Why the Seattle Restaurant Scene is So Hot
Seattle restaurateurs are at the cutting edge not only in cuisine, but the business of running an artful eatery—the kind of experiential retail that Millennials and even Boomers now crave. That's why we're excited to present some of the area's top restaurant talent at our 2nd annual Restaurant Development Summit at the Triple Door March 18 starting at 7:30am.
Among our speakers will be Rick Yoder, who owns the Triple Door. He tells us Seattle has a robust economy that creates both great opportunities and competition in the industry. The key to staying competitive in such an environment, he says, is to keep up with food trends, but always sharpen the focus on execution. Here's Rick at last year's restaurant summit.
Rick says it's important to have regular meetings with staff to determine what is working, and what isn't. "The industry is all about new, but it will wear thin if food and service aren't up to standards," he says. "In a place like Seattle, that bar is moving up all the time." Triple Door has been serving up interesting dishes, inventive cocktails, live music and fundraisers in the former Embassy Theatre building since 2003. Rick also owns Wild Ginger, an Asian restaurant and satay bar on Third Street.
Another speaker is James Weimann, owner of Weimann Maclise Restaurants, who tells us all the best restaurants in Seattle share a hyper-focus on ingredients and their origin. "The use of farmers markets, organic ingredients, and fresh local meat and seafood will never go out of style," he says. But James isn't overly concerned with competition and says it's more important to just execute at a high level every day, so people will hopefully return.
Also speaking will be Derschang Group CEO Linda Derschang, who says the best way to stay fresh and innovative is to be adaptable, but that doesn’t mean change for the sake of change. Instead, she says it's important to be open to changing and evolving menus, drink ideas and sometimes even decor. Any restaurant that continues to be thought of as the best is never complacent, but always working to be better and stay fresh. "That’s part of the fun and challenge of this business."
The best places are staying fresh by using simple, authentic elements, not overbuilding, and letting the natural beauty of materials speak for themselves—aesthetically and functionally, speaker Molly Moon tells us. Molly, who owns Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream, says Seattle owners and designers who are really good stick with wood, glass, metal, leather and lots of plants, rejecting man-made materials, and using light to create a special version of, yes, gray. "A bright, happy gray," she says.
Panelist Josh Henderson, Huxley Wallace Collective founder and chef, tells us it's still all about service and listening to the guest, as fresh and innovative always has a nod towards the familiar. "You can't push people too far, so you always need to be a little rooted in something that someone can latch onto. The best operators consistently do that," he says. Come hear from all our speakers at Bisnow's 2nd Annual Restaurant Development Summit March 2 at the Triple Door starting at 7:30am. Sign up here.