Could Phinney Ridge be getting a restaurant that makes the city sit up and take notice? After half a decade working with the mighty talented Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi (Joule, Revel, Trove), Mark Schroder is going solo, and he’d like to work out his own style at a neighborhood restaurant on Greenwood Ave. He’s close: Schroder has taken the lease on Martino’s Smoked Meats, which closed recently at 7410 Greenwood Ave N. He hopes to open Opus Co. by late March or early April, a quick turnaround made possible by the limited amount of work to be done in a small space that was renovated within the past few years.
Schroder said he left his post as chef de cuisine at Capitol Hill’s Korean-style Trove in May to make his own way, working a stint at Gracia when the restaurant hunt took longer than expected. Paolo Campbell, the sous chef at Revel, is committed to joining the team shortly; Schroder said Yang and Chirchi are aware and supportive, as always. Expect Opus to feature a wood-fired grill, an open kitchen, 20 seats, a service bar, and not much else in the tight space, which suits Schroder as a first-time restaurateur.
“Small and neighborhood is very important for me, because I think it makes it easier to be a chef/owner and be there every day for a year for your first business,” Schroder told Eater. “And just be able to really work with your crew and know all of your guests and everything. Hopefully to be able to use a lot of different products and change the menu often.”
Speaking of different products, don’t expect to find much beef. Instead, Schroder said he’ll be working with local producers, including Wilderness Farms, to source whole pigs, lambs, chickens, and maybe some ducks, showing off the best the Northwest has to offer. Aside from a general umbrella of “American,” he can’t really say what his cooking style will be, but he’s looking forward to refining it as he goes. There will certainly be some Asian influence, though — five years with the Joule crew counts for plenty — and some midwestern, as Schroder hails from Illinois. Beer, wine, and a few rotating cocktails will make up the beverage program.
The restaurant will likely be open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday, another concession to the fact that this is Schroder’s first venture and he doesn’t want to get overwhelmed. He said he’s more likely to introduce brunch before adding lunch, but will see what the neighborhood wants. “I’m excited to build a reputation in the neighborhood and hopefully the city,” Schroder said. In the meantime, the neighborhood will probably be eager for signs of progress; check out the company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for the latest.