West Seattle food: Blackboard Bistro sets opening date

Another update on Blackboard Bistro, going into 3247 California, formerly and briefly home to Eness: They’ve set August 13 for the opening date. Proprietor Jacob Wiegner explains, in the announcement (which also includes menu details)

Jacob Wiegner, a chef who trained at Le Cordon-Bleu London,  worked in top kitchens in London and Florida, and has spent the past two years as sous-chef at Olivar on Capitol Hill, will open his own 40-seat restaurant, Blackboard Bistro, in West Seattle next month. The emphasis, Wiegner says, will be a nostalgic nod to the chef’s past, prepared with Northwest ingredients.

Superstitious? Not Wiegner. He is opening on Friday the 13th in a space that’s been a virtual graveyard for restaurants: Ovio Bistro, 02, Beato and Eness have all come and gone.  “Blackboard Bistro is here to stay”.

Wiegner’s philosophy is to focus on simplicity, technique and fresh ingredients. “I have worked in a variety of restaurants from French and English to Mediterranean, and I want to bring all this cuisine together,” he says. “This is where the idea of an American Bistro comes alive, a melting pot in all senses of the word.”

Blackboard Bistro will avoid a formal menu. All dishes will be listed on blackboards throughout the restaurant. The atmosphere will be casual and prices will be moderate so guests can return often.  While Blackboard is not setting out to be a “family restaurant,” Wiegner does want families with children to feel welcome. “We’ll have a three-course children’s tasting menu so families can share an entire mealtime,” he says.

Among the menu items Wiegner expects to offer:

·      Tomato and horseradish sorbet, warm goat cheese, arugula, confit tomato and garlic ($12)
·      Pork chili verde with cast iron corn bread ($12)
·      A classic Frogmore stew ($20)
·      Cherry upside down cake, cherry, white chocolate and ginger ice cream ($7)

The Frogmore stew (whole prawns, spicy house-made sausage, clams, fingerling potatoes, and corn on the cob), a South Carolina specialty, represents one of the American regional influences on Wiegner’s culinary personality. Other influences include his Pennsylvania-Dutch origins, his classical French training, and his formative years in England, New Zealand, Australia and the many parts of the United States.

He found his calling as a chef while working in restaurants in London. He worked his way up to Chef de Partie and Sous Chef at the famous oyster bar Bibendum, Sir Terrance Conran’s famous restaurant in Chelsea.

In addition to the blackboard items, Blackboard Bistro will offer a “name your price” tasting menu. Guests will name a per person amount (for example, $30), and Chef Wiegner will send out plates until the budget is reached.

Blackboard Bistro will have a full liquor license and offer a selection of Chef Wiegner’s favorite liquors, microbrews and wines. The bar will not offer complex cocktails; rather, a small cocktail list featuring half a dozen house drinks will be available.


Blackboard Bistro 206 257 4832, 3247 California Avenue SW.. Open Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday from 11:30 AM to 10 PM, and until 11 PM on Friday & Saturday. More information at blackboardbistroseattle.com



Blackboard Bistro Opening Menu
watermelon salad with feta, fresno oil and pumpkin seeds
slow roasted pork belly with frisee and deviled red beet egg
tomato and horseradish sorbet,  warm goat cheese, arugula, confit tomato and garlic
scallop ceviche with grilled corn and poblano, fry bread
beer battered okra with watermelon rind ketchup
roasted cauliflower, pine nuts and currants
pork chili verde with cast iron corn bread
gnocchi, house smoked trout, peas and mint
braised eggplant, oven roasted tomato and yoghurt
four sliders.  red wine and shallot, foie gras, truffle and blue cheese. shallot rings
pan fried halibut with sweet potato, brown butter, capers and oregano
Chicken and wild mushroom pie
frogmore stew. whole prawns, spicy house made sausage, clams, fingerling potato,
and corn served on the cob
tasting menu- name your price
chocolate and peanut pasty, peanut butter ice cream and grape jelly
oatmeal cookie sandwich with rum raisin parfait
cream cheese flan, lavender cream and fresh berries
cherry upside down cake; cherry, white chocolate and ginger ice cream
cheeseboard with house made chutney and crackers

26 Replies to "West Seattle food: Blackboard Bistro sets opening date"

  • coffee July 28, 2010 (10:25 pm)

    all I can say is Y-U-M-M-I-E!

  • westseattledood July 28, 2010 (10:50 pm)

    Deviled red beet eggs!!! OMG!

    That’s Pennsylvania Dutch!

