No more tipping at Renee Erickson's restaurants, Kraken Congee and Entre Amis are open (and look good), Dining Out for Life and more.

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IN $15 NEWS, RENEE ERICKSON is eliminating tipping at her (great) restaurants The Walrus and the Carpenter, Barnacle and The Whale Wins. She’ll institute a service charge of 18.5 percent, with “a smaller wage gap between back of the house and front of the house workers” (which is great), while providing health insurance and matching retirement savings for all, and maintaining everyone’s current total take-home pay. It’s a fraught topic, and feedback on social media has been mixed, but Erickson and her partners say, “The only people we are cutting pay for is ourselves.” They’ll also revisit the possibility of eliminating the service charge and raising menu prices at such a time when there’s less worry of driving customers away. While there are many ways to handle $15 (and critics of all of them), Erickson’s choice is an admirable one. (You have until the end of May to go say goodbye to her original Boat Street Cafe; she’s closing it to concentrate on her other and upcoming spots.)

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THE DUNBAR ROOM is the new incarnation of the Hunt Club at the newly remodeled Hotel Sorrento, and Seth Caswell is the new chef (you may know him from the Stumbling Goat, his own short-lived emmer & rye or the Beach Store Cafe on Lummi Island). The name isn’t new, though — it’s what the restaurant was called in the middle of last century. Spoiler alert: The whole place looks great. MORE>>>

KRAKEN CONGEE is open in Pioneer Square in the space where Little Uncle used to be, and none other than José Andrés had lunch there today (he’s in town in advance of his SLS Hotel restaurant downtown … far in advance, like two years). If rice porridge isn’t your thing, there’s other stuff that looks great: katsu chicken liver ($8), octopus and kimchi fried rice ($14) and hand-shaved noodles with kare kare Wagyu, for example. MORE>>>

ENTRE AMIS is a new French place on upper Queen Anne. The chef is Matt Cyr from Chicago’s very well-reputed Girl and the Goat, and the French part is owner Benjamin Bernard-Luneau, who’s from Nice, all of which makes this one to try. It’s where Portage (and then briefly Cioppino) used to be; the name means “among friends” (awww!). MORE>>>

WAKEFIELD BAR opens in Belltown this afternoon, with chef Thomas Dodd, most recently from Marjorie. It’s next to the Rendezvous, and the owners say its patio has the best sun on the block, for when that happens again. MORE>>>


ORCHARD is popping up in the former Spaghetti Western/La Bête space next Thursday, April 30, and the springtime menu looks good. Orchard is the project of Venessa Goldberg, formerly of the How the Pickle Got Out of a Jam truck and a new recipient of a James Beard Women in Culinary Leadership grant, which is very cool. Congrats to her! MORE>>>

DINING OUT FOR LIFE is when you can do good just by eating out, and it’s next Thursday, April 30. Restaurants all across town are giving a chunk of proceeds to Lifelong (which, last year alone, got 37,047 bags of groceries and 161,401 meals to those in need). Note that a handful of all-stars, including favorites Fogon, Jules Maes and Witness, are giving fully half of their day’s revenue. Drinks count too! MORE>>>

ARCADE LIGHTS, a pig roast, National Pretzel Day and MORE>>>


Linda Derschang is taking over the cafe at Elliott Bay Book Company starting in June (and she recommends the book “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, and I second that). MORE>>>

A second Nate’s Wings and Waffles is coming to the Central District. MORE>>>

A place called Fat’s Fried Chicken and Waffles is also coming to the CD — where Catfish Corner used to be — from Marcus Lalario of Li’l Woody’s and 95 Slide. MORE>>>

Here are more details on the three more places (!?) from Josh Henderson (of Skillet and Westward fame). MORE>>>

And you may look forward to Please Maid Cafe, an anime-and-gaming-oriented spot where your server will be attired as a maid or butler, neighborhood TBD. MORE>>>