In an apparent effort to shift further from avant garde brewpub to neighborhood watering hole, Mollusk has announced a rebranding: The restaurant on Dexter Ave. N. will henceforth be called Dexter Brewpub, while the beer will continue to be released under the Mollusk label.
The company made the announcement on social media over the weekend, with five days’ worth of discounted beers set to kick off menu changes starting today. New dishes include bacon mac and cheese, barbecue ribs, and a beer-battered fish sandwich, all a far cry from the esoteric dishes that graced the menu when the restaurant first opened, like Nachos Picasso with delicata squash, smoked avocado creme, and garlic crisps.
Mollusk is the slick, 5,000-square-foot spin-off of chef/co-owner Travis Kukull and brewer/co-owner Cody Morris’s first venture, Sodo nanobrewery Epic Ales and the tiny, ever-adventurous Gastropod kitchen. But it’s been a tough road for Mollusk, which has struggled to get customers in the door despite a largely positive critical reception for both the initial food menu and the exciting beer program.
As a result, the South Lake Union venture has undergone a series of changes since it opened in October 2015, bearing less and less resemblance to its predecessor as time passes. Early in 2016, the restaurant dropped its lunch service and cut staff, saying the neighborhood wasn't dense enough to support the midday meal program. A few months later, the business reinstated tipping, doing away with a service charge. Then, last summer, Kukull departed the kitchen, and Morris oversaw an overhaul of the menu that moved away from Kukull’s style of inventive cooking to a more crowd-pleasing gastropub-style approach. The introduction of Dexter Brewpub seems right in line with that trajectory.