In addition to dishing about Tavern Law, Leson continues on to write, “If anybody can capture the zeitgeist of Capitol Hill and its growing collection of go-to eat-and-drinkeries it's these young cowboys of cuisine, who, at 28 (Tough) and 27 (McCracken), have been singled out as the new breed of Seattle chefs, acknowledging the classics be it at the bar or in the kitchen, yet keeping one foot firmly at the cutting edge of contemporary American cookery.
McCracken grew up around the restaurant industry and notes, "My dad owned big fun bars in Seattle" -- among them Charlie Macs and Montana's, as well as "little bars and sports bars." Meanwhile, his mother wowed them in the kitchen at home and taught cooking lessons on Mercer Island. A graduate of Portland's Western Culinary Institute, McCracken landed at Silks at the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco and came home to work at Earth & Ocean under Maria Hines, where he met his future business partner.
Tough -- who followed Hines from Earth & Ocean to her award-winning restaurant Tilth as her chef de cuisine -- is a Montana native who graduated from the culinary program at South Seattle Community College. "I got started cooking with my mother," he says. "I was always the one in the kitchen, seeing what was going on." His career got a kick-start with a dishwasher's job at Twin Lakes Golf & Country Club in Federal Way where the chef gave him a solid piece of advice. "He said, `You've really got to love cooking, because you're not going to get paid a lot doing it.'"
Given the reception these chefs, their bartender and Spur Gastropub have received both nationally and locally, it's worth noting the speed with which they've ridden the wave of success.
Asked how that's come to pass, McCracken posits, "From the beginning, our idea was to never have anything lacking, to pay as much attention to each product that's going out -- the service, the bar, the food, the ambiance, we didn't want to overlook anything." With Spur, "We had a very clear vision of how precise we were with the product -- offering food that's exciting and fun and approachable, and we wanted to have a bar that had the same attention to detail. With Tavern Law, we want to do the same."
We’re deeply honored Nancy- thank you.
Photo by Dean Rutz for the Seattle Times