James Beard award-winning chef Renee Erickson's restaurant group will take over the maritime-themed restaurant Westward, along with seven branches of the Great State Burger franchise and Saint Helens Café.
Renee Erickson’s restaurant group is taking over Westward seafood restaurant, one of the city’s prime outdoor-dining spots, located in north Lake Union. As part of the deal, Sea Creatures, which is owned by James Beard award-wining chef Erickson and her business partner Jeremy Price, also took over seven branches of Great State Burger and Saint Helens Café in Laurelhurst from Huxley Wallace Collective.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both sides said this morning they have agreed in principle and expect the deal to be signed soon.
The announcement is a retreat for one of Seattle’s star chefs, Josh Henderson. Henderson split with the two other Huxley Wallace co-owners, keeping Kiki Ramen and Quality Athletics. In a prepared statement, Henderson said he will spend more time with his family, splitting time on Lopez Island to be with his two boys and in Seattle to work on his remaining restaurants.
The jewel of the deal is Westward, a 125-seat seafood restaurant and oyster bar with its Instagram-friendly view of the blue water and skyline, a primo al fresco summer hangout where locals like to take their out-of-town guests to impress.
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In 2012, Erickson had a chance to take over that prime real estate, but her restaurant group was in the middle of opening The Whale Wins and didn’t want to be stretched financially, Price said.
“We have been kicking ourselves ever since,” he said. “It’s a great waterfront space…not a lot of restaurants have their own dock and beach and view. We’re happy, we got it.”
No major menu change or face lift is planned, Price said. Any tweaks to Westward and the other properties won’t take place until around November since Erickson is juggling five other projects: three openings in Seattle over the next three months (a General Porpoise Doughnuts shop in Laurelhurst, scheduled to open by the end of July; followed by two Amazon projects, a bar scheduled to open in August and a restaurant aimed for early October, both located in The Spheres), along with two Los Angeles projects (another General Porpoise Doughnuts and a commissary).
“There is a ton on our plate. We don’t have the bandwidth” to focus on Westward, the seven branches of Great State Burger and Saint Helens Café at this time, he said.
“They have been running just fine after all these years. There’s no urgency.”
Erickson could not be reached for comment. Both sides have been in talks for these properties since May.