“For me, the idea is ‘Soviet’ — not communist but 1970s and when I was growing up. New ventures and new type of foods might as well start with a place that is very open minded.”
Welcome to Capitol Hill, comrade.
First-time restauranteur Andrey Tokar has chosen a retail corner above Broadway at Pike to create Vostok Dumpling House, a cafe-style Russian eatery that will specialize in Eastern European-styled dumplings — both savory and sweet — and beer from the homeland.
“I grew up in the last few years of the Soviet Union, so for me, it is nostalgia,” Tokar said of the venture partnering him with South Seattle Community College culinary program product Anna Motso.
Growing up in the Western Ukraine, Tokar is hoping to elevate his comfort food into a profitable new business starting with the Capitol Hill restaurant currently under construction in the former Little Shanghai space next to Marination Station in the Harvard Market shopping center.
[mappress mapid=”11″]”It’s like ravioli – filled with cheese, meat, really hearty. Very Russian,” he says.
On the menu, Vostok visitors will find a selection of dumplings to fill up on — and solve a sweet tooth or two.
The Siberian pelmini dumpling are meat-filled and a hearty dish. Made with you choice of four different sauces, you’ll get a gut-challenging bowl for around $8 to $13 depending on what goodness awaits inside.
The vareniki will fill a different need — “You can put whatever you can imagine inside of them,” Tokar promises. Some will be savory like sauerkraut and potato. Others, sweet, like Grandma’s Apple Pie with spiced caramel sauce.
On the tap, expect four selections plus special bottled offerings from around the country and the globe as Tokar plans to bring in some lesser known brewers from around the country and plenty of goods from Eastern Europe.
The Vostok plan is to get a start on the Hill and see how things are going after the first year — eventually, Tokar has big free market dumpling plans that include dumpling house pelmini and vareniki on area grocery shelves.
But there’s plenty of work left to do before that. The Vostok buildout is on track for a late April or early May opening. Tokar and crew are redoing the space to include three tables with fixed stools and a series of window counters to make room for around 20 inside. The space shares the large patio with neighbor Marination and has the option to eventually add patio seating that will allow customers to enjoy a Ukrainian pilsner out front.
There will also likely be competition. CHS has talked with another venture with hopes of bringing their version of Russian dumplings to the Hill. The Russian dumpling is, suddenly, a thing. Tokar says the appeal is simple.
“This is a comfort food. But I’m not going to go over to mom’s house to get it.”
You can see pictures of the construction and learn more on Vostok Dumpling House’s Facebook page.
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