There’s a cozy new cafe coming to Capitol Hill soon in a familiar space. Finch and Pine plans to open this May from two restaurant industry vets, emphasizing sustainable vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian fare. It will take over the location on Bellevue Avenue currently occupied by Cafe Barjot, which is closing up shop permanently March 31, as reported by Capitol Hill Seattle.
When it opens, Finch and Pine will begin as mainly a daytime café and brunch spot, featuring Zoka coffee and espresso drinks. Diners can expect items such as tartines (maple-smoked salmon with english cucumber, watermelon radish, and fried capers, for example), as well as wild huckleberry pancakes and a rotating selection of baked eggs. There will also be baked goods, such as peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies and mochi muffins.
Co-owner and chef Sara Moran — who has worked at highly acclaimed restaurants such as Terra Plata, Staple & Fancy, Tarsan i Jane, and Sitka & Spruce — says the dishes will be prepared “simply and beautifully,” while including plenty of gluten-free options. Her partner Paolo Gentile works in the fine wine and spirits industry; on the drinks side, there will be brunch mimosas to start, along with wine and beer.
The duo arrived in Seattle from Florida seven years ago and instantly fell in love with the sweeping landscapes and local produce. As such, much of the Finch and Pine menu will revolve around gathering ingredients from local purveyors. ”Our cuisine will highlight some of the best of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer: seasonally grown produce, meaty mushrooms, wild berries, briny mollusks, and fresh seafood,” says Moran.
Finch and Pine will start as a daytime cafe, but eventually plans to branch out with dinner service by 2022, offering small plates, rotating tasting menus, regional wines, and cocktails both indoors and on the outdoor patio. Moran notes the vibe will stay “casual” throughout the gradual evolution, and there will only be some small cosmetic changes to the restaurant. “We love the unique space with the open windows, red tiled horseshoe bar and concrete-wooden fixtures,” she says. “We’ll be adding some greenery, but will overall be keeping the warm and inviting atmosphere it currently has.”
Though opening up any new dining venture during a pandemic is a challenge, it helps that Finch and Pine already got a big stamp of approval from Cafe Barjot owner Wylie Bush. His restaurant had a strong seven-year run, receiving some critical praise for its devotion to sourcing local ingredients and excellent tartines, but he’s excited that the stewards of the space are pursuing a similar philosophy. “Their restaurant will very much be the place I had hoped Barjot would become but with the pushing of time and circumstance never quite achieved,” Bush wrote in a recent Instagram post.