With one more week to enjoy Capitol Hill classic Poppy before it serves its last thali and eggplant fries, CHS caught up with the chef behind the project set to define what comes next in the restaurant space at Broadway and Roy.
Nathan Lockwood says his Carrello and its dim sum-like carts of stuzzichini, antipasti, salumi and seasonal vegetable dishes won’t be aping some rarified dining experience the chef encountered in a far off land.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere that’s going to be like what we do,” Lockwood tells CHS.
CHS broke the news earlier this month on the new project from Nathan and Rebecca Lockwood set to replace 11-year-old Poppy with Jerry Traunfeld saying he is ready to step out of the kitchen and move to Palm Springs.
Carrello will join the Altura family directly across the street from the James Beard nominated favorite. Lockwood says the proximity was a “primary factor” and that any expansion had to be within “walking distance.”
With Carrello, Lockwood says he’ll be free to indulge his affinities for “big cuts of meat” and “rustic pasta” that weren’t always conducive to the small space at Altura and its focus on its lauded set menus.
“Altura kind of grew into two restaurants over the years and I had to shut one down to focus on the tasting menu,” Lockwood says.
Now Carrello will be a place for Lockwood to indulge and create something wholly new with Carrello carts that will provide diners with fast and impulsive access to his creations, a move he says is in line with the “faster pace of dining vibe, where things are happening the minute you sit down.”
To make it happen, Lockwood says he will be “stepping away from Altura a little bit.”
“We have a really good crew at Altura right now,” Lockwood said. “It’s honestly at the point right now where they have it covered.”
But he’s not leaving for good. “In the long run, I intend to be at Altura on nightly,” he says. The hope is once Carrello is up and running that it becomes a more “streamlined” restaurant that allows Lockwood to keep working with his fussier first creation. “At Altura, we say yes to everybody,” Lockwood says.
Also streamlined will be the turnaround — hopefully. Lockwood says the hope is for Carrello to be open in September.
But first, it’s a good weed to pay a final visit and honor Poppy before the great restaurant departs.
“We probably never would have opened Altura where it is if Jerry hadn’t opened Poppy across the street,” Lockwood said.
Carrello is planned to open at 622 Broadway E in September. Learn more at instagram.com/carrelloseattle.
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