Too often we end up talking about how growing pains have ended a restaurant’s run—it’s fun to celebrate one that’s expanding with flourish.
After 10 years spent in a 24-seat restaurant around the corner, chef Dustin Ronspies and co-owner/wife Shannon Van Horn are moving their popular Art of the Table to a shiny new building on Stone Way that opens tomorrow (Friday, April 7). Now, the dining room will be able to accommodate 75 guests. Ronspies and local designer Christine Chaney reportedly worked closely together to create the functional, stylish space—the pièce de résistance is the chef’s counter, shaped like a half-moon circling the open kitchen. It’s an appropriate theater setting for the chef, who has for years only served a hyper local/seasonable/sustainable tasting menu, but will now be adding a la carte options in the new restaurant.
Ronspies calls AotT a “relationship-based restaurant,” based on his relationships with vendors and purveyors. In this weekend’s inaugural menu, you’ll see beautiful foraged nettles and sustainable, humane foie gras from a Puyallup farm, among other ingredients. He says his original goal was to change the menu nightly—though that may be too ambitious, you can bet even the most frequent regulars will rarely eat the same thing twice.
I have a special place in my heart for Art of the Table—it was one of the first restaurants I ate at after packing up my Honda and heading to Seattle from San Francisco seven years ago. I knew little of the local food scene then, but that restaurant convinced me I was going to like it here.
Shockingly, there are still reservations available for nearly every time slot opening night. Don’t have Friday night dinner plans? Go.
Fremont/Wallingford, 3801 Stone Way N.; 206.282.0942; artofthetable.net