Fans of Ruins and chef Tony Brown will have to wait until the new year for Eyvind, his forthcoming downtown restaurant named in honor of the late painter Eyvind Earle.
But the reward will be twice as big.
That’s because he’s now planning to open two restaurants in the Bickett Building – one on the first floor and one in the basement. Construction is underway on both spaces.
Plus, a third space – also located on the subterranean level – will be used for private parties, banquets and catering.
“January is the target for all three,” Brown said. “They’re still being built out. We’re progressing. But we’re taking our time.”
The decor will be contemporary, colorful and eclectic – or, as Brown puts it, “pretty bright” and “a little out there.”
Think jewel tones – teal, bright yellow, deep purple, blood red – with a bit of a mid-century modern vibe. “It’ll be interesting,” Brown said.
The restaurant’s namesake, who died in 2000 at age 84, was known for his works of magical realism, such as the background illustrations for animated Disney films in the 1950s. He joined Disney in 1951 and is perhaps best known for the background and styling on “Sleeping Beauty” from 1959.
Eyvind will encompass 1,800 square feet in the Bickett at 225 W. Riverside Ave. There’s room to seat up to 99, Brown said. But seating will likely range from 50 to 60. “I want to keep it smaller,” he said.
As for the menu, it will be “very vegetable forward,” Brown said. “We will have meat but it will not be the focus.” The specialty will be seasonal and scratch-made Inland Northwest cuisine spotlighting local ingredients.
The bar program will feature “super classic” drinks, such as the Negroni, Manhattan and Old-Fashioned. “We’ve been trying to figure out the perfect gin and tonic,” Brown said.
The bar will be well stocked with vermouth and amaro and also serve “European-style cocktails,” including those aforementioned classics.
Eyvind is slated to be open for lunch and dinner. Brown’s expecting to hire 12 to 15 people for the restaurant.
And, for his second Bickett eatery, he plans to hire another six to 10.
Downstairs, in a spot of about the same size as Eyvind, will be Hunt. The focus there: “elevated campfire food,” Brown said.
So, expect a version of s’mores as well as beans, smoked meats and a burger – “not vegetarian at all,” Brown said – or almost the opposite of upstairs.
At Hunt, he’s planning to highlight game meats as well as foraged foods from the Inland Northwest. “I kind of want to make it hyper-local,” Brown said. “It should be fun.”
The ambiance will be woodsy and lodge-like, with lanterns for light fixtures and lots of metal and wood. The chairs, for example, “look like camp chairs,” Brown said, “but they’re made out of iron and wood.”
The space will be have a decidedly masculine feel. But, also, “It’ll be dark and cozy and inviting.” The atmosphere, Brown said, is “just as important as the food.”
Hunt is slated to have seating for 66. Hours are slated to be 5 p.m. to midnight. And the bar will focus on beer, wine and whiskey.
The bar top is slated to stretch 26 feet. “I’m trying to get one continuous piece of steel” for the top, Brown said.
Brown opened Ruins in an old art deco diner on North Monroe Street in 2014. It’s since become popular for its McRuins night on Mondays and Taco Tuesdays as well as ever-changing menu of small plates Wednesday through Saturday and creative cocktails. It has room for 38.
And there’s been a few changes there recently. Ruins is no longer offering weekend brunch. It’s also stopped doing its ramen night on Sundays.
Sundays are now reserved for something Brown is calling The Last Supper. This is a four-course, “100-percent always vegetarian” and sometimes vegan dinner for $35.
“It’s kind of a way for us to use local produce and whatnot,” Brown said, noting there will be different offerings each week. He plans to post the menu on the Thursday or Friday before the Sunday dinner, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m.
Note: The Last Supper doesn’t accept reservations.
The first one, held Oct. 21, featured mushroom fritters with spiced yogurt and cilantro; coleslaw with celery root, pear, cabbage, carrot and raisins; curried root vegetables with toasted grains, pumpkin seeds and coconut cream; and apple cobbler with chai ice cream.
A vegetarian for about 10 years, Brown said he was loosely inspired by Lula Cafe in Chicago which offers three-course farm dinners Monday nights for $45 as well as a nightly, six-course, vegetarian tasting menu.
Brown said he thought “it’d be cool to have a restaurant where you just go in and you don’t have to decide what to order. You can come in, sit down and it’s just like dinner at a friend’s house.”
But, he said, it will be “a more composed, delicious meal you can’t get anywhere else.”
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