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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 reservations@local360.org 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 SeattleBoutiqueBlogspot.com.

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

Last month saw several violent crimes in our neighborhood, as this summary will show. Please let us know if you hear of any other incidents of Belltown crime in the future – after you’ve communicated with police, of course.

And if you’re interested in what the crime condition is like for our city as a whole, check out the SPD Quarterly Report recently released.

Here’s what happened with crime in Belltown last month:

  • Police Hunt for iPhone Robbery Trio: SPD is looking for three men who are suspected to have collaborated to steal an iPhone on March 18th at 6th Avenue and Pine Street. Please contact SPD detectives with any information by calling: 206-684-5535. Watch the video of the robbery below:

  • Avoid the Pregnant Lady with the Stun Gun: At around 11:15 a.m. on March 22nd, a bike messenger crossed 5th Avenue in the crosswalk in front of a gray coupe. The driver stopped suddenly in front of the crosswalk and honked, then the bike messenger shouted at the driver and kicked the wheel of the car before finishing his crossing. A woman (described as being pregnant) got out of the passenger side of the car, began yelling at the messenger, and pulled a stun gun out of her bra before chasing the messenger and striking him twice in the face. Then the driver of the car also got out, swinging his own stun gun at the messenger before the stun gun wielding couple got back in their car and fled the scene. The bike messenger was not seriously injured, but this remains an open investigation.
  • Serious Car Accident on 4th Avenue: Just after 2 p.m. on March 24th, a Toyota SUV was hit and overturned onto a parked car in the 1900 block of 4th Avenue when the SUV was hit by a VW Jetta. The Seattle Fire Department rescued the driver and passenger of the Toyota and transported them to Harborview for serious injuries. The driver of the Jetta was screened for signs of impairment, but was not detained. This remains an open investigation.
  • Stabbing in Front of McDonald’s: While monitoring activity near 3rd Avenue and Pine Street on April 1st at about 4:25 p.m., two officers sitting in a marked police car noticed two men yelling at one another – they seemed about to fight. The officers used the loudspeakers to tell the men to stop and move on, which they did. Only moments later, a person ran up to the police car to tell the officers that someone was just stabbed in front of McDonald’s. Arriving at the scene, the officers found one of the two men from earlier bleeding from his arm. He was transported to Harborview with life-threatening injuries. The suspect got away and remained at large until being apprehended and arrested in the High Point neighborhood on April 2nd.
  • Fight Turns Violent on Stewart: Two men were verbally arguing inside a pizza restaurant on the 900 block of Stewart Street at about 1 a.m. on April 3rd. The altercation moved outside, where the two men began fighting on the ground and one of the men slashed the other in the neck. Bystanders separated the two men and called 911. Officers arrived on the scene and had the victim transported to Harborview, while the suspect was taken to King County Jail. He had an unknown and unseen head injury, so he was taken to Harborview as well and put under police guard. The box cutter was recovered for evidence.
  • The Escalated Cat Fight: Two women got into a violent altercation on the morning of April 9th. According to reports, one of the women approached the other as she sat at a bus stop, and began hitting her with a crutch. The second woman then pulled out a knife and stabbed her attacker several times in the hands. Officers arrived on the scene and had both women treated for non-life-threatening injuries before having them transported to Harborview. Both women were uncooperative with police in their attempts to investigate.
  • Woman Saved from Attempted Robbery: Just before 10 p.m. on April 10th, a woman was walking south on 2nd Avenue when she noticed a man following her. He then asked for the time, which she told him before he walked away. Minutes later, he returned and grabbed her purse straps, but she wouldn’t let it go and kicked him to defend herself. The suspect then punched her in the head. Two passersby saw what was happening and held the suspect while the woman found police – an off-duty State Patrol trooper who detained the suspect until SPD arrived on the scene. The man was arrested.

Stay safe, Belltown!

Featured photo from solarnet.tv

As of July 18th, 2013, Spur Gastropub in Belltown will have been an eatery in our neighborhood for five years. We’re glad to have this unique and innovative gastropub right around the corner. To express our appreciation for their culinary novelties and excitement for their Seattleite bites, we’re putting the attention on them for this month’s Belltown restaurant spotlight!

Spur Gastropub was the first of Chef and Co-Owners Brian McCracken and Dana Tough’s group of eatery creations. After Spur, they have gone on to open Tavern Law on Capitol Hill and another Belltown restaurant, The Coterie Room. They’ll also be opening a new restaurant near Tavern Law in a few months called The Old Sage. Oh, and look for Spur’s spring cocktail menu rolling out soon!

McCracken and Tough started Spur as a chef-driven restaurant. They were interested in the gastropub concept that was all the rage in Europe, and bringing that to the forefront in Seattle. “It was about moving the kitchen out into the bar, and having the same talent in the bar as was in the kitchen,” says Spur’s manager Anne Magoon.

Spur’s name came about as a ‘spur of the moment thing’ – Brian’s mother was a regular cowgirl, and growing up, he remembered seeing a spur in his home.

The Belltown restaurant does major menu changes each season, but menu items are constantly changing. “Some local farmers and foragers will just drop things off at our back door, and we get to figure out how to incorporate it into a special for that night,” Magoon says.

According to the Spur website, McCracken and Tough “Are proud advocates of New American cuisine— creating interactive and seasonally pure plates to share.” Relish Magazine recently listed Spur as one of the top 10 must-visit gastropubs around the country that “are redefining the way we look at food.”

Whether you’re sitting at a high family-style bar table, in the comfy chairs near the door, at the bar itself, or at one of the small tables clustered into the restaurant’s upper area, you’re bound to enjoy a treat. “We take pride in offering the same level of service at every place you sit,” says Magoon.

Spur Gastropub is famous for its Grass-Fed beef burger, which is topped with red onion jam, cheddar and thyme. The restaurant’s Pork Belly Sliders – with cranberry, coriander, and arugula – and Tagliatelle pasta, which is made with oyster mushrooms and pine nuts and topped with duck egg, are staples that are pretty much always available to order. Don’t forget Spur’s delicious Sockeye Salmon Crostini! Layered Sockeye salmon, mascarpone cheese, capers, and pickled shallot make this small dish a delight!

The May issue of Cooking Light actually has a feature on Chefs McCracken and Tough – talking about their Salmon crostini and Northwest Salmon! Read more on Spur’s blog.

If you’re in the mood to try a variety of dishes, you can order the Chef’s Tasting Menu – five courses for $75, or eight for $100. Spur is also participating in Seattle Restaurant week, this week and next week. Check out our recent blog post for the details and their Restaurant Week menu.

“We want to be that place where you can go to get the fine-dining experience and service that’s well-educated about food without it being pretentious,” Magoon says.

Visit Spur daily from 5 p.m. till the last person leaves. They also have a happy hour Sundays through Thursdays from 5 – 7 p.m., with $7 cocktails, $5 house wine, and $4 draft beers. If you want to rent the space for a private event, or have a group meal, they’re happy to work with you on a special, tailor-made menu!