Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nancy Leson’s column in the Times features our Chefs and a look at our new place opening this summer

Click on blog title above to read all of Nancy’s article: “Spurred on by success Spur team to open Tavern Law”.

Her piece begins, “It's been less than a year since chefs Dana Tough and Brian McCracken's Spur Gastropub made its daring debut, setting the town afire with such branding-iron signatures as carpaccio with deep-fried bearnaise, and pork-belly sliders. These crackerjack kids with the modern Western-themed haunt wasted no time knocking food fanatics off their Belltown bar stools -- where they'd been perched precariously already, thanks to alcohol's artful alchemist David Nelson. Now they're set to do it all over again with Tavern Law -- a "speakeasy bar" expected to open late next month at the Trace Lofts complex on Capitol Hill.”

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

The Seattle Times’ Tan Vinh reviews Spur’s Happy Hours

“Happy Hour Spur Gastropub keeps you guessing — and happy
Happy hour is improv hour for Spur Gastropub chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough.
In the unpredictable but intriguing happy hour at Spur Gastropub, you may snack on foie gras beignets with whipped crème fraîche and farm honey one evening. Then it may be erased from the happy-hour blackboard the next day. Never to appear again.
Such are the whims of the two wunderkind chefs, Brian McCracken and Dana Tough, who use happy hour as their creative outlet to test entrée ideas. Yeah, you may be their guinea pig, but you will be a happy one.
Some random happy-hour offerings in recent weeks: spicy pepper gazpacho with crab and garlic purée, crispy pork belly with pickled ramps (spring onions) and quinoa and a fromage blanc tartlette with sous vide rhubarb.
Its specialty cocktail menu, though, remains consistent every evening. Thanks to a deep bench of talented mixologists — David Nelson, Zane Harris and Kevin Langmack — the drinks are reliable night after night.
Last week, Spur added a late-night happy hour of snack-and-drink pairings including apple-chip-smoked shoestring fries with Rainier beer ($5) and chicken confit paired with a lemonade cocktail ($10).
Spur Gastropub, 113 Blanchard St., in Belltown, offers happy hour 5-7 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays with bar food from $3-$5 and specialty house cocktails $6 wine $5 and draft beer $3. The new, late-night pairings menu is available 11 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays (206-728-6706 or”

Photo by Kristin Zwiers


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spur on Food & Wine mag's 2009 Go List: a guide to the world’s best restaurants

We couldn't be happier than to be included on Food & Wine magazine's Go List:

"Discover what F&W considers to be the most outstanding, must-visit restaurants in the world.

At this new Belltown gastropub, chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough’s seasonal, sensational small plates all have an element of surprise, like pork belly sliders with orange marmalade. Bar manager David Nelson makes his own tinctures and bitters for cocktails like the Kentucky Tuxedo, which mixes bourbon, sherry, orange bitters and lavender syrup. We loved: Crispy chile-glazed drumettes of chicken confit. 113 Blanchard St.; 206-728-6706. Written by Providence Cicero"
Thank you Food & Wine magazine.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Spur's written up in Seattle Dining

Thanks to Connie Adams for a really nice write-up on Seattle Dining. Click the link above to read her entire piece. 'Til then, here's a snippet...

"Nearly half of their menu changes over the month, both sweet and savory, with daily specials. 'After 11 p.m., we offer half pints of ice cream with garnishes. For a lot of people, it’s like hitting their own kitchen before going to bed.' They always wanted to have a chalkboard menu and have used one wall to list happy hour specials. 'We aren’t trying to compete with Seattle happy hours,' explains Dana. 'We’re offering high quality food—meats from Snake River Farms and fromage blanc made in-house—at good prices to build trust with guests.' They’re also planning a late-night happy hour. Currently they offer their full menu until 11 p.m. and a six-item menu from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m."

photo of Brian and Dana by Connie Adams.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May's menu at Spur Gastropub in Seattle

In addition to the nightly additions on our blackboard menu, here are some of the things you'll taste this month at Spur:

Baby Lettuces 9
speck. almond. sherry vinaigrette.

Sockeye Salmon Crostini* 9
mascarpone. caper. pickled shallot.

Yakima Asparagus 10
spring onion. hollandaise. miners lettuce.

Parmesan Gnocchi 9
spring vegetables. chive pudding.

Hamachi Tartare* 16
chiogga beet. champagne vinegar. horseradish leaf.

Slow Cooked Butterfish* 26
cauliflower. radish. watercress.

Tagliatelle* 14
oyster mushroom. parmesan. duck egg.

Washington Chicken Confit 10
sherry glaze. pine nut. wild sorrel.

Oregon Rabbit 22
rutabaga. ham hock . mustard.

Pork Belly Sliders 12
heirloom apple. mustard. bourbon.

Bison Burger * 15
caramelized onion. pepper ketchup. shoestrings.

Lamb Saddle* 24
new potatoes. haricot vert. mint.