Often compared to fellow Seattle MCO Tom Douglas, Ethan and Angela Stowell—who Douglas told Restaurant Business last year he’s got his eye on—have built 15 restaurants over the last 10 years, focusing on 40- to 50-seat neighborhood joints versus 150-seat downtown spots like Douglas. Most are full service, including the largest-by-revenue concept in the Four Seasons, though Stowell operates some LSR pizza joints and consults on foodservice at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.
Instead of trying to expand outside of Seattle, the husband-and-wife team are growing locally. Why? To avoid work travel. Instead, they are invested in the Seattle business scene, becoming a voice for restaurants. Among the biggest challenges, like many operators, has been staff compensation. Ethan said on a podcast in February that he moved his full-service spots to no-tipping models, switching to a 20% service charge. The system is working well so far, he says, admitting that it’s still new and a lot of diners have questions, with the occasional unhappy guest.
Concepts: Anchovies & Olives, Ballard Pizza Co., Bar Cotto, Bramling Cross, Goldfinch Tavern, How to Cook a Wolf, Marine Hardware, Mkt., Red Cow, Rione XIII, Staple & Fancy, Tavolata