Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

The Mouthful: Who’s Who of Seattle Restauranteurs

    I’ve been working as a food editorial intern at Seattle Met for several weeks now, and networking potential and career experience aside, I’m pretty jazzed that long afternoons of fact-checking have resulted in me actually kind of knowing what I’m talking about, Seattle dining scene-wise. So I’ve compiled a cheat sheet of sorts, a who’s who of Seattle chefs, restaurateurs and general experts of making food taste good.

    Tom Douglas

    We’ll start with the obvious. He’s the granddaddy of the Seattle restaurant scene and to some extent, of Northwest cuisine in general. His first restaurant, Dahlia Lounge, opened in 1989 and is still very much alive and kicking. It sits in Belltown amid a veritable colony of Douglas’s establishments: Serious Pie and Lola are literally next door and many of his other restaurants are just a stone’s throw away. His newest full restaurant, the Asian fusion-y TanakaSan, opened in September, 19 years after he won his first James Beard award.

    Ethan Stowell

    Though he has marginally less name recognition than Douglas, Ethan Stowell is catching up. His culinary footprint has grown to nine restaurants, including three in Capitol Hill (Rione XIII, Anchovies and Olives, and Bar Cotto)—albeit nine very similar restaurants. His formula must be doing something right—he was named one of the best new chefs in America by Food and Wine Magazine in 2008 and his star has only risen from there.

    Thierry Rautureau

    This French chef is affectionately nicknamed The Chef in the Hat in honor of his signature straw topper. Rautureau’s latest, the stylish and classic Loulay, opened in December to universal acclaim. He also owns casual French bistro Luc in Madison Valley. Neither is his most famous, however: his utterly spectacular bank-breaker Rover’s closed last summer. Rautureau also has quite the bromance with Tom Douglas (and a KIRO radio show to match) and if you don’t think that’s completely adorable then I just don’t know what to tell you.

    Maria Hines

    Queen Maria has taken Seattle’s dining scene by storm since she opened her 95 percent organic New American restaurant Tilth in a Wallingford bungalow back in 2008. She’s since opened the Mediterranean-influenced Golden Beetle in Ballard and Northern Italian Agrodolce in Fremont. Hines has the distinction of being the first woman to defeat master Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef America and is a James Beard Award winner.

    Linda Derschang

    As Capitol Hill-dwellers, we all owe more to Linda Derschang than perhaps anyone else on this list. In the 20 years since she opened Linda’s Tavern, Derschang has relentlessly defined and re-defined the Hill’s aesthetic, one taxidermied elk head at a time. Her list of establishments reads like the play-by-play of a Seattle U social butterfly’s calendar: aside from Linda’s Tavern, she also owns Oddfellows, Chop Suey, Tallulah’s, Smith and more.

    Matt Dillon

    No, not the actor. Here’s a hint: if textbooky botanical drawings abound and the interior is almost stupidly aesthetically pleasing, Dillon probably cooks there (would it be in poor taste to say that his restaurants all look like the physical embodiment of a white girl’s Pinterest page? Because I mean it as a compliment). He cooks at Sitka & Spruce, Bar Ferd’nand, Bar Sajor, the Corson Building and the London Plane.

    Renee Erickson

    This UW alum got her start at the (almost criminally adorable) Boat Street Café, which she now owns. When she’s not turning out king salmon or butter lettuce salads at the café, Erickson’s probably plugging away at one of her other nautically-named restaurants: The Whale Wins, Barnacle and Best New Restaurant (according to Bon Appetit, as of 2012) The Walrus and the Carpenter are all hers.

    Dave Meinert and Jason Lajeunesse

    If Linda Derschang is the queen of Capitol Hill, Meinert and Lajeunesse are her heirs apparent. They’ve taken up Derschang’s trendsetting mantle with Lost Lake, Big Mario’s and Mo Bar. Most recently they’ve taken over at Comet Tavern, giving it a pretty serious facelift in the process (goodbye, dive-est of dives; hello, wild boar sloppy joes and Fremont Wandering Wheat on tap).

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