[Photo: Joe Sundberg]
Until recently, Stone Way's dinner options included barbeque, pizza, or a burrito from 7-11. Then in the fall of 2012, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi's Joule, and Renee Erickson's The Whale Wins opened in new constructions and people started to drive to instead of through the area. Last week, Russell's joined the neighborhood. And this summer, longtime The Walrus and the Carpenter general manager Joe Sundberg and The Whale Win's Rachel Johnson will open seafood-centric bar Manolin.
Eater chatted with Sundberg about the new project this morning. He worked at Erickson's Walrus for three years, from the time it opened until September of 2013 before amicably departing to focus on Manolin full-time. (Recognize Sundberg from this New York Times photo?) "Around May we sat down with Renee (Erickson) and Jeremy (Price) and I let the know my time was limited," he says. "I gave them a few months heads-up and we worked together on my departure. They've been nothing but supportive."
Current Whale Wins sous chef Alex Barkley will lead the kitchen crew. Although the menu is still in flux Sundberg says it will focus on small plates and fresh fish, including ceviche and crudo. A woodfired grill is also being installed to prepare octopus and whole fish. The bar program will center around sparkling wine, and spirits from the southern hemisphere, like good rum and tequila.
The 900-square-foot spot sits off the road and is entered through a courtyard. The dining room will seat 40 inside, with a garage door that rolls onto a patio that will hold an additional 15 or 20 guests.
Sundberg and Johnson, who are "partners in life and in business, we've been together for nine years," Sundberg says, are in the process of renovating the space themselves. The pair, who named the bar after the boy in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, had been dreaming up their own place for five years. "We were both happy with what we were doing, but things progressed," Sundberg says. "A lot of people who work in restaurants want to open restaurants, but not everyone gets the chance to do it."
Originally searching for a Ballard location that was close to home, a friend showed the couple a property near 36th and Stone Way. The space has changed hands several times over the years, "there's some crazy murals, and a lot of paint everywhere," Sundberg says. This is the first time it will include a kitchen. Sundberg and Johnson signed the lease two-and-a-half months ago and started the buildout about a month ago.
Manolin's hours will be from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. six days a week (and closed either Sunday or Monday.) When's it opening? "July is reasonable," Sundberg says. Come on, summer.
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