After 10 years, new owners and a new chef with a huge local following — Miles James of Dot’s fame — are entering the picture at Capitol Hill gastropub Quinn’s Pub (1001 E Pike St.), an excellent beer bar and all-around burger place as well as a carnivore’s dream thanks to magnificently meaty items like a $30 off-menu ultra burger and a wild boar sloppy joe.
Charles and Peter Kim, brothers in their thirties who grew up in family-run restaurants in Seattle, are finalizing a deal this week with Staples Restaurant Group, run by Scott and Heather Staples, to purchase Quinn’s Pub, where the Kims have been regulars for some time. They’ve offered existing employment to all Quinn’s staff, and will also acquire attached events venue Sole Repair Shop. Scott told Eater the Kims “love Quinn’s for what it is, so they don’t have any intentions to turn it into a club or something like that.”
Scott and Heather, meanwhile, will focus their energies on their other properties: Fremont’s Uneeda Burger, Capitol Hill’s Zoe Events, and Feed Co. Burgers, an upscale burger joint that currently has locations in Redmond and the Central District but could expand with another one or two outposts in the near future. Heather is working on polishing the branding and design at the restaurants, including finalizing Feed Co.’s 20-seat outdoor heated patio in the Central District. Scott will also train and consult for Quinn’s for at least a month if not longer.
Part of that will involve getting chef Miles James up to speed. James has owned his own meat-centric restaurants, including Dot’s Delicatessen then Dot’s Charcuterie and Bistrot in Fremont, as well as his most recent attempt, Dot’s Butcher and Deli, which closed in Pike Place Market last May after only a year. He replaces former Quinn’s chef Chris Lobkovich, who left in December to travel. Jeremy Ravetz, Staples’ corporate chef with extensive experience in Thomas Keller and Michael Mina kitchens, has been holding things down in the interim.
Scott had set in motion James’ hire before the Kims made an offer on the restaurant, and he’s confident it will be a good fit. “James is a father, he’s established, he’s stable, which is nice speaking as a restaurant owner because you get a lot of young chefs who are looking to make their mark and sometimes it’s hard to guide them,” he said. “I feel like James I don’t have to guide because he’s owned his own business and understands the relationship between creativity and the bottom line.” James’ sensibility also comes from the French kitchen, which suits Quinn’s vibe.
Staying the course at Quinn’s doesn’t mean the new owners won’t make any changes, though. Lunch is one addition Scott recommended they consider for this spring; another is an increased focus on local produce to balance the business’ historical reverence for meat. “The new owners are experienced in the industry but they’re not chefs, so they’re looking to James to run with what Quinn’s is,” Scott said.
On the other hand, Quinn’s is also taking a month to honor its legacy with Throwback Thursday tributes. Past favorites like house bagels with foie gras cream cheese and a beef tongue Philly with fontina cheese “whiz” will return from the archives each Thursday from January 25 through February 22. “We pulled things that had been popular or even semi-popular because they were so odd, like pigface nuggets,” Scott said, referring to the braised pig’s head fritters that will be on the special menu. “Back in those days we were doing pig spleen, cow balls, everything. People would order them just to put them on the table to dare friends to eat them.”
Scott and Heather opened Quinn’s in 2007, and named it after their son. “It’s a hard thing to let go for sure,” Scott said, but he’s looking forward to focusing on growing Feed Co. Burgers in particular.
This story will be updated when the deal is finalized.
Correction, 1/31/18: This story misstated the location of Uneeda Burger, which is in Fremont, not Ballard.