There will soon be a revival of sorts on Capitol Hill. The team behind popular Southern restaurant Witness on Broadway East has purchased the old Broadway Grill space down the street (314 Broadway E), which has remained dormant for the past six years. As Capitol Hill Blog first reported, Witness owner Gregg Holcomb and chef Jesse Elliott are planning a new restaurant tentatively called Olmstead in that spot, with room for karaoke, trivia, sports watching, and maybe even some dancing.
“We are hoping to create a space that will become a neighborhood staple for brunch, lunch and dinner,” Elliott tells Eater Seattle, adding that the menu will focus on American classics that take full advantage of the kitchen’s large rotisserie oven. Customers can expect housemade pastrami, along with possibly some old Broadway Grill favorites, such as the chicken and brie sandwich with caramelized onions. “I don’t want to redo too much of the old menu — just pay an homage here and there,” says Elliott. The new owners aim to open the new place by October.
The former Broadway Grill (eventually renamed the Grill on Broadway) had a long and proud 22-year run, with an unfortunate coda. It was once a mainstay of the LGBTQ restaurant and nightlife scene on Capitol Hill in the 1990s. When it closed in 2013, The Stranger wrote a loving eulogy for the Broadway Grill, including its “racy menu of grilled chicken with whipped yams” and “a glass chandelier that looked like Carmen Miranda’s headgear on steroids.” But, in its final years, the restaurant also fell victim to a credit card hacking scheme tied to a breach in the business’s point of sale system (the man behind the hack was sentenced to 27 years in prison).
It’s good to hear that a new era is beginning after years of uncertainty. Holcomb and Elliott have built a strong following with the lively Witness, which is on Eater Seattle’s list of best fried chicken thanks in part to its excellent bourbon maple syrup. It also sounds like they have a strong respect for Broadway Grill’s history, with a vision for the future. “We plan on hosting events, so a lot of the menu will be sharable plates that go well with sports or large gatherings,” says Elliott. “Once the restaurant settles in we plan on hosting pop-ups and special dinners regularly.”