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La Colonial Kickstarts a Filipino Tapas Bar

Joseph Bayley hopes to turn his pop-up into a restaurant via crowdfunding

Chef Joseph Bayley is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund La Colonial, a Spanish-style tapas bar with Filipino flavors.
La Colonial/FB

On Tuesday, February 27, chef Joseph Bayley launches a Kickstarter campaign with a free event at Pike Place Market in hopes of growing La Colonial from a recurring pop-up to a full-fledged Spanish tapas bar with Filipino flavors. He’s aiming to crowdfund $25,000; if he can achieve that, he’ll receive at least $250,000 from nonprofit lender Craft3, whose mission involves making “loans in Oregon and Washington to strengthen the resilience of businesses, families and nonprofits, including those without access to traditional financing.”

There’s nothing in Seattle quite like La Colonial. It’s essentially a love letter to one of Bayley’s former workplaces, New York tapas bar Boqueria, written with an emphasis on Bayley’s own Filipino heritage. Past menus have included scallop kinilaw (diver scallop in coconut vinaigrette with scallions and blood) and caldreta, a winter short-rib stew with caramelized onion broth, garbanzo, and pepper. The $50 Kickstarter reward is a hot sauce made with Filipino cane vinegar and roasted chiles, tomatoes, and tomatillos. “It’s not exactly Filipino, but it’s mine,” Bayley said. “It’s an example of everything the restaurant’s going to be.”

The Kickstarter campaign has nine rewards total, from membership to the Colonial Club with private dinners and other perks for $500 to a full restaurant buyout for $4000 to a spot on a “founders wall” for $100 — Bayley does woodworking on the side, and plans to print supporters’ names on refinished planks from wooden pallets.

The winner of Food Network’s Chopped competition in 2009, Bayley said he’s hoping to purchase an existing restaurant, but won’t say yet if he has a particular one in mind. He’s always said he hoped to open a brick-and-mortar in the Central District, though. If all goes well, La Colonial could be up and running by late summer. Meanwhile, the business has a new website where diners can sign up for updates, and Bayley will continue drumming up support on Tuesday at the Atrium Kitchen from 6 to 8 p.m. with free paella, pintxos, and sangria.

It’s a good time to be a Filipino food fan in Seattle: As local writer Leslie Kelly suggested in December, chefs seem to be increasing the presence of the cuisine here. Capitol Hill speakeasy Knee High Stocking Co. recently expanded its Filipino menu, a Tom Douglas alum just opened Filipino-Hawaiian fusion restaurant Barkada in Edmonds, and Hood Famous Bakeshop went from pop-up to Ballard bakery in 2016 on the strength of gorgeous ube cheesecake. Some food trucks incorporate elements from the Philippines, like the Southern fusion of Kiss My Grits.

And in the pop-up realm, Lahi, Musang, and Ilaw are all making serious noise for the Filipino food community. It’d be shocking and disappointing if none of the major players involved in those three groups went on to open their own restaurants.

Update, 3/5/18: La Colonial’s Kickstarter campaign is live.