Woodinville’s Herbfarm, the iconic farm-to-table restaurant founded by chef Ron Zimmerman and wife and business partner Carrie Van Dyck in 1986, is for sale. The couple hope to sell their business, which is located on the Willows Lodge property, as a turnkey operation, but Van Dyck says there’s no subtext they’re “running way from a fire.”
“We’re still a profitable, well-run, popular place to dine. It’s a very successful adventure we’ve been on for 30-plus years. And we’re not stepping away tomorrow,” Van Dyck says. She and Zimmerman are just thinking about their next steps in life as they get older, and they figure a transition to a new owner will be easier in the short term, rather than a decade down the road.
The Herbfarm’s meals are ardently local, multi-course affairs served with wine, beer, or herbal botanical pairings. The restaurant’s one-and-a-half acre garden on site, and five-acre farm off site provide many of the ingredients, while foragers and local artisans contribute products like cheese, wasabi, and wild mushrooms. Esteemed chef Jerry Traunfeld (Poppy, Lionhead) ran the kitchen for 17 years; Chris Weber is currently in charge. He’s earned praise for his cooking, including a three-star review from The Seattle Times in 2014. (Critic Providence Cicero said the food was good, but she could have done with less upselling of upcoming dinners and rooms at the Willows Lodge.) The Herbfarm is one of only 55 AAA 5-Diamond restaurants in the U.S.
The prospectus for the sale also lists the company’s famous wine cellar, with 20,000 bottles from around the world, as a major selling point (less one bottle of 1927 Graham’s Port, infamously stolen by a customer in 2011).
Van Dyck says that a new owner may put their own touches on the place, just as she and Zimmerman have a unique approach. “We’re looking for someone who will be dedicated to attempting to create the finest dining destination in the world, every night,” Van Dyck says.
- All coverage of the Herbfarm [ESEA]
- Iconic Brand, Farm to Table Fine Dining Restaurant in WA Wine Country [BizBuySell]
- Seattle Times “Bewitched, Bothered and Bemused” by the Herbfarm [ESEA]
- Van Dyck’s Double Degrees Handy For Restaurant Work [ESEA]
- Seattle’s Most Expensive: Herbfarm’s $22,000 Wine [ESEA]
- Herbfarm Diner Encounters, Sucks Down 1927 Bottle of Port [ESEA]
- The Herbfarm [Official]