Fans of whole animal fare take note. The nose-to-tail pop-up Fowl and Offal from rising chef Evan Leichtling is planning to open a restaurant in Columbia City called Off Alley this spring with dishes such as pig brain “Scotch egg,” mussels in a fish head broth, and grilled lamb tongues with chanterelles. It’ll take over the tiny spot on Rainier Ave recently vacated by La Teranga. (Those who love that excellent Senegalese place should note that the message on the restaurant’s voicemail says it’s moving soon and still doing catering, not closing up shop permanently, though details on the new location haven’t been revealed.)
Leichtling earned his bones working in several acclaimed Seattle restaurants over the past decade, including Lark, Harvest Vine, and the now-closed Le Bête. After moving to Europe in 2014 to work at the three-Michelin starred Akelarre at San Sebastian, he came back with an affinity for French fare and natural wines, and then eventually launched the Fowl and Offal pop-up last summer, which focuses on local ingredients and whole animal butchery.
Those influences should appear at Off Alley. Leitchling says he will work directly with local farmers and producers, and the “chalkboard” menu will refresh constantly depending on ingredient availability and seasonality. There will be shared plates and the aforementioned low intervention wines.
Since the spot on Rainier Ave is so small (Leitchling euphemistically calls it “European-sized”), expect limited reservations to start. “We want to create a space that encourages customers to walk in either for a glass of wine and a snack or a full meal, very much focusing on building a sustainable relationship with the Columbia City community,” he says.