    Nobody does Pennsylvania Dutch outside of Sunbury, PA and my departed mother in her kitchen!

    The menu looks terrific!

    PS. Cast iron corn bread! It should be a matter of law that this is the ONLY way to bake corn bread. Seriously.

    I’ll second coffee, but spell it differently Y-U-M-M-Y !!!

  • JanS July 28, 2010 (11:46 pm)

    dood..my daughter makes them…we love them. Of course, I’m from Reading, PA, and they make them there, too. Definitely Pennsylvania Dutch! :)

  • cjboffoli July 28, 2010 (11:51 pm)

    Interesting! I’m especially intrigued by the beer battered okra! For South Carolinians, the components of Frogmore stew can vary from family to family. But always made with local Lowcountry shrimp (never called “prawns”). I’ll be curious to road test Chef Wiegner’s rendition. Cant wait!

  • MW July 29, 2010 (7:26 am)

    Don’t forget Tamales! Graveyard is unfortunately true… Best of luck! We’ll give it a go!

  • bridge to somewhere July 29, 2010 (8:30 am)

    sounds like a great menu with reasonable prices and a chef who knows what he’s doing. a welcome addition to our little west seattle!

  • Al July 29, 2010 (9:21 am)

    Thank you! I cannot wait to go here, it’s what is needed here, good food, reasonable prices! I am willing to bet the drink/wine menu will complement the menu – post haste to the Blackboard mid-August!

  • kittylove July 29, 2010 (9:27 am)

    you had me at fried okra.

  • mj July 29, 2010 (9:34 am)

    Agree about the fried okra, this sounds great.

  • dawsonct July 29, 2010 (12:00 pm)

    I think tagging the space with a reputation as a restaurant graveyard is rather unfair. Les Tamales was a great success. It wasn’t until a number of years after they moved to Columbia City that they closed their W. Sea. location, and then they closed in CC not long after that. It seemed to me, from my hazy memories, that it was more the case of an ownership group splitting up and moving on. These things happen all the time; it isn’t a “failure” if the ownership loses interest and moves on, it’s a failure if the restaurant sucks and no one goes there. I don’t think that was ever a problem for Les T.
    As for Ovio in all it’s incarnations, it didn’t REALLY take off until Eddie Montoya took over the kitchen (it was good before, he brought them to the edge of greatness), and when he died, the kitchen never really recovered. Outside issues brought down the partnership, in this case a crumbling marriage. I don’t think the demise can really be blamed on their original location.
    But whatever, superstition is a crutch for weak minds. As long as Chef Weigner stays creative and accessible, he shouldn’t have any problems succeeding.
    One little suggestion: make the place OBVIOUS when you are driving down Cal. Sometimes I’ll even ride my bike past it without noticing it. I don’t think and A-board on the sidewalk is enough, either; you need something to catch a person’s eyes as they drive by. The fact it is in the middle of the block with mature street trees creating a sight-line barrier between the restaurant and potential customers is a bit of a problem that can be mitigated with strategic signage. Don’t ignore the importance of well designed signs.

  • Julie B. July 29, 2010 (1:19 pm)

    I too take issue with your characterization that the space has been “a virtual graveyard”. As others have pointed out Les Tamales was very successful there as was Ovio Bistro which was named best new neighborhood restuarant one year and they didn’t die in that space they merely moved to a larger space in West Seattle down from the Junction. Their demise was due not to this space but to other factors including the death of their very successful and quite young chef. I would expect a member of the restuarant industry to choose both his words more carefully and do a better job of research before drawing such conclusions. You might learn something from someone like Tom Douglas who is far more gracious and supportive of others in his field.

    • WSB July 29, 2010 (1:24 pm)

      I think the “you” is addressed to the proprietor, but just to be clear, anything in a blue block on WSB is either a direct quote or (we try our best to have an advance explanation on all of these, so you know the source) a news release provided by whomever we’ve attributed it to. In this case, the blue-blocked text was the news release/announcement received from the restaurant via its PR representative – TR

  • miws July 29, 2010 (1:42 pm)

    “One little suggestion: make the place OBVIOUS when you are driving down Cal.”


    Giant inflatable Gorilla! ;)



  • Eddie July 29, 2010 (1:54 pm)

    Hmmm, Deep Fried Gorilla with banana glaze!

    That’s what I’m talkin about.

