Olives and How to Cook a Wolf.

Stowell's new Ballard restaurant will be next door to the new oyster bar coming from Renee Erickson of the Boat Street Cafe, which is going to be called the Walrus and the Carpenter. (What, no ampersand?) A few more details on Erickson's new place are over on myballard.com.

Note: The one-word restaurant name is officially dead; if you're not Something and/& Something Else, you're totally 15 minutes ago.

The press release from Stowell Enterprises is after the jump.

Big News at Ethan Stowell Restaurants

Farewell Union and Welcome Staple & Fancy Mercantile

SEATTLE, May 21, 2010 — After service on Saturday, May 29, chef Ethan Stowell will close the doors at Union in downtown Seattle. Opened in 2003, Union was the launch pad for Stowell’s career, garnering the young chef tremendous acclaim both locally and nationally for his simple and elegant cooking style.

“My concept of a restaurant has grown and changed over the last seven years,” says Stowell. “I’ve really enjoyed going into neighborhoods and creating an intimate and unique dining experience and that’s the direction that Ethan Stowell Restaurants is going. It’s very bittersweet.”

Since early 2007, Stowell has opened three restaurants that showcase his restrained style of Italian cooking that focuses on clean flavors, stellar products, house-made pastas, and seasonal ingredients. Tavolàta is a modern pasta eatery, How to Cook a Wolf, a small plate experience, and Anchovies & Olives, a seafood and pasta mecca.

Never one to slow down, Stowell, along with his wife and business partner, Angela Stowell, are slated to open Staple & Fancy Mercantile in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood in early July.

“I’ve spent the last few years bouncing around and cooking in all my restaurants,” says Stowell, “and I’m really looking forward to having my own kitchen again. I’ll be cooking five or six nights a week at the new spot, and I can’t wait.”

With the opening of Staple & Fancy Mercantile, Stowell will be taking on more of a restaurateur/executive chef role at the other Ethan Stowell Restaurants. He will be promoting the chef de cuisines, Brandon Kirksey (Tavolàta), Matt Fortner (How to Cook a Wolf), and Charles Walpole (Anchovies & Olives) to chef.

“These guys are all such talented cooks and hard workers,” says Stowell. “It’s time they’re judged on their own accord and receive the accolades for their work at each individual restaurant.”


Built in the early 1900’s and home to Kolstrand Marine Supply Company for nearly 80 years, The Kolstrand Building, located at 4742 Ballard Avenue NW, acts as an historic landmark for the growing neighborhood. With renovations currently in the works, this project has allowed long time friends and colleagues, Stowell and Boat Street Cafe’s Renee Erickson, to create side-by-side restaurants. Staple & Fancy Mercantile will occupy a 1500 square foot space on the south corner of the building and The Walrus and the Carpenter, an oyster bar from Erickson, will occupy the 900 square foot space next door. The two restaurants will be separated by a sliding glass door that they plan to have open most times allowing for interaction and energy to flow between the two spaces.

The interior of Staple & Fancy Mercantile is a collaboration between Stowell, Mark Wolf of Wolf Design, and Henry Walters of Drome Design. The concept plays off the buildings architectural features, exposed hand-painted brick, masonry block walls, original wood plank floors, and leaded glass. The front of the restaurant will open completely creating an al fresco feeling in the long room. Wood booths will run down the center of the room with tabletops made from wood reclaimed from the restoration of the building. All the metal accents are being created from reclaimed metal found at the building. The kitchen will be open and feature large industrial lighting.

Staple & Fancy Mercantile will serve dinner seven nights a week from 5pm — 11pm. The dining room will seat 35 and a small bar will accommodate eight guests. There will be two menu options offered at the restaurant. One will be a limited a la carte menu that is printed daily. And the other option, which Stowell encourages guests to partake in, will be a chef’s choice dining experience of four-course for $45. These items will be created off menu and served family style.

Elwood Thompson, who has been in the kitchen at Union the last four years, will take on chef de cuisine duties at Staple & Fancy Mercantile. Sennen David, who runs the wine programs at Union, Anchovies & Olives, and Tavolàta, will be taking on general manager and wine duties at the restaurant. The wine list will be Euro-centric with a respectable showing of Northwest wines and have an emphasis on older vintages and esoteric wines, much like the award-winning list at Union.

Award-winning chef Renee Erickson (Boat Street Cafe/Boat Street Pickles) has partnered with general manager Jeremy Price and developer Chad Dale to bring an oyster bar to Ballard. The Walrus and the Carpenter blends the sophistication of France with the casual comfort of a local fishing pub with seating for 45 guests. In addition to oysters, the menu will include locally harvested clams and mussels, house smoked fish, frites, and specialty meats. A full selection of wine, craft cocktails, and beer will also be available. Dinner will be served daily from 4pm until late. Brunch will be served Sunday from10am-2pm.

The Kolstrand Building, located at the south end of Ballard Avenue between the thriving historic district and industrial core was primarily used for metal machinery and distribution in its day. The two-story building continues to display its original architectural features with exposed hand-painted brick, masonry block walls, and exposed old growth re-sawn lumber throughout which will be showcased in the restaurants. A full height basement with arched brick passages and board formed concrete walls run the entire perimeter. The property is complete with a vacant parcel, backing onto Shilshole Ave NW, used for parking and storage. To learn more, visit www.thekolstrandbuilding.com.

Wolf Design has been providing creative solutions for residential and commercial clients locally and nationally since 2006. With a strong focus on restaurant and retail design, owner Mark Wolf draws from over 20 years of experience to discover unconventional and inspiring solutions for every new project.

Drome Design is a Belltown-based studio specializing in the design of homes and urban commercial tenant improvement projects. Owner, Henry Walters, is committed to quality over quantity, an honest, rational expression of modern materials & methods and impeccable personal service.