For those who missed the incredible pasta at the late Il Corvo bistro in Pioneer Square, that great Mike Easton restaurant concept is coming back … but you’ll have to drive four hours to a town near Walla Walla for it.
The James Beard Award-nominated chef Easton (who also runs the critically acclaimed Il Nido in West Seattle) will open a pasta bar in Waitsburg, 20 miles north of Walla Walla, in July 2022. That Il Corvo-inspired project will be christened with another name, Vaccipiano, which is an Italian phase that means “take it easy” — and could double as Easton’s new approach to life.
Easton will divide his time between Waitsburg and West Seattle next year, and in 2023 will move permanently to Eastern Washington for a slower pace, he said. Easton still plans to keep his Il Nido restaurant in West Seattle with sous-chefs Katie Gallego, Matt Bergen and manager Cameron Williams running the daily operation.
The new project allows Easton to rekindle some of the best times he had as a budding chef, when he ran the unassuming Il Corvo out of a gelato shop on the Pike Street Hill Climb 10 years ago, before that pasta spot got big and relocated to Pioneer Square in 2013.
He missed being close to Pike Place, where the market’s fresh meat and veggies were his muses for the day’s menu, Easton said.
The new restaurant is “basically the original Il Corvo with a bar,” said Easton, who plans to work closely with Eastern Washington farmers.
The 20-seat Vaccipiano will be modest, open only four days a week, with a couple of antipasti and three to four handmade pastas on the menu. The set up will be small enough that Easton will only need one other employee to help him run the entire operation, he said.
The Italian restaurant will be located in the former Jimgermanbar, which was arguably the best cocktail bar in Eastern Washington. The bartender Jim German, a close friend of Easton’s, might even come out of retirement to sling some drinks at Vaccipiano, Easton said.