Brigid’s Bottleshop just celebrated three years of pouring some of the best beers you can hoist around here, and owner Jack Crawford has some great news. Brigid’s is moving. Don’t panic beer lovers — the move will be just a couple of doors down to bigger digs in the space once occupied by Old West Marine.
“We were going to wait to announce the move, but there’s been a lot of rumor and speculation going around. People have come in saying that they’ve heard that we were closing, or that we were moving out of Edmonds. I tell them no… we’re really not moving that far,” said Riley Richardson, who was operating the taps on Wednesday when I dropped by.
They’ll be sandwiched between Cascadia Art Museum to the south, and Hunni Co to the north. As for the old space, 190 Sunset is slated to expand there. (More on that below.) With the move, the Salish Crossing development will reach full occupancy.
Brigid’s move won’t be happening right away. “In the last couple of weeks, they’ve been clearing out the space and they’ve started taking down a non-load-bearing wall and doing other demolition work,” Crawford said. “We’re still finalizing plans for the new space. We’ll be doubling our size, both on the inside and with the deck.“
Get this dog lovers, sun worshipers, alfresco drinkers, etc. — the new larger deck, elevated about 10 feet, will face the sound. Although a westward facing deck won’t provide water views, the sunsets and Olympic views should be terrific. What’s more, Giant Jenga games can be a little more robust without fear of upsetting diners next door.
This Friday, it’s “Fat Tire Friday” at Brigid’s. The New Belgium rep will be on hand between 6 and 8 p.m. They’ll showcase the New Belgium White Ale. Described as a light-bodied, unfiltered wheat beer, brewed with juicy Seville orange peel and freshly ground coriander that provides the perfect balance of refreshment and drinkability with just a hint of sweetness. Sounds like a great summer beer. Also on tap for the tasting will be two New Belgium specialty sours. Drop in, sample some Fat Tire, and congratulate the good folks at Brigid’s on their upcoming move while you’re in the neighborhood.
At 190 Sunset, Skyler Gemar has been holding the executive chef reins since last September. He received extensive training at the Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas back in 2004. He’s steadily worked his way up the ladder in a series of fine dining establishments, most recently as executive chef at Echo Falls, executive chef for the Compass Group at Microsoft, banquet chef for Woodmark in Kirkland, executive chef at Maslow‘s in South Lake Union (where he trained aspiring chefs for the Fare Start program) and at Ada’s near Woodland Park. He’s definitely paid his dues. The move to Edmonds was an easy decision for him. He was looking to join a restaurant the caliber of 190 Sunset, and the straight shot from his home in Bothell enabled him to spend less time on the road and more time with his family.
Gemar describes himself as a teaching chef. It’s his goal to give the cooks he works with the tools they need to better understand the food that they’re preparing. Rather than create automatons who blindly follow a recipe, Gemar strives to impart technique, to empower them in a way that will enable him to focus on the myriad of other tasks facing an executive chef.
For instance, Gemar has been busy diversifying the menu — adding more gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.
His most recent mantra is simplify. Simple ingredients, simply prepared.
Yet, what passes for simple to Chef Gemar, seems like magic to me. Take, for example, the chimichurri steak salad. As much as I try to graze all over a menu, on the last three or four visits to 190, I’ve been compelled by an invisible force to order the steak salad. It’s a simple Argentinian marinade (they know beef) applied to a nice piece of flat iron steak and embraced by sweet summer corn, charred tomatoes, scallions, crispy onions and greens, completed with a vinaigrette dressing. It’s fantastic.
I asked Gemar to disclose 190’s most popular item and his personal favorite.
“Hands-down the most popular small plate is our Brussels sprouts. We go through three or four 25-pound cases of Brussels sprouts every week,” Gemar said.
It sounds preposterous, until you try it. Not roasted, but fried with bacon butter, pecorino cheese, and toasted almonds. It is truly brussels sprouts for people who don’t like brussels sprouts. It’s simple and it magic.
“There’s also been a lot of interest in our new Caprese salad,” said Gemar. It’s tossed with olive oil and features grilled tomatoes, mozzarella and basil as you might expect, but is also features toasted almonds, and interestingly, mint.
His personal favorite? The pork belly rhubarb gastrique. As a confirmed pork belly aficionado, I can’t wait to try it. “The rhubarb does an amazing job of reacting to the fat of the pork belly – it’s great,“ said Gemar.
While I was in the neighborhood, I couldn’t resist asking Tom Budinick, owner at 190, about his expansion plans to create a market concept in the space that will be vacated by Bridgid’s.
“We won’t be opening it until next spring or early summer. Home meal replacement or HMR as it’s known in the industry, is the fastest growing segment in our business. Millennials are eating out more, kitchens are being made smaller, people are looking for more alternatives to cooking,” said Budinick
“As you know, we’ve always been known for our high-quality Nebraska corn-fed beef and the highest quality seafood. This market concept will include wine, seafood and cheese among other things, to provision your boat, vacation home, or for your commute,” Budinick said.
Someone heading to the Sounder train, for example, might use the restaurant’s phone app to order a latte and croissant, then realize that they are swamped at work and pick up a chop chop salad for lunch at their desk. “Our market will be open early and late. If you don’t feel like cooking, you can grab a couple of orders of chicken Parmesan to go, or pick up some smoked salmon – we’ll also be a deli. It’ll be a like a mini Dean and Delucca,” he added.
“This is a concept that we’ve had from the very beginning. It’s been part of our original plan, and it’s finally coming to fruition. It’s been great working with Jack Crawford at Bridgid’s and the Echelbarger group – everyone’s been very cooperative,” Budnick said.
The culinary scene around here just keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to see their market doors open!
— By James Spangler
Publisher’s note: Artfully Edmonds writer James Spangler is guest writing the Edmonds Restaurant News column for the month of July.