One well-regarded Seattle restaurant is smoking and baking its way into a bit of an overhaul. After closing temporarily in September, Fremont’s Manolin — known for its popular, locally sourced seafood dishes — has now become a pop-up called Old Salt Fish and Bagels. On the menu is a selection of bagel sandwiches with lox and other smoked fish, as well as spreads such as cream cheese with calabrian chili, urfa bieber, aleppo, and garlic. There’s also a short menu of coffee drinks to go.
Rising chef Liz Kenyon had the idea to create the breakfast-focused operation, leaning into Manolin’s seafood expertise. The bagel shop gets its fish from sustainable, local sources: Neah Bay black cod, Idaho whole trout, and Keta and wild caught Coho salmon from the Nooksack Tribe. The restaurant then brought in an old used Blodgett deck oven to make the bagels, and started testing dough, with wire racks scattered throughout the once-full dining room to cool the finished products. It took two months of trial and error before Kenyon and company were ready to roll, but the new menu already seems to be gaining some traction, selling out regularly since opening last Thursday.
Old Salt now joins an increasingly crowded Seattle bagel scene, which has seen a few new players make an impression in recent years, including the Instagram shop-turned-bakery Mt Bagel, Rubinstein, and Zylberschtein’s, just to name a few. Co-owner Joe Sundberg says that if the new menu continue to be a hit, he and Kenyon may carry some of the items over to the main restaurant, which the team hopes to open back up by next spring.
Manolin’s shift also follows a recent trend of established restaurants completely changing their concepts for the takeout world — Bainbridge Island’s Hitchcock recently turned into a Bavarian burger restaurant called Burgerhaus, Central District French restaurant L’Oursin has experimented with a fried chicken and sandwich pop-up called Old Scratch, and fine dining classic Canlis has had multiple pop-up concepts since the spring. With dining rooms across Washington closed until at least January 4, per Gov. Jay Inslee’s newly-extended order, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more chefs and owners follow suit.
“We needed to do something fast-casual that we could run with minimal staff, to get us through what is turning out to be a dreadful winter for restaurants in Seattle,” says Sundberg. “As for Manolin, we can’t wait for spring. When the sun comes back out, we’ll reopen with expanded outdoor dining in our courtyard. Just gotta survive until then.”
- Manolin [Official]