The Sixgill, the highly-anticipated new taphouse from the couple behind The Noble Fir, could open in mere weeks, but one thing that's certain right now is the chef. He's Eric Stover, a former Brave Horse Tavern cook who has deep roots in the Tom Douglas empire, having worked at both Lola and Dahlia Lounge before heading to Brave Horse, which he opened with head chef Brian Walczyk (who is heading to another Tom Douglas project). He also spent a year at Ocho familiarizing himself with small plates, which he says he fell in love with.
He met Sixgill owners Ellen Kelly and Rick Weersing when they first opened The Noble Fir in Ballard:
I really like their approach to craft beer in that they don't make craft beer inaccessible; they try to make it super accessible and it's something that you can really tell that they love.
Kelly's adoration was mutual. She says, "To have a chef that loves beer and wants to figure out ways to incorporate beer and hard cider into his menu is really a bonus for us."
Stover will be in charge of the creative side of the kitchen.
What we're looking to do is write the menu for food really around what we're going to put on tap. [Sixgill] is going to have 36 taps, six of which will be cider, so that's an incredible amount of beverage on tap. We want to make sure we have food that's not only accessible to those beers and ciders, but familiar to our guests. I really do believe in sustainable, regional, seasonal approaches to menus, but also, what do you like to eat when you drink?
Right off the bat, Stover says he'll be doing manila clams. "I'm going to cure pork jowl to go with it, use green garlic, pea vines, some tender spring herbs and then make a potato fennel broth." Dishes will likely range from $4 to $16.
Kelly and Weersing are shooting for a mid-April opening, something construction always ends up dictating. Hours will be Tuesday through Sunday, 4 to 11 pm with weekend brunch starting at 11 am.
The Sixgill, located in the Saturn building, will be 2400 square feet compared to Noble Fir's 1600 square foot space. According to Kelly:
We're still trying to keep it pretty intimate and warm, but still have that kind of contemporary Pacific Northwest feel. We want it to feel similar [to The Noble Fir], but not the same. There's a similar style of woodwork.
She also notes that The Sixgill space has floor-to-ceiling windows, just like The Noble Fir, so in contrast to what people think of as a traditional pub or bar, they'll get a lot of light.
And in the "similar but not the same" thread, just as The Noble Fir has hiking guides and laminated trail maps, The Sixgill (also native to Puget Sound) will have boating and water recreation guides as well as nautical charts.
Keeping track of their progress, including an official opening date, is as easy as following them on Facebook.