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Canlis Hires Linda Milagros Violago, the First Woman to Lead Its Lauded Wine Service

Plus, Pike Place mainstay Don and Joe’s Meats announces pending sale, and Westland Distillery partners with the Seattle Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena

A portrait of sommelier Linda Milagros Violago with her hand resting on her chin.
Linda Milagros Violago’s hospitality career spans multiple countries, including Denmark, Japan, and Spain.
Jeremy P. Beasley/Canlis

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Meet the First Woman to Lead Canlis’s Lauded Wine Service

The new era at Canlis continues. As Seattle Magazine reported, the Queen Anne fine-dining classic recently hired renowned sommelier ​​Linda Milagros Violago to run the restaurant’s wine service, replacing Nelson Daquip, who departed in May. Violago is now the first woman in Canlis’s 71-year-old history to head up the award-winning program, which consists of seven sommeliers and around 22,000 bottles.

The Winnipeg-born Violago has traveled far and wide during her hospitality career, working at such acclaimed spots as Trotter’s in Chicago, Contra in New York, and Mugaritz in Spain, in addition to stints in Denmark, Japan, and Australia. After a long hiatus during the pandemic, she tells Eater Seattle that she’s excited to get back into the mix, and looks forward to engaging with the Canlis team on the deep narrative of wine selection, particularly smaller producers and “underrated” or “undervalued” regions and varieties.

“We want there to be more recognition and mention of the people and place and the stories behind the wines,” Violago says. “I want to encourage people (our team, our guests) to be curious and feel at ease to talk about wine and just be open to having fun — whatever that means to each guest ... We need to consider how the wine is going to support the food but also be comfortable with the fact that there is no right answer and be flexible with options.”

Violago also arrives at a moment of significant change for Canlis. After Brady Williams left in February to open his own place, the restaurant hired its first-ever female executive head chef Aisha Ibrahim to lead the kitchen, and reopened its iconic dining room for indoor service in July after it was closed for more than a year. Now, the new team is coming together in fuller force. “If you met Linda, if you knew what kind of person she was, if you knew what she was capable of in the world of wine, you’d be as excited as we are,” Brian Canlis tells Eater Seattle. “A world class wine program requires world class people. We’re thrilled to work with her.”

Looks Like Pike Place Butcher Favorite Don and Joe’s Meats Is for Sale

Sad news for fans of a Pike Place mainstay. The decades-old butchery Don and Joe’s Meats is for sale, owner Don Kuzaro Jr. announced on the business’s Facebook page, saying he was finally ready sell the place and retire: “After 50 plus years at Don & Joe’s Meats (the last 35 as the sole owner), my wife says she needs help with the Grandkids.” Long before artisanal butchers popped up left and right in Seattle, Don and Joe’s provided the city with a wide variety of carefully sourced cuts, offering the likes of honeycomb tripe and duck fat, as well as goose, quail, pheasant, and other game birds. It’s been a friendly spot that appealed to both tourists and locals alike, with famed Seattle restaurateurs such as Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell counted among the regulars. Kuzaro’s Facebook message mentioned that he’s currently looking for a buyer; Eater Seattle reached out for further info and will update this item as more details emerge.

Westland Distillery Partners With the Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena

Seattle’s new NHL team now has a local spirits maker behind it. On Wednesday, September 8, Westland Distillery — known for its single-malt whiskey — announced a partnership with Seattle Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena. As part of the move, there will be a namesake Westland Whiskey Bar serving cocktails and located in the venue’s Mt. Baker Club at Climate Pledge, which plans to open in October for concerts, right before the hockey season. In addition, Westland will sell an annual Seattle Kraken bottling of its main single malt at the distillery’s SoDo tasting room and local retailers sometime this fall. The whiskey specialist becomes the latest alcohol brand to jump onboard the Kraken ship, following Woodinville-based winemaker Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Westland Distillery

2931 1st Avenue South, , WA 98134 (206) 767-7250 Visit Website

Don & Joe's Meats

85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 682-7670 Visit Website


2576 Aurora Avenue North, , WA 98109 (206) 283-3313 Visit Website