One of the most highly praised restaurants in Washington state — the nationally acclaimed Matia Kitchen & Bar in Eastsound on Orcas Island in San Juan County — has closed.
Drew Downing of Matia confirmed Monday that he and chef Avery Adams will open another restaurant this spring in Eastsound, but declined to comment on the fallout with Matia investors that led to the closure.
“We are opening a restaurant in a bigger and better space with the same staff and same concept,” Downing said. “That’s all I will comment on at this point.”
The owners of the acclaimed restaurant, wife and husband Tara Anderson and Michael Cleveland, confirmed they cut ties with Downing and Adams Jan. 15 after a business dispute.
“We all wanted to see Matia reopen as planned with Downing and Adams taking ownership of the restaurant they helped build,” Anderson said. “In the end, we could not agree on terms.”
Anderson said in an email that the Matia restaurant space will reopen eventually under another name — without Downing and Adams.
Even at a time when many big-name chefs are opening restaurants in the Seattle area, few had generated the buzz of Matia, which opened as a brick-and-mortar in May 2021 after debuting as a pop-up under the direction of Downing and Adams in 2016.
The farm-to-table bistro became one of the most in-demand reservations in Washington state, especially after all the accolades started to roll in. Last fall, the Orcas Island restaurant made The New York Times’ cut of “50 places in America we’re most excited about right now,” and the rosemary-garlic oil confit potatoes made one Seattle Times critic’s list of the best dishes of 2021.
In 2021, celebrity cookbook author J. Kenji López-Alt called Matia “the best, most exciting restaurant I’ve been to in at least a decade or longer. I can’t remember being so blown away by the food and wine program. … Local food and casual dining at its finest.”
Matia, which closed for the season Dec. 23 as planned, was supposed to reopen for Valentine’s Day weekend.
Downing said he and Adams are close to signing a lease on a new space in Eastsound and that they hope to open the restaurant in March.
This story has been updated with comments from Matia investor Tara Anderson.
Correction, Jan. 31, 2023: This story was corrected to clarify that Tara Anderson and Michael Cleveland are the legal owners of Matia Kitchen & Bar.