What’s New in the Edmonds Food Scene
It’s no secret that downtown Edmonds is brimming with delicious food and beverage choices. We’ve seen a proliferation of new options crop up over the last several years with more on the way.
Ask any local and you’ll hear raves about the evolving restaurant scene in our quaint town. Ed! decided to chat with some of the people at the forefront of this evolution to get the inside scoop on where Edmonds has been…and where it’s heading.
Kate Walden pouring drinks at Kelnero
An evolving restaurant scene
Brooke Baker and her husband recently sold Chanterelle, a treasured Edmonds institution, after being at the helm since 1997.
When asked the biggest change she witnessed during that tenure, she told us “The restaurant industry in general has changed immensely in the last twenty something years, but specifically for downtown Edmonds the biggest change has been the huge number of restaurants in operation, and with such a great variety now. I don’t know exactly how many there were when we took the helm in 1997, but not a great number, and very few of those remain now (Claire’s and Rory’s do come to mind). Today diners have dozens of choices inspired by many cuisines.”
The desire to “fill the void” in types of cuisine offered has been a driving force for Robert Ho, co-owner of Feedme Hospitality which owns Bar Dojo, Salt and Iron, The Mar-Ket, and Dojo ToGo. “We wanted to fill the void of what wasn’t currently offered in Edmonds. We opened Bar Dojo to provide Asian fusion. We opened Salt and Iron to give downtown a destination for steak and oysters. Mar-Ket gives downtown both a fishmonger and a quick-service option with an upscale vibe.”
After the recovery of the last economic downturn, Ho says he and business partner, Andrew Leckie, saw a big opportunity to create these types of dining options that weren’t currently available in Edmonds.
“Edmonds, with its wholesome and attractive downtown, has been the Puget Sound’s best kept secret,” he says. It used to be that only locals dined out but now Edmonds has become a destination for foodies and the recent growth in new establishments shows that, Ho continued.
Jennifer Myatt, who co-owns new hotspot Calypso with her husband Michael Chambers, shares a similar opinion. “Edmonds is becoming this worldly culinary destination, where you can park your car, walk about and get any type of food and drink you desire. It’s nice that we don’t have to drive far to get what we are craving.”
Fresh fish at Mar•Ket
Finding a unique point of view
But in such a rapidly expanding market, how does a restaurant in Edmonds offer something to stand out from the crowd?
“We built Kelnero with the intention of reflecting the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, with plenty of live edge wood, local and indigenous artwork, and a willingness to play with fun regional ingredients like oysters, mushrooms, and nettles,” says Kali Kelnero co-owner of the brand new Kelnero. “I can say one thing for sure: we intend to offer the largest selection of cocktails and spirits in Edmonds, including non-alcoholic options such as shrubs and handmade rose-infused lemonade.”
Ho shared they plan to keep coming up with options not currently available downtown. Their next venture is bringing fresh innovative sushi to Edmonds. They ironing the lease agreements and have their letter of intent to open a new sushi restaurant in the forthcoming Commons complex.
Calypso endeavors to transport its patrons to a feeling reminiscent of a tropical vacation. “We wanted to create an environment that would trigger a memory of a past cruise or family vacation and it seems to be working. ‘This spice reminds me of when we were in Jamaica on our cruise’ or ‘remember when we had banana daiquiris on the beach in Dominican Republic?’ It is a great feeling to recreate those flavors and put a smile on someone’s face.
Finally, we asked each owner what makes owning a restaurant in Edmonds so ideal.
Being so close to home while raising a family is key for the owners of Feedme Hospitality. “We are fortunate to run our business so close to our homes in Edmonds. Both our wives are teachers and we have young kids. Edmonds is the ideal place for us to balance the hectic hours of restaurant ownership while avoiding traffic and enjoying high accessibility, plus a growing Edmonds economy,” said Ho.
The natural beauty of our area charmed Calypso’s Myatt and Chambers, “We moved to Edmonds in June 2014 after living in the Cayman Islands for nine years. My husband got a job at the Loft Café which prompted us to move to the downtown Edmonds area. We immediately fell in love with Edmonds bowl! The salt water, the beautiful gardens, the stunning view and all with a small town feel. We felt like we hit the jackpot of neighborhoods!”
For the Kelneros, it’s about creating a business in their growing hometown. “I was born and raised in Edmonds, and currently live here with my husband and business partner, Kris (a transplant ALL the way from the Lynnwood/Mountlake Terrace area). We’ve long dreamed of opening a bar or restaurant together, and Edmonds seemed like a natural fit for us. Edmonds is becoming a destination for food and drink, and a viable and accessible alternative to downtown Seattle.”
Baker shares what she will miss now that she’s passed Chanterelle on to new owner, Hoa Tran, “I truly miss seeing and visiting with all the regulars. But I would be remiss not to mention that I also loved being part of the reciprocal relationship that we had with the other eateries, shops, theaters, museums, and festivals. Our success was the result of a lot of hard work and long hours, but it was not in a vacuum. We who work so hard for Edmonds as a whole (and love this sweet downtown scene!) are all in this wonderful dance together.”
For a list of all the great restaurants in downtown Edmonds, please visit edmondsdowntown.org!
By Kelsey Foster, photography by Matt Hulbert