A new, high-profile gastro brew pub on Capitol Hill?

Just three blocks west of Elysian Brewing’s Capitol Hill pub, at 1000 E. Pike Street, renowned chef Holly Smith is believed to be opening a new restaurant. This news was reported on Wednesday by the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog (read it here).

Holly Smith, the chef/proprietor at Kirkland’s Cafe Juanita, is one of the brightest culinary stars in the sky these days with a reputation that reaches far beyond the Seattle area. She has appeared on the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef and Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. Among her many accolades, she was named the 2008 Best Chef Northwest by The James Beard Foundation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries.

I’m a simple man, a barbecue and brews sort of guy, but even I know that a James Beard award is a big deal.

So why is the Washington Beer Blog talking about this? Well, all of this comes to us a couple of months after we’d heard rumblings from our own sources about a brewery opening at the same location. Actually, we heard that it was going to be a “high profile brew pub.” Apparently the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog knows some of the same people we do: they are also reporting that it is going to be a brew pub.

I do not mean to report this as fact, it’s all a bunch of rumors at this point, but this story seriously piques my curiosity and appetite. I like beer and I like food. Thinking about one of our area’s nationally recognized, rockstar chefs opening a brew pub makes me happy. The more I think about it, the more awesome the idea sounds. I recognize that some of our local brew pubs and better beer bars have amazing chefs, but none are JBF award winners as far as I know.

As always, I am asking  if you know anything that we don’t. Obviously, we’ll keep an eye on this story and see what happens.

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  1. Are we going to see more “chefs” open boutique brewpub’esq bars with good food and house made beers. Especially in beer centric cities, it does make sense. Good luck to Holly if this is in fact a true rumor.

  2. Bierfesten, that’s what I was thinking. This is the first instance I’ve seen of a chef-owned restaurant that will also be a brewpub. She would have perfect control over her food and beer pairings. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Exciting stuff, and I hope everything works out to make it happen!

  3. The question is: who will be brewmaster? You’re not going to realise great beer-food pairings unless the beer’s up to it.

  4. That’s true Meryaten. I can’t imagine that one of our rockstar brewers would be willing to work under a chef, taking what I imagine to be a lot of direction; that said, perhaps one of our up and coming young bucks would jump at the chance. As a woman who is succeeding in a largely male-dominated biz, maybe Holly Smith would seek a gal to do the brewing. Whatever the case, it’s fun to think about the possibilities.

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