Zephyr Paquette, a longtime fixture in Seattle's restaurant scene, is planning her own restaurant, that will also function as an ambitious community concept. She tells Eater that she plans to sign a lease this week to take over the Easy Joe's space on Capitol Hill. Paquette has been cooking at Poco Wine Room of late, but spent nearly three years as sous chef at Tamara Murphy's Elliott Bay Cafe, and before that cooked at Carol Nockold's Ballard restaurant Dandelion, and at Cafe Flora.
Her restaurant, dubbed Skelly and the Bean, will offer dinner service Wednesday through Sunday, as well as Sunday brunch. The rest of the week, says Paquette, the 10th Avenue space will serve as an incubator where the city's "young bucks" can hold pop-up dinners or other events that showcase young cooks looking to strike out on their own. Paquette also wants to hold classes in the space, which she hopes to take over by November 1 and open by the end of the year.
Paquette says her concepts "are smart business practices but keep my ethics true and just." she plans to raise funds by using a membership component where future patrons could purchase a $1,000 gift cards, an approach similar to Thierry Rautureau's when he opened Luc last year. The card provides a membership component as well; an iPad-based system will swipe the card and read a customer's dietary restrictions and other preferences.
"I don't want it to feel like a Groupon; I want it to feel like a wine club," says Paquette.
And what about the food? Skelly & the Bean will always have pickles on the table for diners to snack on the minute they sit down. No surprise ? the sustainability-minded Paquette will cook "farm to table, with a concept on fun." She plans on having an ever-changing daily risotto, and desserts that include make-your-own s'mores served with a miniature Hibachi grill. Entrees will be in the $17 to $30 range.
The name is a tribute to Paquette's first investor, a seven-year-old friend who gave her $10 from his piggy bank upon hearing she was planning to open a restaurant.
Easy Joe's owner Derek Schaubroeck says he is relocating the (relatively new) casual burger spot down to Pioneer Square, hopefully to a spot at 1st and Cherry. He plans to do weekday lunch service and be a spot for crowds headed to the nearby arenas.