Michael Young, owner of Olives Café & Wine Bar, has announced that he is closing the restaurant Feb. 26 and will reopen it March 3 as Il Buffone, a restaurant featuring wood-fired pizza and hand-cut pasta.
“When we opened as a restaurant six years ago, we were focused on being a great neighborhood restaurant providing big flavors in a straightforward manner,” Young said. “Over the years, we have become a bit more ostentatious.” The transformation to Il Buffon marks “a return to that more simple approach,” he added. “To focus on flavor and provide a great experience at a very comfortable price point.
“When we opened, we were the first restaurant in Snohomish County to do small plates,” Young continued. “Now there are similar restaurants all over. But if I want a great plate of hand-cut pasta, or a thin-crust, wood-fired pizza that is cooked in 90 seconds, I have to drive to Seattle. I want to provide that experience to my neighbors. They can expect everything from a classic Tortellini en Brodo to Rabbit Stroganoff on the new menu.”
Young also admitted he has a personal motivation for the switch to a new restaurant: “My daughter was born two months ago and I see changes in her every day. I don’t want to miss these times because I am working in the restaurant 12 hours a day.”
For Young, change is nothing new at the Olives location. “Every few years it seems we do something pretty radical here,” he said. “First we built a specialty food shop with a deli in back. Then we morphed into a restaurant. Then we took over the space next door. Now this. Every remodel we do is an opportunity for innovation. I think that this is the most exciting move yet.”
The majority of staff will stay through the transition, and Young said he is committed to maintaining one of the Pacific Northwest’s best wine lists. Gift card holders will be able to redeem their cards from Olives Café & Wine Bar at Il Buffone, he added.
The hours for the new restaurant will be Monday through Wednesday, 4-9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, 4- 10 p.m. and
Sunday from 4-9 p.m.
Young, who has spent 20 years in the restaurant industry, came to Edmonds nine years ago after years of training in San Francisco in a Michelin starred kitchen. He and his partner Irina Vasiljevic also own and operate “The Winged Pig” in downtown Edmonds.