A liquor license application for the north Broadway home of one of the key early chef-driven restaurants in the Capitol Hill food and drink boom appears to involve the team behind the neighborhood’s most ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ of its 💲💲💲 offerings.
According to the application filed Friday and already making the rounds in Seattle’s food and drink social media, Nathan and Rebecca Lockwood have applied for a new liquor license for a project titled Carrello at the address of Poppy, the fresh herb and Thali inspired restaurant from chef Jerry Traunfeld.
Neither the applicants or Traunfeld have yet responded to our inquires around the application. Such filings are common around Capitol Hill when a new owner is preparing to take over an existing venue. The applications must be approved in a process that can take months and not all deals close over issues around money, leases, and more. It’s a hugely sensitive transaction involving people’s lives and their livelihoods and, often, lots of money.
UPDATE 8:15 PM: Sounds like an ambitious project is being born in the process. “Carrello: noun, singular, a small cart usually consisting of two or three trays used for serving food, tea etc.,” the press release starts. Here’s the word on Carrello from the Lockwoods.
- Diners will be greeted by numerous carts (carrelli) carrying a wide array of small plates including stuzzichini, antipasti, salumi and seasonal vegetable dishes. These items will be priced individually from three to twelve dollars and guests may choose as many or as few as they wish. A meal could be made of these bites alone.
- For those with a more substantial appetite, Chef Nathan’s handmade pasta will be offered in a more rustic and generous fashion than the refined dishes featured at Altura. Numerous different pastas will be produced daily and some early Altura favorites will become instant menu staples. (Yes, this includes both the gnocchi with lamb and sage and the pappardelle with tripe and oxtail ragu!)
- Finally, large portions of meat and seasonal fish will be offered roasted and presented whole with the intention of sharing in the tradition of Italian communal dining. Imagine slow-roasted lamb’s neck, bone-in dry-aged ribeye and whole-roasted Mad Hatcher chicken.
“From these options, diners may easily construct a meal of any duration to suit any appetite or occasion,” the announcement reads. Carrello’s aesthetic “will bridge modern playfulness and old-world rusticity to provide diners an experience that is both authentically Italian and unquestionably Seattle.”
“We aim to create a gathering place both for the neighborhood that has welcomed us so warmly at Altura and for all those that visit Capitol Hill from the wider reaches of our region and beyond,” they write.
UPDATE 7/16/19 8:54 AM: And a happy ending but a sad farewell for Poppy. We’ve posted the full announcement from the restaurant here. In the announcement on Poppy’s closure, the decision to close is chalked up to life changes:
Traunfeld and his husband Stephen, who just celebrated their 39th anniversary, have worked together at Poppy since opening day. As a couple, they have decided to make a lifestyle change. Stephen will be retiring, while Jerry plans to take a step back from the demands of being a restaurant owner but will continue to do some of the things he loves most: cooking, food writing, teaching and gardening. They are also planning a move to Palm Springs, California.
The announcement recounts the proud run of the restaurant including James Beard nominations and an all-star cast of chefs and food and drink experts who were part of Poppy over the years. And, of course, it is a celebration of eggplant fries.
“I owe so much to my employees over the last 11 years,” Traunfeld says in the announcement. “They have helped make Poppy a home away from home for us and have helped my concept for this restaurant thrive for over a decade.”
Poppy’s last day of service will be Sunday, August 4th. Sibling Lionhead will continue to operate next door, a restaurant representative said.
Original report: The north Broadway transaction would be a major shift in northern Broadway dining involving two kitchen veterans and key players in the growth of the neighborhood’s restaurant scene.
Last year, Traunfeld and Poppy marked 10 years on the street. “I wanted to do something on my own. And I wanted to do it in the city and I wanted to do something that was more accessible,” Traunfeld told us in 2018 thinking back on his 17 years at the Herbfarm before setting out on his own on Capitol Hill. “Something that was more of my own personality.”
His investment in Broadway expanded in 2015 with the opening of Lionhead, a small Sichuan peppercorn-spiced sibling restaurant next door to Poppy.
For the Lockwoods, expanding across the street would build on their eight years creating upscale, chef-driven dining on Broadway at the “elevated” Altura.
CHS talked with chef Nathan in 2016 about rising expectations for his well-reviewed creation and menus with items like “Salt Spring Island mussels smoked with madrona bark, shaved matsutake mushroom with a spicy Dungeness crab brodo, and a ragu of wild boar” as he marked five years behind the counter at the restaurant. “Guest expectations are higher. My expectations for ourselves are higher. The cooks’ expectations of me are higher,” Lockwood said.
As for what Carrello might be, for one, don’t get hooked on the name. Project names used in liquor applications don’t always end up on the final product.
Lockwood may have also provided a clue or two when he talked with CHS on Altura’s fifth anniversary.
“If I could have anything that I wanted, without having to assume any of the risks and all the cards were in place, we would have a casual place that did the other half of what we used to do,” Lockwood said in 2016. “So we could continue doing the tasting menu here, and continue doing the three-course menu we used to enjoy doing, somewhere close by.”
Across the street on Broadway? That’s pretty close.
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