New shell bar, new chef: Good old Coastal Kitchen throws a 1,000-oyster party before big reveal

Coastal Kitchen’s Jeremy Hardy and Tiah Holt-Hardy toasted the final days of the Capitol Hill food+drink elder statesman’s 20-year makeover Thursday night with a 15th Ave E sidewalk party that doled out 1,000 free oysters in celebration of the restaurant’s new shell bar. They also celebrated a wedding anniversary.

“I wanted to make it sexier,” Jeremy Hardy said Thursday night — presumably talking about Coastal’s new look and new offerings.

That shell bar and a list of changes to Coastal will debut Saturday following a slightly longer than expected closure while contractors set about rebuilding the space.

Here’s what you’ll find in the revamped Coastal Kitchen:

  • new oyster bar
  • new cocktail bar
  • outdoor seating off the front of the restaurant
  • new bamboo flooring in the dining room
  • a private dining room into the main dining room
  • new flooring in the kitchen (the most popular new feature for staff, we’re told)
  • a roll-up door to connect the restaurant with 15th Ave E

CHS coverage of things food+drink tends toward the new — it’s the news biz, after all. The changes at Coastal Kitchen rise in importance, we think, because of the significant investment being made in a business that has already thrived on Capitol Hill for 20 years. Add the evolving food and drink landscape of 15th Ave E — welcome Rione XIII, welcome The Wandering Goose – and you have a recipe for the kind of story we get a little too excited about. Critics who point out that Coastal is a CHS advertiser? True. One of many. Critics who point out that there are better places to have breakfast on Capitol Hill and you can’t understand why people line up at Coastal Kitchen? Hey, good on you. Enjoy your no-wait brunch elsewhere. Hardy estimates 1.5 million people have been served at Coastal Kitchen over the years. We’re marking the change.

Jeremy and Tiah celebrate wedded bliss — and a revamped Coastal Kitchen

On top of the construction budget of $40,000, according to city records, the Hardys also invested in the Kitchen’s kitchen — a space that may have slipped a notch since the break-up of the partnership behind the restaurant in 2009. 

New executive chef Jason Jones now mans the ship after a tour of duty at Urbane. Coastal says Jones also served in the kitchens at Poppy, The Jones, Nell’s and The Herbfarm.

The menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner have also been revamped. Hardy told us this summer the new space was designed to showcase the freshness of Coastal’s seafood including a cutting and shucking station right in the middle of the action.

Thursday night, the celebration of oysters on the half shell was in full swing though the restaurant was far from ready for its Saturday debut. You can imagine a busy Friday ahead of Saturday’s re-opening. Coastal is also planning a true grand opening party on October 30th with a portion of sales benefitting Lifelong AIDS Alliance. 

With all the changes, for Hardy, the most important part of the process might be the things that will stay the same. “My favorite part of this remodel process has been last Sunday when, even with lots of restaurant openings for employment, 100% of our staff returned to Coastal,” Hardy wites “Very cool. Besides that, I have really enjoyed the creative process and working with the tradesmen and women.”


2 thoughts on “New shell bar, new chef: Good old Coastal Kitchen throws a 1,000-oyster party before big reveal

  1. Looks like they’re keeping their awkward two door setup. I really wish they’d get rid of one of them, it’s very confusing the first time you go there, and this would be the perfect opportunity to knock it out.