An independently owned restaurant is coming to town, and I’m not talking Seattle for once.
Located just off Bellevue Downtown Park, the aptly named 99 Park will be a sleek and sexy little spot when it opens sometime this summer (best case scenario, mid-July). It’s owned and operated by former real estate developer Micah Pittman, who is a Bellevue resident himself.
Here are 10 things to know:
- 99 Park will seat 50 outside on the patio and about 100 inside (including 40 in the bar area).
- Quinton Stewart is the executive chef. He was at Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island for less than a month before he met Pittman. “I met Micah the day before they broke ground (about 10 weeks ago). He discussed having a farm-to-table place, a northwest cooking restaurant in Bellevue. It’s all about the view, it’s all about the warm hospitality; he really just felt like there was room in the market, the way Bellevue is expanding, to do a higher-end place this size.”
- Stewart says their goal “is to provide fine-dining, tablecloth service without the tablecloth.”
- Welcome 99 Park to the casual fine-dining club! “It’s very much a northwest thing,” says Stewart. “We feel we have the clientele, these highly-intelligent people, who are interested in food that we don’t have to preach to; we don’t have to preach to the converted about organics and sustainability and cooking locally and sourcing our products locally. People in this area, we feel like are already there.”
- The menu, which will focus on small plates, is close to being finalized. Says Stewart, “There’s a raw section of the menu, 4 to 5 raw items including oysters and geoduck. There’s probably 15 small plates on the menu and only 5 or 6 entrees. And 5 desserts.”
- "We’re also going to offer a steak, Wagyu beef from Washington, and offer lamb quite a bit; mostly we’re going to focus on seafood, but it’s vegetable-driven and more of a European style, where it’s not about your 24-ounce rib-eye, but your vegetables and all the beautiful, local, seasonal stuff garnished with the highest quality proteins we can find, be it a nice piece of fish or steak.”
- Charles Veitch, who left the James Beard Award-winning bar at the NoMad hotel in New York to open The Old Sage last July, is the General Manager.
- The restaurant’s beautiful wooden tables are being made by Plank & Grain. “The glow on the guy’s face when he’s talking about how nice they are and how proud they are of their work…I’m really excited,” says Stewart. “It’s old growth from the area that we’re able to serve food on. It’s pretty incredible!”
- Pittman says he chose Bellevue because “there’s nothing like it on the eastside. We’re the only stand-alone restaurant around. And Bellevue is growing. 10 years ago, the average age was about 55 and now it’s about 35 and mainly international.”
- Pittmans says 99 Park will give Bellevue character. “I think what we’re trying to do will help segregate Bellevue from what’s here currently and bring something new.”
- Upstairs from the restaurant is a shared workspace for artists and other restaurant industry types. Lucky them: they get to eat food delivered by 99 Park. It's the first of many concepts Pittman hopes to replicate.