(WSB photo, 2013)
Almost 10 years after a fire shut down the Alki Homestead, its food future has been announced. Not fried chicken. Just out of the WSB inbox:
Mike Easton and his wife Victoria are expanding their Italian reach to West Seattle. The couple has taken over the old Alki Homestead and is turning it into an Italian dinner destination near the shores of Elliott Bay.
Il Nido, which means “the nest” in Italian, will join the Easton flock, complementing the brisk lunch service at Pioneer Square’s Il Corvo (“the crow”) with a more substantial sit-down, family-friendly dinner experience in a historic log cabin that has been feeding the West Seattle neighborhood for generations. “It’s going to be sort of our permanent, home-base restaurant,” says Easton. “The nest just seemed to make perfect sense.”
The iconic Alki Homestead was initially built as a residence in 1903. It transitioned into a family restaurant in the 1950s and earned landmark status in 1995. In (January 2009), a fire shut down the old structure, which remained untouched until 2015 when it was purchased by Dennis Schilling, who began the long restoration process.
“We really want to try to bridge the gap between the 100-year-old feel with a little bit of the 21st century,” says Easton. That includes beautiful live edge, chunky full slab tables supplemented by more modern chairs and fixtures throughout the 3,000 square-foot space.
The signature river rock fireplace in the main dining room is getting rebuilt to its original standards. And an intimate bar with half a dozen seats will be added to the front lounge area. At Il Corvo, we tried to create a space that wasn’t stuck in any time period,” says Easton. “Il Nido should also have that timeless feel.”
In addition, the original neon art-deco Alki Homestead sign will be reinstated atop the restaurant after a successful refurb by Western Neon (this Thursday).
The menu at Il Nido will be absolutely Italian, driven by market produce. “I really like to create a menu that makes vegetables truly shine,” says Easton. It’ll also be a place that will allow Easton and his crew the opportunity to create a bit more of the delicate, intensive handmade pastas that they just haven’t had time to make. “You don’t see tortelli or ravioli on the menu at Il Corvo very often because it would take an army of people to make enough to put it on as a lunch special. Thankfully, we’re so busy, we don’t have the time to do that.”
As for when Il Nido will be open for business, Easton says it all depends on the restoration process. “I’d love to see it open in time for spring, but that’s a pretty ambitious goal.”
Il Nido will be open for dinner five nights a week, along with weekend brunch.
Our archive of Alki Homestead coverage is here. That includes coverage of the 2009 fire, the subsequent changing of ownership, celebration of the building’s history including the 2015 “group hug” photo, and the removal of the aforementioned sign for restoration two years ago.