Norelle Done


Lane restrictions and closures have already begun for our neighbors in Uptown (Lower Queen Anne) – last weekend the West Phase of the Mercer project began full swing. It’s our turn, as the Washington State Department of Transportation begins to demolish the eastern half of SR 99.

In Belltown news, this Friday, May 17th marks the beginning of major construction on Mercer and SR 99, according to WSDOT. SR 99 will be completely closed from Valley Street to the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel. Mercer Street will be closed as well to both directions of traffic between Fifth Ave. N and Dexter Ave. N. All adjoining sidewalks to these areas will also be closed.

So, if you usually get to or leave Belltown by way of SR 99, starting this weekend you might need to find a new route.

The closures won’t necessarily end come Monday morning – SR 99 will be restricted to two lanes in each direction, and the northbound off-ramp to Mercer Street will be permanently closed.  Broad Street will also be re-opened to traffic heading east on Monday, so that congestion on Mercer can be alleviated. The north sidewalk along Mercer Street will also be closed between Fifth Ave. N and Dexter Ave. N.

“Lane reductions on Mercer Street will continue throughout the West Phase of the Mercer Corridor Project, which is anticipated to be completed in mid-2015. Construction of this $95 million project will take approximately 2.5 years,” according to WSDOT.

Unfortunately, this is just the start of months of nasty traffic and construction closures, as WSDOT works to widen Mercer Street and build a new SR 99 overpass above Mercer. Hopefully it won’t affect Belltown too much, but there is bound to be some overflow from the Uptown area.

Contact the Mercer Corridor Project hotline at 206-419-5818 with questions, or email Find a map of lane restrictions and subsequent detours here.

Featured photo from WSDOT Mercer Corridor website.

Each month, Ethan Stowell’s Belltown restaurant Tavolàta does something they call a Sunday Feast. Guests reserve their seats around the big communal table, and enjoy something special in a family-style serving.

For May, guests will enjoy a favorite again – suckling pig! Tavolàta’s chef, Brian Clevenger is holding this dinner this coming Sunday, on May 19th. “The savory spring meal revolves around a whole roasted suckling pig, with a bevy of porky accompaniments and a peach semifreddo to finish it off,” says the restaurant’s event listing.

Ethan Stowell’s blog lists the menu for the Suckling Pig Sunday Feast, but we’ll mention it here too:

Start with pig by enjoying pork shoulder served with ditalini pasta and garden vegetables; or grilled green beans served with guanciale, arugula, and saba; or even more pork by trying pork belly dished up with kumquat and frisée. The second course will tease your taste buds even more with a potato gnocci and braised pork cooked in white wine and tomato. Suckling pig shows up for the third course – a whole roasted pig cooked with fennel-crusted porchetta. Sides for the third course include grilled carrots with orange and rosemary, or fingerling potatoes with roasted garlic and lemon. Lighten up from the meal with a delicious peach semifreddo for dessert.

Seating is limited, so reservations are required. Please call 206-838-8008 to reserve your seat(s).

If you can’t make this Sunday Feast, there are plenty more to look forward to! Tavolàta will hold their Garden Vegetables and Wild Mushrooms feast on June 2nd. Next up is a Wagyu Beef feast on July 7th, Southern Italy feast on August 4th, and Local Salmon dinner on September 8th. Finish out the year with Tavolàta’s Braised Meats feast on October 6th, Shellfish feast on November 3rd, and Lobster feast on December 8th. Mark your calendars, cause you won’t want to miss a one!

In the meantime, don’t get so distracted by those tasty-sounding dinners that you forget to make reservations for this Sunday’s Suckling Pig Feast!

When: Sunday, May 19th at 6 p.m.
Where: Tavolàta in Belltown – 2323 2nd Ave, Seattle, 98121
Cost: $75 per person

Featured photo from Tavolàta.

As its name portends, Belltown restaurant Local 360 is about being as all-around local as they can get. Their goal is for 90% of their ingredients to be from local farmers, brewers, fishers, foragers, creamers, and more.

“We believe that local produce, meat, and grains are more than mere vehicles for nutrients, but vital parts of the intricate system that supports our environment and the good folks who live here,” reads their website.

Local 360 has lots of foraged ingredients, and plenty of items that are straight from small farms in Washington. “For us, buying local is good for everyone. We’re closer to the food source, it’s more nutritious, and what it does to the community is just great,” says Executive Chef Robin Leventhal. “If we can keep everyone strong and happy, we’ve done our part.”

Plus, “getting to play with those ingredients is fun,” she said. Robin is a former Top Chef participant, as well as being the owner of the now-shuttered Crave restaurant in Seattle. She came to Local 360 after having known the restaurant’s general manager, Shawn Kramer, for years.

Although Local 360 has only been open for a little over two years, it’s the kind of place that should have been here 10 years, according to Leventhal. “The food and the environment together make a great concept. It’s a marrying of the aesthetic of the place and capturing that in the food,” she said.

At Local 360, “it’s all about enjoying that experience of dining. Savoring the moment and the conversation around the food,” Leventhal says. The restaurant is built around that simple, approachable offering – with rustic wood and metal fixtures, basic design, and a rich, earthy atmosphere that’s welcoming and clean.

“We wanted to make our food a step above what you’d get at home. It’s not alienating, but it’s still an adventure,” Chef Robin said. “It’s an everyday place that has the comfort of a home away from home. It’s an accessible experience that’s delicious. We want to bring you back for the food.”

