Location: North Lake Union - Seattle, Washington
After successfully launching Skillet (a catalyst in the food truck scene and now with four satellite locations), Seattle restaurateur and James Beard-nominated chef Josh Henderson turned his attention to a new concept—a waterfront seafood restaurant. He partnered with a local developer to redevelop a run-down 1940s-era office building property located on the north end of Lake Union's waterfront. The client envisioned bringing life to the site and offices above with a full-service restaurant and bar along with a general store that would welcome watercraft visitors at the 100-foot-long dock, as well as guests arriving via more traditional means.
The 3,100sf empty space had the vibe of a quintessential Northwest pier, the firm worked to enhance the waterfront location to playfully captured the spirit of Seattle’s maritime history. By demarcating the large building into distinct sections for the store and restaurant, the design carefully balances the desire for large groups as well as intimate seating.
True to the seafaring theme, the interior color palate is a blend of watery blue and white hues. Concrete floors were added, and in the general store a tinted concrete was used to provide warmth and character. To further bring the space to life, local artists were tasked with creating a 25-foot-long faux boat hull to serve as a sculptural backdrop to the bar. Dining tables were finished in boat paint, and light fixtures were covered in reclaimed sailcloth. Continuing the boating motif, the bathrooms incorporate portholes at their entries, and there’s a “wall of fame” with paintings of famous boat captains. To provide intimacy in the dining area, a custom-designed free-floating structure made of reclaimed wood reduces the ceiling height to provide a sense of being within a ship’s interior. Repurposed marine hardware, is used for both form and function, while boat cleats serve as coat hooks and boat lines are used for partitioning. A wood-burning oven was installed at the heart of the kitchen and serves as a central organizing element. Fully-operable garage doors and double-hung windows were installed along the waterfront wall to merge outside with inside when weather permits.
On the exterior, a 1,500-square-foot deck juts into the water, allowing for unobstructed views of the lake, Space Needle, and skyline. A large fire pit, wooden Adirondack chairs and driftwood benches allow for relaxing on the beach, and long wooden communal tables are available for outdoor dining.