Sleepy Vashon Island will soon be home to a new restaurant called Bramble House, and there's some impressive pedigree behind the opening.
Owner Lia Lira is a former Top Chef contestant ("I was on the third season, but that was ages ago now," she says) and 20-year industry veteran. Lira has spent time in New York working at the River Cafe and Jean-Georges Restaurants as a trainer on the corporate team and later as culinary director. Recently she worked as culinary director for Sugar Mountain, whose holdings include Beecher's Handmade Cheese. Bramble House marks her homecoming, as she grew up splitting time between Tacoma and Vashon.
Lira started working on Bramble House, at the north end of town (17123 Vashon Hwy SW), last August. The restaurant is set in a house built in 1943, so much of her time has been spent converting the space. "The kitchen had to be gutted, but the rest is really keeping the feeling of the original house while updating for a bit of comfort and accessibility," Lira says.
Bramble House will skew toward modern American fare. "While working for Jean-Georges I was lucky to do openings all over the world, and am influenced by a variety of ingredients and techniques I learned along the way," Lira says. "To me that's what modern American cooking is, the food that comes from the vast cultural mix that we're lucky enough to experience here in the U.S. Hopefully I can do a good job representing my take on it."
Expect the restaurant to open "soon," once Lira has finished hiring and training staff and putting the finishing touches on the build out. She says at the beginning service will consist of dinner from Wednesday through Sunday plus brunch on the weekends. "I love brunch, so I'm excited to be offering it on the island," Lira explains.