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New Organic Spot Sweetgrass Sows Seeds in Seattle

The first outpost should open this spring.

Sweetgrass will be opening in Pioneer Square in the north half of the former New Orleans.
Sweetgrass will be opening in Pioneer Square in the north half of the former New Orleans.

First time restaurateurs Colleen Kerr and Michael Moon have teamed up with veteran local chef Brian O’Connor (Hollywood TavernSkillet Diner) to open two health focused restaurants in Downtown Seattle this spring and early summer. Kerr and Moon, who have been married since 2013, will open the first Sweetgrass at the lobby level of the Metropolitan Tower Apartments, just off Westlake and next door to the intimate wine bar Le CavisteThe second Sweetgrass should open on 1st Avenue, right next to Damn the Weather in Pioneer Square.

Kerr is the vice president of external affairs and government affairs for Washington State University. And Moon is a former business consultant and West Point-trained military member. So why restaurants? Well, the two are not total strangers to the food and restaurant industries. Kerr’s brother, Bob, is part-owner of the iconic Grand Central Bakery and runs the Oregon branch.

The Sweetgrass menu will focus on local, organic, whole foods and seasonal proteins: from salmon to beef. "I wanted it to taste good and I didn’t want it to be a gut bomb," says Kerr. "It’s whole food. It’s not processed. It’s not over-prepared, but you won’t feel like you are eating rabbit food."

An extensive juice bar, including to-go growler service, is also in-the-works. "We want to do juice growlers so you can have it at home. Or you can have it in a kale margarita or a bellini." In lieu of sandwiches, there will be bread service. However, Kerr won't sell her brother’s bread. She chose the Seattle-based gluten free bakery Nuflours, instead. "There are whole group of friends that are vegetarian, pescaterian, gluten free, on the paleo diet," she said. "We want that crowd to feel comfortable coming in here."

The plan is to operate Westlake from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Pioneer Square will be breakfast and lunch affair: open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday. If all goes as planned, they hope to eventually be open every day. Look for a May debut for Westlake Sweetgrass. The Pioneer Square edition is expected in late July or early August.

Contributed by Chris Nishiwaki.