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A Tale of Two Fishies

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Belltown residents still mourning the loss of their beloved Flying Fish restaurant, rejoice! Some new venues are set to fill their former space at 2234 First Avenue, and it’s all good!  Marcus Charles has leased the entire space and will convert it into a café, butcher shop, cheese counter and produce store. The project is called Local 360, so named because it’s Charles’ goal to have nearly 90 percent of all products sold originate within 360 miles of Seattle. Local 360 will be the general contractor and Mallet Inc, a Seattle design and construction firm whose track record includes Café Presse, Spinasse and Stumptown 12th Avenue, will be the designer. The Local 360 venues are scheduled to open in December.

If Marcus Charles’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s quickly turning into a Seattle legend. Over the last 14 years, he has owned, operated, and consulted on a number of entertainment / retail properties, including The Capitol Hill Block Party, Neumo’s, Raven’s Brew Coffee, Spitfire and Marcus’ Martini Heaven, among others.  He not only is owner of the JuJu Lounge, but as a partner of the newly remodeled Crocodile Cafe, was instrumental in helping to reopen this Seattle music institution.  Both venues are located in Belltown, check them out!

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And now we move to the fish that swam to South Lake Union.  Renowned Seattle chef and restaurateur Christine Keff moved her wildly popular Flying Fish restaurant to 300 Westlake Ave North (corner of Thomas Street) in May 2010. Flying Fish is a sitdown restaturant and bar, open for lunch and dinner. Their private dining area, the Tobiko Room, seats up to 36 for lunch or dinner and up to 70 for a cocktail party or buffet.  Flying Fish also hosts culinary events such as the Annual Oyster Frenzy and Keff, a James Beard Award winner, also conducts cooking classes at the restaurant.

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The move to South Lake Union also allowed Keff to join a trend of established chefs opening smaller, more accessible spaces adjacent to their primary restaurant.  On the Fly opened in August just around the corner at 950 Thomas Street.  It features a lighter side of Flying Fish such as take-out lunches, espresso and pastries, a wine market featuring Washington and international wines, and local artisanal goods.  On the Fly shares Flying Fish’s kitchen and staff, and allows Keff to personally interact with customers, as well as share cooking tips and recommendations. More than 300 titles from her personal cookbook collection are on display, and she encourages patrons to peruse her favorite recipes. She and her staff do the same when planning the ever-changing menus.

We hope you venture to South Lake Union to enjoy one or both of Keff’s restaurants if you haven’t already, and we’ll keep in touch with you on the progress of Belltown’s Local 360.

One of Belltown’s Finest Restaurants Relocating to SLU

January 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Enso, Featured, Lifestyle, South Lake Union

If you’re a downtown resident, then you may have already heard about plans the Flying Fish restaurant has made in regards to moving to South Lake Union.  If you’re not from the area, The Flying Fish is probably one of Belltown’s last remaining fine dining restaurants.  In a recent article in the Seattle Times, chef Chris Keff explains her motivation to seek a new lease elsewhere.

That’s a far cry from what’s been happening in Belltown, Keff insists, where the bar scene has overtaken the dining scene and movement and closures continue unabated. (Recent deaths include Belltown Bistro and Cucina De-Ra, and several high-profile restaurant spaces remain on the market.) In Belltown, Keff says, “You’ve got a lot of small landlords who never get together to have any say in what happens around them. And before you know it, things have gone to hell”.

With Enso doing as well as it has, and with every visit to SLU seeming to always have a new discovery, the Flying Fish is expected to thrive at the modern built location.

Although South Lake Union has yet to fully develop, the neighborhood is certainly more than it used to be just a couple of years ago.  Although it’s still very quite at night, it shouldn’t be more than a few years away before SLU opens the first plant/lamp shop.  In the meantime, the Butabi brothers are planning on meeting with Mr. Zadir about opening only the coolest club in Belltown once the Flying Fish relocates to the Westlake/Terry building sometime around May.

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