Location: Downtown - Seattle, WA
Status: Completed in 2013
Photos: Laura Swimmer, Suzi Pratt
Miller's Guild is a place of craft—where cuisine and design take their inspiration from the hard-working legacy of the past. The restaurant occupies a street corner of the Max Hotel, which was originally built in 1925 as the Vance Motor Hotel. The hotel housed craftsmen and laborers who came to Seattle to work in the area’s forests and mills. In this, its latest evolution, design seeks to marry food with the spirit of place; and like the food, the space is simple yet layered and embodies the vision of Jason Wilson, the James Beard Award-winning chef and proprietor. Cooking, woodcraft and metalwork—crafts distilled through tradition and honed through countless hours of practice—harmonize throughout the space to create a sense of casual sophistication.
The open layout—punctuated by the hard-won patina of its varied history—is highlighted by strategically editing back the interior to its original board-formed concrete walls and columns. New additions to the 2,832-square-foot space serve to complement and contrast with what’s already there. The nine-foot-long steel, wood-fired grill is both the literal and metaphoric centerpiece of the restaurant, serving as principle cooking surface and communal gathering space for both chefs and guests. The cooking process—from prep to cooking and presentation—is shared via the open-concept kitchen. An emphasis on counter seating at the grill and bar (there are 30 counter seats and 55 table seats) reinforces the intimate relationship between the preparation and enjoyment of food. Interior furnishings, which include custom steel light fixtures, steel and black walnut tables, and wood countertops, accent local craft. A feature table pivots like a compass on an inlayed steel track, enabling the space to dramatically morph as needed.