The menu changes almost weekly, with the different items that come into season. If you’re a fan of Seattle Restaurant Week, it continues year-round at Local 360: their Chef’s Tasting Menu features the most seasonal ingredients and has the prix-fixe of $30/person every night.

Some things that don’t change are their grass-fed burger (the Butcher’s Grind House Burger on the menu), the fried Chicken and Waffle, the Fried Chicken Sandwich, PB & J Bon Bons, Steak Frites, and Rabbit Pot Pie. The Crispy Pig Ear is another specialty: pig ears simmered in water and aromatics until soft, then sliced really thin and dusted in seasoned flour. Then they are fried until they’re super crispy and served with spicy Remolade and buttermilk dressing (see photo).

While we were interviewing Chef Robin for this spotlight, we got the chance to photograph (and taste!) some other delicious dishes, such as Local 360’s Pot Roast Dip sandwich, Oyster Po Boy sandwich, and Rabbit Country Style Paté.

As part of their local focus, the restaurant is doing a dinner-with-cocktails this month, on May 16th, featuring Fremont’s Mischief Distillery. There will be a four-course menu with paired cocktails for $50/person. Call (206) 441-9360 or email to reserve your seat(s).

Local 360 also has an event dining space with its own kitchen at the back of the restaurant. It can seat up to 60 people, and the restaurant rents it out with a variety of options – plus, there’s only a food and beverage minimum and no rental price. They also occasionally do banquets and off-site catering menus for events around the city.

Dine at the Belltown restaurant daily for lunch or dinner. Local 360 serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and dinner from 4 – 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 4 – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Weekend brunch is also served Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There are plenty of food-related Belltown events coming up in May. Don’t miss out on Mother’s Day specials, tasty new things at Local 360, and an exciting dinner at Tavolàta. Read on for the details:

  1. All May – Grillin’ Season and Beer Flights for the Summer at Local 360: Starting May 1st, Local 360 is offering Spicy Rootbeer & Whiskey Glazed Ribs for summertime – served up with cornbread waffle and honey butter, sweet potato coleslaw, and brown sugar smoked baked beans. Local 360 is also pouring three 6-ounce pours of rotating brews from local brewery Ninkasi Brewing, starting May 1st.
  2. May 2 – Wine Women and Shoes: Seattle Children’s Home is presenting the 3rd annual Wine Women and Shoes fundraiser at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle. The fundraiser will feature a runway show from Neiman Marcus (as well as a VIP preview hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m.) General admission begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $125, or $175 VIP. Purchase tickets here.
  3. May 12 – Mother’s Day Dining at Local 360: Enjoy a tasty Mother’s Day brunch with mom at Local 360. There’s a three-course menu and all-you-can-drink mimosas from 10 a.m. ‘til closing time, or a special brunch menu from 10 a.m. ‘til 4 p.m. Click here to view the menu, make your reservation online, or call 206-441-9360 to reserve your table.
  4. AQ-MothersDayMay 12 – Mother’s Day Brunch or Dinner at AQUA by El Gaucho: This waterfront restaurant in Belltown is holding a special dinner menu and brunch menu to celebrate Mother’s Day. Brunch is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner is from 5 – 8 p.m. Click here to view their menus. Reserve your table online, or call 206-956-9171.
  5. May 19 – Sunday Feast of Suckling Pig at Tavolàta: Suckling pig returns for May’s Sunday Feast at Tavolàta! Visit their blog for the menu (available soon). It includes four courses for $60 per person. The meal will be served at Tavolàta’s communal table, and is limited to an attendance of 26 people, so reservations are required. Call 206-838-8008.

Featured photo from

Monday, April 15th 2013 was a tragic day for people all over the United States as two explosions ripped through the finish line at the Boston Marathon. The bombs detonated 13 seconds apart at 2:49 p.m. EDT, during the four-hour mark, when most runners cross the finish line of the 26.2-mile race. The reported injured is at 183 people, while three individuals were killed by the explosions, including 29-year-old Krystle Campbell.

Krystle Campbell. Photo credit: KING, courtesy of Dave LeClair
Krystle Campbell. Photo credit: KING, courtesy of Dave LeClair

Campbell had recently moved to Arlington, Massachusetts, but a childhood friend of hers is a local Seattleite, Dave LeClair. As soon as he had heard of the attack, LeClair began to put together a fundraiser at Spitfire in Belltown (that’s what makes it Belltown news). Spitfire is a local sports bar that attracts many Boston fans.

“It’s awful that her life was cut so short,” he said. “I felt like something needed to be done.” Krystle Campbell died when the bombs detonated near where she was watching runners cross the finish line. Her best friend was with her and was critically injured.

LeClair and Spitfire are working together to raise funds today; April 18th from 4 to 11 p.m. Proceeds will benefit Boston’s Victim Relief Fund. They hope to raise $5,000 to help victims of this tragedy.

According to the group’s Facebook page, the bar will be showing Boston sports history on their TVs through the evening, with two kegs of Samuel Adams Summer Ale. Spitfire encourages attendees to wear their Boston sports clothing.

When: Thursday, April 18th, 2013 from 4 – 11 p.m.
Where: Spitfire Bar, 2219 4th Ave  Seattle, 98121
Cost: No cover, donations accepted

Featured photo of Dave LeClair, photo credit: KING