(THURSDAY UPDATE: The first preview day has been changed to Saturday 10/27, 8 am)
Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog/White Center Now
About Meander’s in White Center (opening the next two weekends for sneak previews):
First things first: the ventilation is AMAZING. See for yourself:
(Miranda even turned on the vent so I could feel the rush of air into the hood.)
With her forthcoming opening in the former Papa’s Pub in White Center (here’s our original report from 6 weeks ago), owner and chef Miranda Krone continues the evolution of what has become a favorite diner of people on our fair peninsula and beyond: Meander’s — with breakfast served all the time except weekend nights, when it turns into a gourmet bistro.
With evolution comes change, and the first change you’ll notice is all the space:
There’s so much room that there will be a counter, a front room, a back room, and the seating capacity will be twice what’s currently available at the California Avenue location.
Miranda will have a pool table, books, and a jukebox for the back area, and is expanding her crew from five to seven.
What will feel very different is having the kitchen closed off from the dining area; this means less sass from the chef spicing up your meal.
However, you will immediately recognize the personal touches that give Meander’s its special feel: Vintage aprons, knick-knacks, art. These will be joined by antiques and other ephemera that Miranda has gathered over the years, to be displayed on the shelves behind the counter. Red velvet seating from Miranda’s home will welcome visitors when they walk in, “I want it to feel like you’re walking into someone’s living room.” Payment is of course still “cash only,” but …with a cash machine located inside the diner!
A familiar face is joining the Meander’s crew: Matthew Darling, long-time West Seattleite and veteran of the WS restaurant industry, will be the “front-of-the-house” manager, taking care of all service issues outside the kitchen.
Miranda says that Matthew and business partner Ed Kenoyer are a “huge gift — I couldn’t run this without them.”
Adds Matthew: “The saying in West Seattle is that people now have to open new restaurants for me to work at, but it’s my favorite thing to be part of an opening and see the fun and excitement from the community and the owner … it’s precious and exciting to me.”
The White Center business community is welcoming Meander’s with open arms, offering advice and assistance, and Miranda is hoping to join forces with the Rat City Business Association (WSB sponsor).
For the next two weekends, Friday through Sunday, Meander’s will host a soft opening with short days to get the ball rolling. Hours will be 8 am-1 pm Friday and Saturday, and 9 am-1 pm Sunday. (UPDATE: First day will actually be Saturday 10/27)
This weekend, as a special welcome, Miranda will be offering complimentary Caffe Vita coffee and mini versions of the beignets that are soon to be a regular menu item. Said Miranda excitedly: “There’s a fryer!”
The California Avenue location will remain open regular hours as the transition is made over the next couple of weeks. Miranda notes this means her staff will be “completely maxed out.” If the transition goes well, the White Center location should be open regular hours by mid-November. Late-night dining will remain at the California Avenue location for as long as possible, with White Center late night hours to be determined.
With all the new space, Miranda is looking forward to opportunities such as adding a stage for live music, burlesque and dinner theater. “And,” she adds, “we will start taking reservations for holiday parties!” Unless you were having a very small party, this would have been unthinkable at the California Avenue location. There was even mention of Matthew Darling hosting some karaoke.
Asked whether this expansion was part of her original vision, Miranda answers: “I always thought I’d have a little coffee counter, but now I have all this room for all these wonderful people, so why not?”
SIDE NOTE: You might also have heard of Miranda’s other new “site” – a Whidbey Island farm. We asked her how that plays into all this:
Sitting down quietly and watching the food grow, taking part in tending it, makes my heart feel better. I love cooking so much, and I love cooking under pressure. Turning a mad rush into off the cuff choreography that still has time for dips and twirls makes me grin ear to ear. But I also love the long, patient tending of the garden that takes months or years to come to fruition. There needs to be a balance, and a relationship between one and the other.
I will be dividing my personal residence between Arbor Heights & Whidbey Island for the time being. Over the winter months, I’ll be concentrating my focus on the new restaurant space in White Center. As we get settled in and spring approaches, I’ll begin to spend more time focusing on getting the farm set up to host guests.
And the terms of the lease? Include an agreement that I will use only sustainable growing methods, and agree not to use GMO seeds. I have the planting schedules from the past few years, and am very happy. :)
The intention behind the farm is to produce food (hopefully for the restaurant, itself) and to offer a space to connect with community on a deeply visceral level. I want to offer people the delight of taking part in creating the food they eat. I believe that many people want that connection. I myself very much do. I hope to create a space wherein creation, storytelling and shared meals are all part of the same process.
I am deeply excited about the people who have come forward with something to teach; something to share. Making beer, bread, cheese, fiber & spinning, exchanging stories with people you’ve not met before over the evening fire, or just a relaxing visit to a space where it’s ok to go sit by a tree and think about things for a while. That’s what our next step is. That’s what the farm is about.
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