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- In a new era enabled by technological ubiquity and a healthy skepticism about old ways of starting a business, Heather Earnhardt is putting financial faith into the community she loves — and that loves her (biscuits) back.
Her goal is to create a home for The Wandering Goose on 15th Ave E by depending on the very customers that have come to love her work over the years in Seattle and most recently at Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park Cafe.
“I love the idea that the future Wandering Goose customers, (a lot of them already know me and what I did with VPC), people that I have trusted relationships with, can help to fund the business by prepaying what they intend to buy in the future! What an amazing concept!” Earnhardt said of The Wandering Goose Founders’ Club.
Under construction, aiming for June (Image: The Wandering Goose on Facebook)
“While helping to put something unique and beautiful in their own neighborhood, when the doors to The Wandering Goose open it will be because of them,” she said.
Those doors and the buildout creating two new food and drink spaces around them won’t come cheaply. Earnhardt must raise more than $200,000 to get the Goose off the ground. She has a traditional investor involved for a portion of that and Dani Cone of High 5 Pie and Fuel Coffee is also in the mix. But the rest, Earnhardt hopes, will come from neighbors, friends and long-time customers.
The concept of a founders’ club is based on getting customers involved in the business early — before the first biscuit comes out of the oven. For most of us, it is, for all intents and purposes, the process of raising capital by selling gift cards with a built-in bonus. In the case of the Goose, founders will gain 25% for their investment. So, if you put in $1,000 today, you’ll gain $1,250 in value at the Wandering Goose doled out in $100 monthly increments until your value has been returned. For those that buy in above 5 grand, there are exclusive perks including private dinner parties, baking classes, and your own personal founder’s layer cake.
You can imagine the challenges faced in trying to find people to step up to that level of support. But you might also imagine a few families in the area doing the math and taking Earnhardt up on her offer. It’s a route Skelly and the Bean recently used to open its doors on 10th Ave E and it’s a path you’re likely to see more and more as payment systems and online services ease the ability to scale out founders’ programs.
Beyond the utilitarian calculation of value, there’s also the excitement of adding a new morning destination to your neighborhood. We’ve posted a sneak of the menu preview provided by Earnhardt to prospective founders. You get a peek at the biscuit sandwich page. You can also expect a BYOB “build your own biscuit” menu as well a breakfast offerings like grits and grillades and house salads. While envisioned mostly as a breakfast and cafe joint, Earnhardt says she is also toying with the idea of adding special dinner menus to the Goose’s offerings.
We first told you about the bakery and cafe involving an all-star cast of Capitol Hill food+drink mavens back in January. Ethan Stowell’s participation has been cemented since we talked to him in March before the paperwork had been signed. On one side of the under-construction re-working of the old Tilden Gift Shop (and one-time Piggly Wiggly) will be Earnhardt’s The Wandering Goose, described as a “thirty seat Southern influence cafe in the heart of Seattle’s North Capitol Hill neighborhood.” Neighboring and separated only by a wall of a “demising wall” of “vintage leaded glass” will be Stowell’s more secretive production. We weaseled it out of him in March that the space was being planned as a trattoria. “The idea is to be more sit down with a full bar program and a more involved menu,” Stowell said at the time. “There will be some viewing between the two spaces, some cross marketing, some crossing over of energy.” On the paperwork, he lists the company name as Fifth Quarter, LLC, by the way.
There’s no word of a founders’ club for Stowell who already operates restaurants in Seattle including Capitol Hill’s Anchovies & Olives and Staple and Fancy in Ballard. The latter’s symbiosis with The Walrus and the Carpenter is a similar model for what to expect in the physical space, at least, on 15th Ave E.
In addition to turning to a founders club to fund her cafe, Earnhardt is also taking a route-less-trafficked to getting the place built. While Stowell’s side is being built out by the larger, more established Dovetail (a CHS advertiser), Earnhardt went with the “little guy.” Dolan Construction also finished High 5 Pie and Little Water Cantina so they’re not totally green. And, apparently, they’re a handsome bunch. “They guys are all super cute, super fast and have been working with me every step of the way to save money and still make The Wandering Goose look beautiful,” Earnhardt said. “These guys rock.”
To get involved and learn more, check out thewanderinggoose.com.
- No Facebook link for you. No Twitter. Just a big vinyl banner. And hundreds of windshield wiper flyers in the neighborhood. 15th Ave’s Samui Thai is now The Patio. Also Thai. New owners.
- Hey, it’s still Beer Week.
- Crumble & Flake’s consistently sold-out-by-11a debut makes CHS think one thing: You other Capitol Hill bakery types are doing it wrong.
- A new Mexican restaurant with long-time Eastside roots is destined for E Pine. Meanwhile, Tango is about to spin out a rum bar on Pike. We set the stage for both, here.
- Splurge. You’ll have a little extra in your HAMBURGER budget this month thanks to Li’l Woody’s celebration of National Hamburger Day on May 28th. But you’ll have to pay for any toppings:
“It’s National Hamburger Day, not National Cheeseburger Day,” Lalario explained. “You can add cheese, or anything else on the menu, but you have to pay for it.”
Anyhow, free burgers at Li’l Woody’s on the 28th, 2-5p. One burger per person, piggy. Inconveniently, Free Fry Friday at Pike St. Fish Fry is this week.
- 95 Slide is nearing home plate. We told you about Marcus Lalario’s sports bar here back in March.
- Three of Seattle’s four happiest bar tenders do their thing on Capitol Hill.
- Central Co-op is adding spirits to its E Madison offerings. We reported in April that the co-op was weighing the matter. State’s liquor biz goes private starting June 1.
- The empty retail space left behind in the Odd Fellows Building won’t be put to use anytime soon by Molly Moon’s, the ice cream shop now says.
- After getting slammed by the Stranger, Zoe doesn’t have an easy go of it with the Seattle Weekly, either: “At a tauter restaurant, polysyllabic descriptors might well be harbingers of blissful dishes that couldn’t possibly be conveyed in simpler terms. But when a celery-root soup with Dungeness crab and pumpkin-seed pistou turns out to be a cream-sodden, ocherous puddle with a faint curry flavor, it’s clear the million-dollar words amount to little more than sound and fury.”
- Healeo says:
We feel obligated to help the citizens of North Carolina who as of yesterday live in a state where discrimination is part of their state constitution.
100% off all profits from today, Tuesday, & Wednesday will go to LGBT youth services in North Carolina. I will then personally match that donation.
If there are any other businesses that want to join please do.
- Like Joe Bar? The cafe is celebrating a member of the Joe Bar’s family ascendancy to rock stardom. Check out this video for Katie Kate.
- Congratulations, Matt Dillon.
- How long until Duane Sorenson opens a Capitol Hill restaurant?
- We know our weekly food+drink column gets read by lots of people “in the industry.” You industry types might want to consider taking advantage of this week’s free small business seminars cooked up by Sound Transit as part of their mitigation package to offset impacts to the neighborhood brought on by Capitol Hill light rail construction.
- The Narwhal approaches:
(Image: The Unicorn via Facebook)
- This week’s Capitol Hill food porn:
My Way or the Highway Buttermilk Fried Chicken @ Kingfish Cafe, originally uploaded by ERIK98122.
This week’s CHS food+drink advertiser directory