Edmonds Restaurant News: Checking in on a couple of fledgling restaurants

Owner Michael Chambers behind the new bar, with Calypso’s brand beautifully displayed on the bar top.

Calypso, the Caribbean-themed restaurant at the foot of Main Street, has just installed its new bar and it’s kind of surprising how this addition has completely changed the dynamic of the restaurant.

A custom-designed, full-service bar now rises out of the back center of the space. It’s in addition to the “front porch“ — which is what Calypso calls its most forward seating area where you can enjoy some stunning sunsets — and the center dining room area. After watching owner Michael Chambers fix many a drink as bartender at The Loft in Edmonds, it just didn’t seem right for this larger-than-life cocktail king not to have a place to hold forth. Well, that’s all changed now.

Michael Chambers and Michael Allred stand behind Calypso’s new bar. (Photo by James Spangler)

Elton Roundhill, owner of Rory’s (Calypso’s neighbor), built the beautiful bar to Chambers’ specifications, complete with the Calypso brand embossed right into the bar surface. I love to see that kind of cooperation between local businesses. It reinforces the sense in our community that we’re all in this together.

Firmin Berclaz, owner of previous tenant Café de Paris, dropped in and gave his stamp of approval. According to Chambers, Berclaz had often considered placing a bar there, but with space constraints and the prospect of closing, construction and permitting, never got around to it.

Chambers was especially pleased to have the project finished just before a plane trip back to Grand Cayman to emcee a bartending contest. In the years that he lived and worked on Grand Cayman, from about 2005 to 2014, he promoted an annual Bartender’s Ball. Recent interest in reviving it prompted his visit.

Michael Allred serves a grateful crowd behind the new bar last Saturday. (Photo by James Spangler)

When Chambers isn’t behind the bar, you’ll see bartender Michael Allred at work there. Interestingly, the bar manager over at the Church Key Pub is Michael’s brother Mathew. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere about seeing double, but I’ll leave it to you.

We dropped in to help christen the new bar and can attest to the fact that their Mojitos, Calypso IPA, Conch (pronounced “conk”) Fritters and Street Tacos make for a very nice early evening repast.

Although a nail gun could be heard from time to time on the Saturday afternoon that we visited, no one was complaining. The long and eagerly-awaited exterior upgrade to the building was at last being completed by the building owner’s crew. New sky blue siding and white trim will improve the building’s appearance, making Calypso shiny and new inside and out.

Calypso Edmonds
109 Main St. Suite #1
calypsoedmonds.com

Kelnero will be transformed into a speakeasy this Thursday evening (the password is Old Tom).

The good folks over at Kelnero have a fun evening planned in celebration of the enactment of the 21st Amendment — the repeal of Prohibition. For 13 long, tedious years, alcohol consumption was illegal in this country. During this time (from 1920 to 1933), thousands of “speakeasys” popped up – drawing patrons interested in having a drink on the down low, away from the prying eyes of law enforcement.

This Thursday, Dec. 5, Kelnero will be impersonating a speakeasy. Look for a black door under a red light. The open sign will be off, and you’ll need a password (Old Tom) to get in. According to their Facebook page, it’ll be a ’30s-style theme party and you’re encouraged to dress the part if you can.

Kali and Kris Kelnero in their bar last year. (Photo by James Spangler)

It’s been a while since I’ve dropped in to Kelnero, but I love how their menu has developed. If you see a tall guy with his fedora pulled down low, hovering over a charcuterie platter, that ‘ll probably be me.

Kelnero Bar
545 Main St.
kelnero.bar/victuals.html

Remember, these two fledgling restaurants will need our continued patronage as they hit the one-year mark. There’s been such an embarrassment of riches restaurant-wise in downtown Edmonds, let’s not neglect them.

 

James Spangler— By James Spangler

The furthest thing from a finicky eater, James Spangler insisted on trying everything on the table from the earliest age. At 13, he prepared Baked Alaska for an entire classroom and has had an insatiable appetite for good food ever since. He’d rather be in the kitchen cooking for the people he loves than doing just about anything.

 

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