  • Baba July 29, 2010 (2:00 pm)

    During the crazy NINJA years, when people were spending money like drunken sailors, every fool could run a profitable business. Since economy tanked, making money became an art form, a real test of ones entrepreneurial skills. I hope the Blackboard guy got them. Otherwise “virtual graveyard for restaurants” will claim yet another victim. Because to know how to cook and to run a successful restaurant is NOT the same thing.
    Good luck

  • JanS July 29, 2010 (5:02 pm)

    everyone is talking about the okra…I’m interested in that cherry upside down cake..yum, yum, yum !

    Oh, yeah, and those red beet eggs :)

  • justme August 2, 2010 (9:39 am)

    I even walk by there almost daily and miss it!
    The store front is very dark. I think the awning needs to be brighter. Black is classy but way too obscure. Thanks for getting rid of those pink walls!

  • Siiri Sampson August 3, 2010 (4:58 pm)

    I can’t wait for this place to open, and think it’s brave to really strike out a) in any economy, let alone a time where folks might still be pinching pennies, b) a place that has had many restaurants come and go (regardless of the reasons), and c) trying something that might be more attractive to the food-risk-takers, rather than plain old mainstream. Whenever people see many places come and go in one location it can give them pause, but Jacob seems to really have a handle on how he wants to serve his clients. And keeping them as his first priority (well, maybe second to quality of food) will go a long way towards maintaining success! Good Luck!

  • Krystal August 6, 2010 (8:57 pm)

    My husband and I live in the neighborhood and noticed that they were having a soft opening tonight. We came for dinner and unknowingly had all the menu items Chef Wiegner said he would expect to offer in the above posting. Each dish was impeccable but we were especially blown away by the tomato-horseradish sorbet with goat cheese, and the pork chili verde. That cast-iron cornbread. Omg. I wish we could’ve taken the chili verde sauce home with us. We would have licked the plate clean if we could. What a wonderful meal. You can tell each dish was well thought-out. We will come back and hope the Blackboard Bistro is here to stay.

  • James August 7, 2010 (4:50 pm)

    I have been a West Seattle Resident for 25 years and have never been so disappointed in a new restaurant like the BlackBoard Bistro. The décor is tacky; the black and white stripes are not astatically pleasing and the short woman behind the bar kept interrupting our dinner. I understand trying to socialize with the guests but it was annoying. The food was good but overall I felt like I paid for a upscale high class dinner but actually got something we could have made at home. I would not recommend this place to my friends or family. Very disappointed.

  • Tori August 10, 2010 (2:04 am)

    I was ‘astatically’ pleased with the decor and the food was aesthetically pleasing. I’m looking forward to many more great meals here!

  • Numnumz August 10, 2010 (4:32 am)

    Sounds like James has a grudge on someone that works there. People need to be more specific with their reviews. Looks like the place is going to provid much needed “nucuisine” at alower price and in a more relaxed setting than say springhill. I’ve been looking forward to a place like this to open in west Seattle and I hope it delivers. So James stop being bitter.

  • JanS August 15, 2010 (1:17 pm)

    I want to eat at James house if he can duplicate tomato-horseradish sorbet w/ goat cheese, pork chili verde and cast iron corn bread…he must be some cook ! Just sayin’ ;->

  • Amy August 16, 2010 (10:58 am)

    As a foodie and resident of West Seattle – I am absolutely THRILLED that Blackboard Bistro has opened. My husband and I tried at least 5 different dishes over the weekend and were blown away by every unique, cooked to perfection dish. It kicks Spring Hill’s butt in every direction – from the decor (James – your taste in decor is way off – they did a great job in redecorating; simple & classy), to the flavors & authenticity of each dish and lastly, the prices (very reasonable). I haven’t written a review in ages due to the simple fact that I haven’t been blown away by a great restaurant until now. This place deserves to be recognized and added to the list as a favorite. The pork belly, gnocchi and sliders were just some of the highlights –incredible. Blackboard Bistro is EXCELLENT and I highly recommended this to all.

  • Bill Hibler August 19, 2010 (8:01 am)

    3 of us had their “name your price” sampler. What a great experience. Nearly everything was a smashing success with great flavors and very filling. Two minor exceptions: The oatmeal rasing cookie with rum raisin icecream filling was a crisp cookie with soft icecream. No easy way to eat this and the flavor combination was just OK. Also, the .125 wine pours seemed short. I find it hard to believe that the three glasses of wine we had constituted 1/2 of a bottle.

    That said, I will definitely go back and will be certain to have the roasted cauliflower and braised eggplant again.

  • kelly August 23, 2010 (3:34 pm)

    service is not that great here!

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