When the 32 Bar & Grill at the Kraken Community Iceplex in Northgate opens on Saturday, the last thing anyone is going to be talking about is the food. The space is huge — seating capacity clocks in around 250 inside, with an additional 50 outdoors — and it will be open from 11 to 1 a.m. daily in a neighborhood that usually goes dark around 9 p.m., surely pleasing for the rec league players that get off the ice anywhere from 10:30 to 11 p.m.
For executive chef Brandon Cathey (previously at the Arctic Club and Patagon Restaurant at the Charter Hotel), the biggest draw is the atmosphere. “We’ll have hockey games, and the Kraken practice here,” he said during a press tour of the restaurant Wednesday morning, looking out at the rink as two Kraken players emerged on the ice below, ready for practice.
The restaurant has full view of two of the three sheets of ice at the Iceplex: the Starbucks Rink where the Kraken practices four to five times a week and the Smartsheet Rink where everyone from 3-year-old kids learning to skate to college teams and adult leagues play.
Cathey — who has already watched his two kids try their hand at skating for the first time there — is hoping that whether you’re a parent watching your kids, or a super fan (who doesn’t have the $90 Depths membership that allows you to watch Kraken practices from the stands), you’ll be venturing away from the concession stand and up to 32 Bar & Grill.
However, if you can’t tear yourself away from the stands, fans can order food and nonalcoholic drinks from the restaurant to eat rinkside.
Even with the restaurant’s grand opening looming, the massive restaurant is still unfinished, unable to escape the supply chain issues that have plagued nearly every industry. Still, as boxes litter the bar area, Food and Beverage Director Ken Moriarty assures that “it will all come together.”
Most of the indoor seating is comprised of high-top tables with cushy swivel seats, ensuring one can rotate to an oversized TV screen or the ice with ease. Kraken games will be projected on the big screen over the ice, the rink open for free skate. A 16-foot shuffleboard will eventually be installed and there’s a bubble hockey table (similar to foosball) for anyone who can’t sit still. There’s also plenty of parking in the expansive lots that surround Northgate station — plus the light rail just steps from the Iceplex.
The bartop features 1,200 pucks sourced from hockey fans across the country. There will be eight beers on tap — a mix of local brews plus faux-microbrews like Oregon’s Hop Valley, and wine and cocktails.
The menu will consist of “good, simple food done right,” says Cathey, who also serves as the chef for Seattle’s NHL team. Yes, there’ll be some crossover with what he feeds the athletes — grass-fed rib-eyes with chimichurri and line-caught king salmon — but there will also be burgers, pretzel knots and poutine.
“It’s traditional stuff we’re going to do right, paying attention to little details,” Cathey says.
However, whether the food will be the biggest draw remains to be seen. Team practice starts at 10:30 a.m., so get there early for a chance to watch the Kraken for a fraction of the price.