Gregg Holcomb has opened another bar restaurant along Broadway East, a block south from his watering hole Witness. The decor at Witness looks like something out of a Southern Pentecostal church, but the place found a lot of followers and became a surprise hit in 2013.
Holcomb has now taken on a bigger and riskier venture with Olmstead, which occupies the old Broadway Grill space on Capitol Hill, about 6,000 square feet — four times bigger than Witness. Holcomb has partnered with his old chef Jesse Elliott and Lisa Tomlinson.
“We have so much population on north Broadway — that area is underserved,” he said, adding that the commercial strip has lost several restaurants over the years including Cafe Septieme, Caffe Minnie’s, Charlie’s on Broadway and Broadway Grill. Holcomb is banking on a Broadway revival.
The back of Olmstead is designated as a “sports bar,” with shuffleboard and six flat screens to catch the big games. Trivia night and karaoke will be added soon. Talented bartender Lauren Darnell, formerly of The Hideout, heads the craft-cocktail program for the 50-seat bar. Check out her Scotch take on the piña colada topped with marshmallows.
The front of the Olmstead space is an all-ages venue with food focused on classic diner grub such as burgers and pastrami sammies. The hours are designed for the hungover set. Breakfast starts at 9 a.m. on weekends. For those who get the late-night munchies, Olmstead has plans in the near future to stay open until 2 a.m. on those barhopping nights, Thursdays through Saturdays.
314 Broadway E., Seattle (website expected to be launched soon: olmsteadseattle.com)
Another bar owner with ties to Capitol Hill, Kate Opatz (part owner of Nacho Borracho and the dive Montana) has another along the Pike-Pine corridor. Opatz joins two restaurant veterans, Anais Custer and David Gurwitz, in this project.
Some quirky and playful drinks include an homage to the frosé, its own “frojolais” (frozen Beaujolais, raspberry and Campari), as well as a frozen Bellini, a frozen French 75 and other cocktails on tap. Expect around 14 to 16 orange and other Old World natural wines by the glass, ranging between $8-$16. The bartender also offers “Chambong,” which is like a beer bong but for, you know, Champagne, or in this bar, just cheap bubbles ($8).
Chef Gurwitz, who ran a modest but delicious sandwich-and-Tex-Mex menu at Standard Brewing, composed the affordable snack menu here ($4-$11), which includes about a dozen small plates like potato or beef dumplings for late-night noshing.
721 E. Pike St., Seattle; on Facebook