For five years, the popular dinner-theater outfit Café Nordo has performed in temporary quarters, including a Theo Chocolate factory warehouse in Fremont and Washington Hall in the Central Area. And to feed audiences, its members set up makeshift kitchens, or trucked in edibles from outside facilities.
Now the plucky ensemble is securing a long-term home in Pioneer Square, where it can cook up its distinctive meals and cabaret-style productions in one place.
According to company co-producer Terry Podgorski, Café Nordo has negotiated a five-year lease with option to renew for a two-level performance and kitchen space in the historic Globe Building on South Main Street and First Avenue South, the former home of Elliott Bay Book Co. (which now is on Capitol Hill).
In the vast 1890 structure, currently owned by architect Ilze Jones, Café Nordo will have 4,000 square feet to prepare creative cuisine and offer its imaginatively quirky eco-themed shows. The kitchen will be on the lower level, in what was formerly the bookstore’s cafe. The shows will unfold upstairs, in an area once packed with stacks and shelves of books.
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Podgorski expects Café Nordo will open in the late fall, and offer two or three full-scale productions a year in its new home. But he adds, “We’re leaving the performing space very open and flexible so we can do different kinds of things, anything from small private dinners and little cabaret events to bigger shows.
“We have a lot of ideas involving food or drinks and artists, like bringing in chefs and pairing them up with painters, maybe hosting movie nights with SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival).”
So far, Café Nordo has raised pledges of about $100,000 toward a $250,000 renovation budget. It has won approval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Board for its plans for the building, which also houses Jones’ architectural firm and the AXIS Pioneer Square gallery and event space.
As restaurateurs try to create more and safer nightlife in the area with the opening of snazzy new eateries, Podgorski notes he is “honored to be part of the creative and professional community that’s rebuilding and revitalizing Pioneer Square.”
A Café Nordo tenancy appealed to Jones, she says, because “I think it has staying power down here, so it’s good for the community. It also fits remarkably well within the bones of the building, as we bring back the real architecture of the place.”
Further information and updates: www.cafenordo.com.
Misha Berson: firstname.lastname@example.org