It’s not often that an update on the booming Ethan Stowell Restaurants empire includes a closure, but the group behind such gems as Staple and Fancy and How to Cook a Wolf announced a twofer today: Capitol Hill’s seafood-focused Anchovies and Olives and adjacent pizzeria Bar Cotto are for sale. The 2,809-square-foot combination includes two bars and two patios and could be combined or kept separate, according to a press release; Travis Rosenthal is the contact person for more information about the sale.
Chef-restaurateur Stowell, who’s been a semifinalist more than once for the elite James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurateur, framed the decision as one of intentional growth, as a chance to narrow the company’s vision and to shift the focus — and staff — away from underperforming restaurants. “We don’t feel like a failure about it. It’s not that we can’t keep these restaurants going if we want, but we’re also not going to go out and tell everyone it’s the busiest and most profitable restaurant we have,” Stowell told Eater. “If it was, we wouldn’t be closing it.” He’s excited to send the team, including chef Kyl Haselbauer, to other locations, though he declined to reveal where staff would end up.
Anchovies and Olives (one of the city’s top spots to slurp oysters) and Bar Cotto (an essential Seattle pizza place) may yet outlive their association with Ethan Stowell Restaurants. The next owner could decide to create a new business or two, but could also negotiate to retain the existing brands. Stowell said he’d recommend and prefer that someone buy the space and do their own thing with it, but said if somebody loves the restaurants and wants to keep them alive independently, he’d consider it. Meanwhile, he suggested fans looking for a similarly seafood-centric experience within the Stowell collection check out Marine Hardware, Staple and Fancy, and Goldfinch Tavern. As for Capitol Hill, he expected Rione XIII and the second outpost of Tavolàta to welcome loyal customers.
Josh Henderson, whose Huxley Wallace Collective has been quickly reshaping the restaurant landscape in Seattle over the past couple years, also hit speed bumps on the road to growth recently, as his trio of Vestal, Poulet Galore, and Cantine closed in South Lake Union. Stowell said he expects to see a lot more restaurant turnover in the coming days, since the cost of construction is so expensive and taking over a pre-built space is more affordable. “It happens in all other major cities and it’ll start to happen here,” he predicted.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Kyl Haselbauer’s first name.