Kaspar and Nancy Donier have sold their building in Lower Queen Anne and moved their 10-year-old special events and catering operation, Kaspar's, to Magnolia.
The entire block where they had been operating has been sold for development, according to Nancy. In December the couple finalized the company's move to the space formerly occupied by an Italian restaurant, The Villa, in north Magnolia at the intersection of 34th Ave. W. and W. Emerson. They took over the empty Bill the Butcher store across the street as well, and use its parking lot for their catering trucks. "We live in Magnolia, so we knew that these facilities were available," she said.
Kaspar, born in Switzerland, met Nancy in Canada, where she was an event planner at the Hotel Vancouver. After they married, he became executive chef at the Four Seasons in Houston and she earned her CPA credentials. In 1989, they moved to Seattle and opened their first restaurant in Belltown, with a menu that emphasized farm-to-table cooking, a new concept at the time.
For years, Kaspar's was in the front rank of Seattle dinner houses, then transitioned to a full-time special events & catering operation about a decade ago. As expected for any longstanding enterprise with dozens of employees, Kaspar's spawned a legion of prominent alumni. Among them, Katie Gallegos, who just turned up as Chef de Cuisine at Orfeo, the new Kevin Davis restaurant.
Although they had pretty much run out of room at their Queen Anne location, the Doniers had not intended to sell the building, designed by celebrity architect Roland Terry, and which had been the site of a well-known French restaurant called Le Tastevin. But a local developer, John Teutsch, took over the neighboring Elks Lodge, and made the Doniers an offer they felt they couldn't refuse.
They have already turned The Villa's indoor garden into a commercial kitchen. The butcher shop became a warehouse and office space, and the original restaurant has been converted into a special events venue that seats about 60. Meantime, Kaspar's has been named the official catering company for the historic Stimson Green Mansion on Capitol Hill, and operates Olde Stone Stables in Issaquah. Some 40 people work for the company full time.
Kaspar's is one of the few local caterers with the capacity to serve hundreds of people at remote sites for large-scale corporate events. The smaller Magnolia space will be opened to the public twice a month for lunch, Donier said.