There’s the happiest of partnerships blooming across Capitol Hill — and it is spreading to Portland.
Monica Dimas is putting what she hopes are the final touches for Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches this week, her latest symbiotic relationship with the drink-focused culinary creations of Rachel Marshall, creator of Rachel’s Ginger Beer and part of the ownership behind Montana and Nacho Borracho.
“It’s helped us grow together,” Dimas tells CHS. “Rachel’s business has become even more successful. It’s nice to be part of.
With the opening of Sunset — expected soooooon — Dimas will provide the food to Marshall’s drink at each of the three Capitol Hill venues.
Sunset will add a fried chicken sandwich counter inside Rachel’s Ginger Beer at 12th Ave Arts.
The plan sounds delicious:
The lineup of chicken sandwiches includes the classic, topped with dill pickles, mayo, and cabbage slaw, and variations like the gluten-free number, crusted with cornmeal and topped with cucumber, yogurt, and pickled peppers. The culty-popular General Tso taco at Neon Taco inspired a similar sandwich, the chicken topped with cilantro and crunchy daikon; vegetarians can order a fried green tomato sandwich that sounds every bit as appealing as its meaty brethren. Speaking of vegetables, Sunset’s menu also has an old-school wedge salad, simply because Dimas craves them on the regular, and a lineup of southern-style sides like fried pickles and hush puppies and fried chicken livers.
Dimas tells CHS she also plans to open up earlier for lunch and, possibly by summer, keep longer hours on the weekends. Dimas said she hoped to be open already but that contractors remain under huge demand around the city and some key hires were still being sought.
Sunset will make the third counter location for Dimas on Capitol Hill. Her Neon Taco helps soak up the tequila inside Broadway’s Nacho Borracho while Tortas Condesa fills the counter left open after Kedai Makan graduated from its space neighboring Montana to a full-fledge restaurant space around the corner.
The Dimas business model bears examination for any aspiring entrepreneur looking to take a smaller scale approach to building her food+drink empire in Seattle. Dimas said she plans her businesses like a food truck model where volume and moderate prices are important. Living close to her operations is also helpful.
Her partnership with Marshall is a lighter scale attachment with each business run separately under an operating agreement. Like most good relationships, Dimas said that honesty is key.
It also pays to hook up with a dynamo.
“That’s the kind of fun part about Rachel,” Dimas said. “She loves growth. Because she’s growing, that means I’m growing.”
If only some of CHS’s personal relationships had worked out that way…
For now, Dimas is focused on opening Sunset’s new counter, and continuing to dabble in dinner pop-ups in “unconventional” locations. Creating a set of businesses centered on a solid partnership and a few core, delicious concepts gives her time to grow some things on her own.
“I feel like that’s the fun part of my job,” she said. “I can step away and not have to compromise.”
Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches will open any day now at 1610 12th Ave inside Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Keep track via Instagram.