Our restaurant community has been gracious to this My Edmonds News reporter. I have enjoyed visits with several of our busy, successful entrepreneurs. This week I spoke with Chef Shubert Ho.
“I never thought I’d open a restaurant at all.” Shubert said, recalling his move from Saratoga, Calif. to Edmonds. He saw similarities between the two communities. He said he waited for someone to open a spot, but that someone turned out to be Shubert, and his longtime friend Andrew Leckie.
Executive Chef Shubert Ho and his wife Mira, used experience gained while they worked at large, fast paced restaurants like Piatti, to start a catering business called Shooby Doo. It began in rented commercial space in Seattle.
“If you had asked me five years ago,” Schubert said, “I would not have imagined we’d open more restaurants, in addition to the catering business, and in Edmonds.”
Schubert and his family live in a condo close to Five Corners, in Edmonds. When Asian Spice Bistro closed he jumped on the opportunity and grabbed the space for the first restaurant — Bar Dojo, which opened in late 2012. Ho moved the catering kitchen closer to home. A second vacancy in the same business strip provided much needed space for the growing needs of Shooby Doo and relief in the shared kitchen as Bar Dojo’s popularity grew.
“Luck has a lot to do with my success,” said Chef Shubert.
Changes in Edmonds’ restaurant scene offered Shubert and Andrew more opportunity. Salt & Iron opened in April 2015, and expanded in August with more tables and a private dining area.
“Wow.” I said. “How many employees do you have on the payroll these days?”
“Between 50 and 60.” I heard the pride in his voice. “Not so long ago I could say only one or two.”
His restaurants’ growth matches the pace of our local economy. Shubert feels all three of the business endeavors are “My contribution to the Edmonds community.” Chef Shubert is excited about the great partnerships between Edmonds businesses who act in the “best interests of our community.” His restaurant’s recent support for the Pink Martini concert at Edmonds Center for the Arts is a perfect example.
“How did your family spend Christmas?” I asked, since all locations were closed on Christmas Eve and Day.
“Believe it or not,” Schubert said, “we stayed in our condo, ate and hung out for two days straight. I cooked three meals a day, for 15 family members, and probably ran my dishwasher six times.”
Shubert’s favorite recipes: “Italian, due to my training and background at Piatti.”
That explains the answer to my query on what he prepared for dinner on Christmas Day. “My mentor Felix‘s favorite recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs.”
Readers, I have that recipe and Chef Shubert’s permission to share, so email if you’d like a copy.
“When and where did your staff celebrate this year?” I wondered what spot would hold his staff, now numbered at 60, plus families.
“We gathered all three groups at Salt & Iron on New Year’s Day since we were closed to the public. We had a great meal. Next we treated our whole group to a private showing of Star Wars, at the Edmonds Theater.”
Edmonds Theater is one of those businesses Shubert described as a community asset. He sounded pleased that the owners intend to keep it that way. Recent upgrades and improvements make it a wonderful and reasonable location for a fun event like a staff office party.
When asked about inspiration for new menu ideas, Chef Ho said; “With two small girls, my wife and I don’t travel as much these days. But on one of our trips to New York City, before the kids, we went to 24 restaurants in two days and sampled a dish or two in each location. Then we had a full dinner each night.” Shubert does do “research” at hot spots in Ballard and in Seattle, and scans Instagram food posts; which provide catalysts for new dishes.
“We seem to open restaurants and have babies at the same time.” Shubert shared that their first child arrived as they launched Bar Dojo, and number two made an appearance as Salt & Iron opened its doors.
What a track record. What great eateries…I hope they have at least one more child.
Local spot changes hands
Red Lantern, a new Chinese restaurant to Edmonds, is due to open this summer in the former La Galleria spot, tucked between the IGA and the 5th Avenue Dry Cleaners. I did check with a downtown Seattle location by the same name, but this is a separate endeavor. Stay tuned for updates.
The Culture Trip is a global community and a great resource to read about the best art, food, culture and travel all over the world. Here’s their cool website feature on local bars in Edmonds.
Anthony’s has a suggestion for an early Valentine, or just a treat, for no particular reason… a Lobster Celebration at $19.95. Anthony’s own seafood company has made a special purchase of lobster. Enjoy a delicious, sweet and tender lobster dinner Monday through Thursday nights, now through Feb. 11.
Research: the favorite part of my job.
Chinese New Year: Feb. 8 marks the start of the Year of the Monkey. The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the New Year. .. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
I’ll have great suggestions in my next column for the coming celebrations.
NEW at Salish Crossing
Hunni Company opened this week. Stop in to shop for honey-based Detox and beverages from Noon-6 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday.
Last but not least
I saw — and snapped a photo for evidence: The sign can has been switched out to Bucatini. Sign on the front door- still says coming soon, but I saw evidence on tables, plates of food. Menu items taste-tested? They’re closer than ever. I can almost taste those huge heroes, can’t you? You can get a sneak peak at the menu on their website.
— By Kathy Passage
A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the food and restaurant scene in Edmonds.