Let’s talk about the dining scene in U-Village. It’s quite different than anywhere else in the city, yes? It’s like its own little bubble. What flies here isn’t necessarily an indication of what could compete in the realm of chef-driven neighborhood spots.
Liam’s is the perfect example. Kurt Dammeir (a.k.a. the Beecher’s guy) opened it last November, completing the “My Three Sons” trifecta: Kurt’s restaurants are all named after his sons: Bennett’s, Liam’s, and the upcoming Max’s on South Lake Union.
I had brunch with Kurt while sussing out his new place earlier this year. He’s the kind of guy who always seems to have a million ideas swirling through his head — like a kid in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, in awe of all the possibilities. If you see him at a party, go talk to him.
Liam’s is one of three restaurants I review in the current issue of Seattle Magazine. Here’s what ended up on the cutting room floor.
Why did you open Liam’s?
“What I was basically feeling was there was a need here in this general northeast Seattle neighborhood for an adult restaurant with more style and a higher quality of food. It’s been interesting because when I came here, I wanted to do something different from what everyone says that they want. When I first opened [Bennett’s] in Mercer Island, everyone said it was great, because they needed a restaurant for families. Well, guess what? I’m not making a family restaurant, and Liam’s is not for families either, which is kind of counter-intuitive for U Village because it’s kind of like moms and strollers.”
“It isn’t dumbed down. We don’t have a kids’ menu. There’s no crayons. We do have a limited number of high-chairs. It’s not like we’re saying “no kids can come, that’s not it at all, we’re just not trying to attract kids. We want a place where adults can come and hang and not worry necessarily about lots of screaming babies.”
“When I saw this [expansion] plan for U Village, I really believed in it and I think what you’re seeing on the street is the future vision of U Village; I think it’s going to be a little downtown with lots of uses. It’s not just going to be retail. It’s going to have a need for upscale eateries, which is what we are — a cool place that happens to be in U Village.“
Did you have U Village in mind when you conceptualized Liam’s?
“Yes. I think we use pretty high-end materials and our prices aren’t low. It kind of requires a certain level of income, I think.”
Do you think Liam’s could survive outside of U Village?
“To me, it’s all one big thing, in different places in different ways. I feel like we have one big round ball of cuisine [in Seattle] that shows its face in different ways in different buildings.”.